Saturday, October 3, 2009

An Abomination

I never met my Great Grandmother Pack. She was gone long before I was born in 1950. However, I have heard numerous stories about her from my Dad and a number of his relatives. She was an old time, straight laced country mother from rural Wayne County, WV, and a rare Republican in a sea of Democrats. Dad said she wore long dresses with several petticoats underneath. One of the petticoats was fashioned from the heavy striped material which was used to make old fashioned bed pillows. There was a pocket sewn into the garment, and it was there that she kept her pipe and tobacco. She had a hardscrabble existence but raised a large family with a healthy dose of love. Her tobacco habit notwithstanding, she took her religion, like some of her kinfolk took their liquor – hard and straight!

A particular story about Grandma Pack that I always loved involved her first trip to a local amusement park. This would have been sometime in the mid 30's, when the park was a little less "family friendly" than it is today. At that time it had a swimming pool and also sold beer to its patrons. To Grandma Pack, who was a devout member of the Old Regular Baptist Church, the public spectacle of alcohol swigging, scantily clad (by 1935 standards) sun bathers was absolutely appalling. After returning home to the Cove Gap area, someone asked her, "Grandma, how did you like Camden Park?"

"Lord, child!" she replied, "All my life I have heard and read in the Bible about abominations, but that was the first time I had ever seen one with my own eyes!"

One can only imagine how Grandma Pack would react to the public abominations that dominate our culture these days. There are plenty abominations to go around, but none more blatant and disgusting than the reaction of much of the Hollywood crowd to the recent arrest of film director Roman Polanski at a film festival in Switzerland.

Many will remember the scandal back in 1977 when Polanski, the widower of actress Sharon Tate (who had been murdered by the Charles Manson "family") was arrested on charges of having sex with a thirteen year old girl. The 47 year old director of "Rosemary's Baby" admitted to giving the juvenile booze and drugs before having his way with her. He was sent to jail for about six weeks for mental evaluation. When he was released on bond, fearing more and harder jail time, he boarded a plane for France. He has lived in Europe as a fugitive from justice for the past 32 years for fear of the prison time that awaited him here.

Polanski had legal avenues he could have pursued at the time. He could have obtained a "dream team" of attorneys (he could certainly afford it). He could have changed his plea and taken his chances with a jury. If convicted, he could have appealed the decision. He could have let the justice system run its course and eventually taken responsibility for his reckless behavior. But instead, he chose to run and to live the life of a fugitive.

The most recent chapter in the lurid saga came when he was arrested last week in Switzerland. He had come there to a film festival, where he was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award from his peers. When he arrived in Zurich, authorities placed him under arrest and extradition proceedings were begun to bring Polanski back to America for trial. Then came the outrage – at least from the Hollywood crowd.

First we were treated to Debra Winger, speaking for many of the festival attendees. Reading from a prepared statement, the actress decried the "draconian actions" of those who arrested Polanski. A number of leading members of the film making community condemned the U.S. for daring to have Polanski arrested. After all, they argued, it's been 32 years, and Polanski has continued to produce critically acclaimed films while living in exile. Several European leaders joined the chorus, glad to have opportunity to bash the United States. Even that acclaimed constitutional expert, Whoopi Goldberg, weighed in on "The View" when she reasoned that "It wasn't really RAPE, rape" (implying that Polanski's transaction with the 13 year old victim was consensual). When asked by another panel member if she would want her 13 year old daughter to have sex with a 47 year old man, Goldberg hesitated before answering, "Well, I'd have to give it some thought".

Good grief!

What are these people thinking?

This man molested a 13 year old child. By his own admission he plied her with champagne and drugs and took her to Jack Nicholson's house, promising her a photo op with the big star. This girl was not capable of consent! No parent in his or her right mind would even consider allowing their child to be abused in such a manner. The most shocking part of this whole story is that a certain segment of our society sees no apparent problem here. How low have we fallen in our culture? Even among prisoners in our penal system, child molesters are the most despised inmates in the population. Yet many of the "enlightened" artists of the entertainment industry feel that Polanski has been somehow wronged.

He presently remains incarcerated in Switzerland, fighting extradition to the United States.

Forgiveness and mercy are in the Sovereign hands of Almighty God. Justice and the rule of law are the duties of human government. As unfair as it may seem to the likes of Debra Winger, Harrison Ford, and many other "celebrities", it is time for Mr. Polanski to face the music. As a lad, when I may have been caught up in some type of miscreant behavior, my Dad would always remind me (as my punishment was being delivered), "Son, you can't do wrong and get by".

Polanski's crimes were not "alleged". He admitted to his misdeeds. Then he committed another crime by fleeing from justice. The very notion that the passing of 32 years and the production of critically acclaimed motion pictures should somehow negate the heinous nature of Polanski's crimes is preposterous. That, my friends, along with Polanski's detestable behavior, IS an abomination.

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