Hating Rick Warren

On Saturday, April 6, Pastor Rick Warren – famous for writing The Purpose-Driven Life and pastoring SoCal megachurch Saddleback – announced that his 27-year-old son Matthew had committed suicide. Today it was revealed that Matthew shot himself.

I don’t necessarily agree with Pastor Warren on a number of things, but I do have respect for him. He doesn’t pull a huge salary from his church. He doesn’t live an opulent lifestyle, at least not that I know of. My heart broke when I heard that his son had taken his own life after struggling with severe depression since childhood.

What has come out of some members of the gay community, however, is beyond the pale.

Twitchy and The Blaze both reported social media movements directing breathtaking hatred at Pastor Warren and his family after Matthew’s death. They suggested that Matthew was gay and killed himself because his father was a supposed hatemonger. They brought up his support for Prop 8 and literally said that Pastor Warren “hanged his own son”. They said that “with all the gay kids dead, this was a small price to pay.”

Shut up. For once in your over-privileged, self-indulgent lives, shut the hell up. I’ve lost four of my friends to suicide. As an EMT, I’ve run countless suicide calls and I always leave with the feeling that I have done absolutely nothing to help the family. It is nearly impossible for me these days to run those calls without breaking down myself. It has gotten to the point that child drownings are less difficult for me, and that’s a significant statement for me to make. I know how dark those days are after you find someone you loved in that position.

At the same time, I also know suicidal depression. My entire life, I’ve been hated and made fun of. I’ve always been the butt of someone’s joke. I believe it is only by the grace of G-d that I am a stronger person now, because I have been down that black hole where it felt as though there was no escape. Maybe G-d has used those calls to open my eyes to the reality that suicide leaves behind; if so, I am thankful for that, even though I’m not sure my presence was much help to those left to pick up the pieces. Each and every one of you aiming your vitriol at Pastor Warren, accusing him of “killing his gay son”, have directed the same vile stupidity at me at one time or another and you do not know or care how much that hurts. Who the hell are you to preach about caring for the hurting? You can’t even do it yourselves!

I am beyond appalled. I am furious. Pastor Warren is a much more gracious and forgiving soul than I am in praying for these people. I cannot understand celebrating someone’s death, not for any reason. I have never in my life felt happiness upon hearing that a human being has died, no matter how much I may have disliked them. Yet as angry as I am with the gay community right now for their intense hatred, intolerance, and hypocrisy, I still cannot wish this kind of pain upon them.

What astounds me, though, is Dan Savage. Usually the first to make an inappropriate comment or attack a conservative, when asked for his opinion he said, “My only comment is this: As a parent, my heart aches for Rick Warren and his wife. They have my sympathy.”

Thank you, Dan, for not hating Rick Warren as so many others have.

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14 thoughts on “Hating Rick Warren

  1. Eloquently put, as usual, Mel. I have been fortunate not to read much about the vitriol directed at Warren and his family. Glad Dan Savage showed tact and compassion.

  2. It’s rare for Dan to have such tact, I agree, but I have to wonder if he is doing anything to tell his “anti-bullying” crowd to stop being assholes to a man who just lost his son.
    Eh, just idle curiosity from me I guess.

    Wonderful post Mel. I remember reading The Purpose Driven Life when I was active in the church, despite not always agreeing with Warren, it was a good book and he seems like a genuinely good guy. I feel terrible for him and his family.

  3. Rick Warren killed his gay son. His pride and arrogance could not be contained. The Lord had to strike hard and with irony at the arrogant morality judge who didn’t attend to the issues under his own roof. How can he look into the eyes of the boy’s mother, now that he has killed the boy?

  4. Well said, Mel. And thank goodness for Phil (above) exhibiting enough righteous indignation the rest of us can take a break and exercise some compassion for someone who has suffered a tremendous loss.

  5. […] Shut up. For once in your over-privileged, self-indulgent lives, shut the hell up. I’ve lost four of my friends to suicide. As an EMT, I’ve run countless suicide calls and I always leave with the feeling that I have done absolutely nothing to help the family. It is nearly impossible for me these days to run those calls without breaking down myself. It has gotten to the point that child drownings are less difficult for me, and that’s a significant statement for me to make. I know how dark those days are after you find someone you loved in that position. Read the full piece here. […]

  6. I think it’s wise to reflect on Margaret Thatcher’s attitude toward haters. She regarded their insanity and vitriol as proof that she had gotten under their skin.

    I disagree with Rick Warren’s expressed views on gays. But as I’m not the sort of person who does such things, I’m not about to post hateful comments on blogs because his son committed suicide.

    We don’t know why he did it. If he suffered from depression, he could have had any number of reasons. The fact of the matter is that whatever drove him to take his own life is nobody else’s damned business but his and his family’s.

    What does it reveal about the haters that they’re spewing craziness about this tragedy? Nothing about Rick Warren, his ministry, his family or his son. It doe reveal plenty, I think, about the haters.

  7. warren has passed up many changes to make young gays feel less isolated and despised. Me could easily have made the difference in many suicidal young peoples lives. Because of this, he deserves the criticism.

  8. Bart, I would always agree with criticism, but that’s not what this is. You do not use someone’s dead child for criticism – you use that issue solely to hurt them. What has been said is absolutely shameful and, in my opinion, unforgivable.

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