Kicking them while they're down: Haters attacking Rick Warren after his son's suicide

Kicking them while they're down: Haters attacking Rick Warren after his son's suicide

Let me get this straight. I’m not exactly a fan of Rick Warren, his theological and social views, and his ministries.

However, that does not and should not impact my own compassion and respect for the Warren family as they grieve. Nor should it yours.

That’s why I was pissed when I heard that people were hating on Rick Warren. “Celebrating his pain” as he described it yesterday.

Grieving is hard.Grieving as public figures,harder.Grieving while haters celebrate your pain,hardest.Your notes sustained us.

Why the hate?

I know some people are familiar with religious fundamentalists who “pray for healing” instead of going to doctors, or who view depression as a sin, an affront to God. I know some people have heard of or are familiar with suicides by closeted LGBTQ individuals in a family that would not welcome such “deviant and sinful” revelation. I know some people are familiar with just plain old assholery parents who refuse to understand the seriousness of depression.

These people are rightfully extra-aware of these sort of cases, but it does not sound like that is the case in the Warren family. As they said in their letter to the Saddleback church,

In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided.

Sure, they prayed for his healing, but they also took him to the doctor. Instead of denying his pain, they strove to find the right treatment, medicine, and counseling for him, even as they failed.

I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said “ Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.

I wish had gotten that kind of treatment in my senior year of high school, when I finally plucked up the courage to talk to my parents after struggling with depression for a couple of years. (I was punished, instead.)

Not only did they provide treatment, but they also protected his privacy even though they are a very public family. That is not easy to do at all, especially when they could have capitalized on i with another popular book deal. I very much respect them for that.

It seems to me that the Warren family, should he have come out as gay (if he was even gay at all, which I kind of doubt), would probably have show their love and support of him anyway. I honestly don’t know for sure, though.

Then there are the people who don’t understand the difference between disagreeing (even vehemently) against a person’s views, and ad hominem attacks. Disagree with Rick Warren all you want. Rage about how you think his opinions are all wrong. But do not, absolutely do not attack him verbally or take delight in his pain. How would that make you somehow more superior to Rick Warren? Kicking someone while he is down?

Prayers of comfort for the Warren family during this extraordinarily sad time.


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    Where does one start in looking for they "why's?" Not why he did it, only him and Him know that, and yes, I pray for the young man and his family.

    But look at the "why" as to the hate? Most in this country, since we're in a morality/ethical black-hole here, much worse than what everyone was meowing about back in the 70's. Now, its worldwide.

    Look at those celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death with champagne and laughter, cheers.
    These people don't know the Warren's and see how they spew vitriol. At strangers.
    I am an actor and a singer; if I post a song and someone doesn't like it (how could anyone dislike Sinatra? Anyways....), which thankfully is rare, but they don't say anything constructive or of merit like an opinion; its "this is shit." Performer friends of mine have had the same thing. No one says "not my cup of tea, but you have a nice voice" or the like, its "shut your hole! LOL!!!!"

    Anonymity of the internet has given a clear avenue for hate, but even with faces shown as with the late Mrs. Thatcher, and from what I've seen, the Warren family, the hate still comes forth; cloaked or uncloaked. Its not gusto or negative-courage that spurs them on even when we know their names, see their faces; its that the world over has lost love, lost civility, and common sense. Point where you will as to the reasons, I'm just trying to get over this stench of decay where normal kindness and concern has died.

    Lastly, a pure example stands out; CSPAN is airing a wonderful series on the First Ladies. This past weekend they were discussing the era of John Taylor and his ilk. A side-note of which First Lady began using "Hail To The Chief" as the march for the President came up and the lawyer/professor panelist said, after he was asked for his thoughts, after the other panelist gave a comment: *pause* "I really don't care." Straight-faced, no laughter. He meant it. Trivial? No, not in the context. It points out how mindlessly self-serving we have become to the point of "the hell what others may think, the hell with it if it doesn't concern me, interest me, or move me and I won't even waste MY time in giving a respectful answer (to historians, the public, viewers, including students & children in terms of that program).
    No, not the same level as smiling at someone's death or blaming the living for the dead (remember Hillary Clinton's statement on the 4 brave Americans who were killed in Benghazi? "What does it matter now") but it does show, glaringly, how second-nature uncaring & self-righteousness behavior has taken over our society. Hate, in many different forms & flavors, now permeates all of us, and the majority of humans now prefer to *tisk tisk tisk* it away and shake our heads rather than 1)live our lives in the opposite manner, and 2)STOP the hate.

    Please, stop the hate. In your own way, find the love, find the humility, and find the courage & strength to stand up and call our neighbors out. All we have to do, folks, is use the opposite of all this hate: love.

    Thank you for letting me comment, and for writing about this matter in the first place; I hope its not the last we hear on this malady.

  • In reply to Keith Survillas:

    Thank you for reading and, thanks for your eloquent comment. I agree--people need to better learn how to show compassion, be thoughtful, and love more. I'm not sure that the level of uncaring and self-absorbed behavior is a recent development--people have been assholes (pardon my language) for millenia. The Internet just makes it more visible.

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    In reply to Keith Survillas:

    Happiness is a choice, according to a very wise man, Rick Warren:

    I don't really see why we should sit around feeling sorry for his family when his son decided to make bad choices in choosing to not be happy.

    God does everything for a reason! God bless the Warren family! They can take comfort that their son is now a beautiful tree in the forest of suicides in heaven.

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    ps..please forgive the lack in editing; more important is the message here; and RIP to Mr. Warren and Mrs. Thatcher.

  • In reply to Keith Survillas:

    You are perfectly fine, Keith :)

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    There are always going to be angry people out there.

    That said, it's interesting that Warren would make a point of publicizing the "haters" as opposed to thanking the supporters - of which I am sure there are millions.

    Why do you suppose Warren would do that? Hmmm...

    How many "haters" do you suppose "celebrated" the deaths of the Kennedys and MLK, etc., of whom we heard nothing about until years later if at all?

    It's called "grace."

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    In reply to Jorge Johnson:

    Rick Warren said happiness is a choice:

    I don't really see why we should support his family for his son's bad choices.

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    Rick Warren should just "chose to be happy." I don't know what his problem is. His son is safely in the Forest of Suicides in heaven!

    Warren said himself that happiness is a choice (, we shouldn't pity his family for his son making bad choices. His family should just chose to move on because God does everything for a reason.

    Choose happiness in this joyful time of your life Warren! Don't come crying to us because your son couldn't chose to be happy!

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