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Opening Arguments

Here come the ghouls

When Pastor Rick Warren lost his son Matthew to mental illness and suicide, the cowards and ghouls crawled out from under their rocks:

You can find, among hundreds of comments on USA TODAY’s news story on Matthew’s death, comments such as the Cincinnati poster who says, “Either there is no God, or God doesn’t listen to Rick Warren, despite all the money Rick has made off of selling false hope to desperate people.” In another comment, the same poster counsels Warren to “abandon primitive superstitions and accept the universe for what it is — a place that is utterly indifferent to us.”

It is simply outrageously heartless and cruel and those who have joined in on this should be ashamed of themselves.

[. . .]

I don’t understand this need some of us have to pour salt on open wounds. I have a hard time believing that we can be so cruel as to delight in the misfortune of others. My best guess is it is some kind of atavistic belief in sympathetic magic, almost like we are ritually protecting ourselves from a similar event by attacking the victim. If we can attribute the cause of the tragedy to a characteristic of the person, then we can explain it, rather than have to deal with the fear that it is just random chance, and we are vulnerable.

Like this blogger, I'm not a big fan of Warren's theology -- the appeal of evangelical zeal eludes me, and I especially distrust mega churches and electronic pulpits -- and he undoubedly would be appalled by mine. But simple human decency requires us to be minimally supportive of fellow human beings going through absolute anguish. We don't have to offer a shoulder to cry on or take them a potluck supper, but for God's sake they at least deserve not to be kicked while they're down.

I've seen mental illness-induced suicide up close and personal and the human wreckage it leaves behind. The loved ones who had been trying to fathom the illness are devastated beyond belief, and they never get over it. These people -- especially the ones who profess to be religious themselves -- are being unspeakably indecent.


Harl Delos
Wed, 04/10/2013 - 6:34pm

Most murders are committed bt friends and family.  If we follow your guidelines - "for God's sake they at least deserve not to be kicked while they're down", shouldn't we repeal the laws against murder?

PKs, as they were called half a century ago, are given to immoderate behavior, not just sex and drugs and rock-and-roll, but vandalism, rape, burglary, etc.  I'm not sure whether it's genetic or the way they were raised, but there's obviously something going on.

The Roman Catholic church doesn't allow their clergy ti marry (although I've known of widowers with grown children entering the priesthood) and they end up with child abuse.  How about asking pastors to have a wife, but no juvenile children?

Leo Morris
Thu, 04/11/2013 - 11:05am

Harl, you win the prize for most perplexing response. I honestly have no idea what to say to any of that.