After years of fighting a tragic battle with mental illness, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren's 27-year-old son, Matthew, took his own life on Friday evening.

However, during the pastor and his family's time of grieving, he's been the recipient of vicious verbal rants by people attacking him for his faith. In an email to church members, Warren wrote: {C}

"In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Tonight, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life." One of the tamer messages repeated by many attacking Warren involves the assertion that Warren is a hypocrite because he has preached that God has an answer to suffering, yet his own son died in a senseless way. Another more overtly hateful message read, "I'm sure they earned their suffering. Warren is a monster."

'Megyn Kelly called the attacks 'shocking, disgusting and hard to understand.' "I'm not going to give a voice to the haters because, I mean, boy oh boy, these are people who are in a dark place," she said. Many of those "haters" seemed to focus on the issue of gay marriage, she said, an issue of which Warren has been an opponent. Some who support its legalization, however, are using this as an occasion to "take a shot" at the pastor. "Those are ridiculous, nasty, tasteless and very sad responses,"

Father Jonathan Morris said. "Pastor Warren has been a great man for our country ... and has offered a faith-filled, but also a rational and love-filled voice of moral reasoning." Regardless of whether we agree or disagree with a person's political or religious beliefs, said the Family Council's Tony Perkins, "there was a time when as a country, we would take a break when someone suffered such a great tragedy." "We're all a part of the human race and we ought to grieve at least for a moment [...] for a parent who's lost a child who was tormented through mental illness," Perkins said.


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