Rick Warren And Me
It really was a simple tweet, meant with no mock toward a victim of suicide nor malice toward his father, despite his history of anti-gay turgidity.
The official word came via a letter that Rick Warren had written to the members of his church. His son, Matt Warren, committed suicide.
“At 27 years of age, Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many. Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.
No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now…”
The New York Daily News picked up on the tsunami of tweets that speculated on Matt’s sexuality. Many, it seems, surmise that perhaps Matt was gay, and he couldn’t live with his father’s antipathy (to put it mildly) toward gay people any longer. And they singled me out in their article with a screenshot of my tweet:
I won’t play revisionist here. My feelings for Rick Warren have not changed – he is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. He – and the likes of his fellow multimillionaire snake oil sales reps like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, ex-gay (hahah!) TD Jakes – profess to be “Men (or women) of God” while speciously spewing anti-gay rhetoric with smiles on their faces, spouting mumbo jumbo gibberish like “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
But I was pissed-off (if briefly) with the Daily News reporter who penned the article. Now, I need to explain nothing I say (I own up to everything I write) – especially to those commentators who, apparently, can’t read, and who have filled my twitter feed with hate-filled tweets in response to my non-hateful Warren post – but, my tweet has and had NOTHING to do with Warren’s son’s sexuality. It was and is about suicide. Anti-gay browbeating spewed for years from the likes of Warren and his ilk help promote the suicides of gay youth. And the anguish of the families of those affected/effected by such suicides is palpable, raw and heartbreaking. But The Daily News’s Sasha Goldstein likened my tweet with what she called “twisted twitter users” who “turned tragedy into talking points.” (However, while I did no such thing, I can easily reply, “And so what if I – or others – did?” Warren’s history has shown no mercy in attacking a group of people he deems as second class citizens!)
Of course I wasn’t reveling in his pain. Of course I wasn’t blaming Warren. Of course my heart aches for all families haunted by suicides. I pray (as an atheist, I mean that symbolically and colloquially) his son is at peace, and I hope the Warren family learns to cope with their insurmountable loss. But hopefully Warren will learn to curb his homophobia with the knowledge that his words – and the million words written and spoken by his anti-gay community – have helped cause thousands of young men and women to end their lives. That’s what I meant by “Now you know the pain…” There was no joy in my tweet. No karmic hosannas. And absolutely and unequivocally not a scintilla of hate. I know the monumental confounded, conflicted juxtaposition of rage, torment, agony of suicide. It’s not an emotion I wish on anyone.
But my truth didn’t stop the mentally imbalanced from attacking my words, and twisting them into what they wanted to believe as their truth.
Michelle Malkin is a demon, as we know – a vile, anti-patriot hate-monger of the highest – albeit, funniest – caliber. She created a ridiculously fun sorta social-media-for-Tea-Bagger’s site called Twitchy (get it? Har har! Such a card, she is!). They too posted a screenshot of my tweet, which is when the hate-posts first started coming:
My favorite is from Jason Zeidler, based on his hashtag alone:
Joe Muck detests me – not so much for what I said, but for my Twitter bio…which come to think about it, IS me (it reads “Optimist Pessimist Pacifist Fighter Dieter Eater Muse Muser Saint Sinner Humanist Atheist Realist Bundle-Of-Sticks…Partnered, Faithful Friend ~ Drama-free zone (sorta)…” Now just what does he have against dieters?):
Listen, if you’re active on social media – no matter how insignificant (I mean, I’m a pittance with less than 800 followers!) – then you accept what’s thrown at you and take it with a grain of salt – by putting yourself out there, verbalizing your thoughts, conveying your beliefs, you’re basically drawing a life-size target on your chest. And I’m absolutely content with that. But if you know me at all, you know that “haters” are hardly even an annoyance. You could say (as I have in the past) that I thrive on them – their empty words from their empty heads mean nothing to me except when I’m delighting in their stupidity. I laughed at every one of the hate-tweets, actually replying to some (I know, I know. I shouldn’t – it only fuels their animosity). What strangers think of me or my words – rather, those who contort them from reality to their debased fantasy – is something I could care less about, but even that would take up too much time.
Others used the comment section of the Daily News for further accusations against me. I had posted a retort to the columnist in the comment sections (pretty much summing up what I wrote here in this blog post), but that didn’t stop the crazies:
Folks like Opie Juan (ah, the anonymity of the internet!) can sugarcoat Warren’s words all they wish – it doesn’t make them less hateful. Saying innate sexuality and the right as a human being to want to marry is akin to incest and pedophilia is HATE. Period:
(courtesy Pensito Review)
And, it’s not merely “disagreeing” either, when it comes to equality, as some have suggested in their tweets. If you don’t feel that gay Americans should obtain the same equality that straight Americans have as a basic human right – then it’s hate – how else to explain the deep-rooted hostility? And stop the bible-thumping, please. If you’re so concerned with biblical teachings, then 100% of the human race will be going to “hell.” Don’t claim that you love us but only as second hand citizens of humanity. It’s fundamentally wrongheaded.
But it wasn’t all vitriol – I also engaged with a few who questioned my tweets in a civil manner. Apparently there are some who might have fundamentally different beliefs and views than you, who can exchange thoughts and ideas without offense. Whoulda thunk it?
Others have re-tweeted my original post in support of my words, and some have “favorited” it. It’s nice to know that some understand context in 140 characters or less.
Again, my hope is that the Warren family can get through this personal horror – and yes, they do have my sympathy. Warren now knows what the pain of suicide feels like, and I really hope that he can learn to curtail his innate hostility toward the gay community, and maybe, just perhaps, he might save a life or two of a desperate young gay person.
Despite my loathing for what the man stands for, I sympathize with his anguish and hope he and his family can heal. Whether he – or anyone else – believes that sincerity means nothing to me.
To read the whole Daily News article, click HERE.