Controversial megachurch pastor Rick Warren revealed via Twitter on Thursday that his 27-year-old son Matthew committed suicide with an unregistered weapon that he had purchased online. According to the Daily Mail, Warren, who has been tweeting regular updates about his grieving process, said that he forgives whoever sold his son the weapon.
“Someone on the internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun,” the pastor tweeted. “I pray he seeks God’s forgiveness. I forgive him. #MATTHEW 6:15.” Warren paraphrased the cited verse in a following tweet, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you don’t…”
Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jim Amormino confirmed that the gun’s serial number has been scratched off, a crime under California law, as is selling a firearm without performing a background check.
Warren’s church, the Saddleback Valley Community Church, released a statement on Saturday saying that Matthew Warren had committed suicide after experiencing “a momentary wave of despair at home.” Matthew, who was Pastor Warren’s youngest child, had wrestled with depression and mental illness for many years.
Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, has sold more than 32 million copies since its release in 2002. The pastor was a vocal supporter of Proposition 8, the 2008 California voter initiative that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, although he later denied any involvement.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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