Pastor Rick Warren, known for his book, The Purpose Driven Life, and the vast church following that stemmed from its success, lost his 27-year-old son Matthew Warren to suicide last week. Now he is intent on letting others know that someone sold his son an unregistered gun online and he believes that person is at least somewhat responsible for his son's death. Warren has shared his thoughts via Twitter. Might this affect the current gun debate that is causing so much controversy across the U.S.?
According to a report from The Huffington Post, Pastor Warren posted the following message via Twitter on Thursday.
"Someone on the Internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun. I pray he seeks God's forgiveness. I forgive him. #MATTHEW 6:15," he tweeted, referencing a Biblical passage about forgiving sins.
"If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you don't...," he added.
So how did Pastor Warren learn that Matthew's gun wasn't registered? The Orange County Sheriff's Department says Matthew Warren never applied for a concealed weapon permit and the serial number on the gun was defaced.
"We can't tell if it's registered or not because the serial number is scratched off," Jim Amormino, a sheriff's department spokesman said. "At one point in time, it may have been, but it's going to be impossible to find out."
It clearly wasn't registered by the most recent seller, from whom Matthew Warren purchased it online.
Pastor Warren addressed the media back in December, following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, talking of America's 'culture of violence.'
"There's a mental health angle that you have to deal with; I don't think we're taking care of those struggling with mental illness like we need to in America," he said. "There is the civil safety issue, which is gun control and these assault weaponsÂ—they don't call them 'assault weapons' for nothing. There is the social issue ... students, by the time they're 18, they've maybe killed 10,000, 20,000 people on video games without any remorse for it."
Do you think the Orange County Sheriff's Department will ever determine who sold Matthew Warren the gun he used to take his own life? Do you agree with Rick Warren that this person is at least partially responsible for his suicide?
Some will say had Matthew Warren not purchased a gun, he likely would have taken his life another way. But how does anyone really know that?
Others will argue that the 'culture of violence' his father spoke of publicly just a few short months ago likely played a larger role in Matthew's death than that of the gun seller.
What kind of an impactÂ—if anyÂ—will Warren's beliefs about his son's suicide play in the current debate that is taking place not only in Washington, but in coffee shops, businesses and city streets all over the country? You can't open a newspaper or turn on a radio without the debate's opposing parties touting their sides.
Pastor Warren says he can forgive whomever sold Matthew Warren his gun. His beliefs mandate he do exactly that. Could you do the same had Matthew Warren been your son, brother, nephew or friend? Will this scenario impact your feelings on the gun control debate? What, if anything, will it do on a nationwide level?
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