Pastor Rick Warren hospitalized after eyes burned
July 22nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET

Pastor Rick Warren hospitalized after eyes burned

Megachurch pastor Rick Warren is home recovering after his eyes were burned as he pruned a firestick plant in his yard, his spokesman told CNN Thursday.

Warren was hospitalized Monday after the incident and released Tuesday, said his spokesman, A. Larry Ross. Warren is expected to make a full recovery, Ross said.

"My eyes were severely burned by a toxic poison," Warren wrote in a Twitter message Thursday morning. "Hospitalized Mon. Excruciating pain. Now home. Pray my sight loss is restored."

Though the pain was initially so intense that Warren could not open his eyes on Monday, he was seeing well enough Thursday to send the Tweet himself, Ross said. "The pain was excruciating - 12 on a scale of 1 through 10," Ross said. "It's now down to an 8."

Warren was pruning shrubs in the yard of his Southern California home when he wiped his eyes after picking up leaves from a firestick plant, Ross said.

The sap of the firestick is toxic and can cause skin irritation and temporary blindness if it comes in contact with the skin or eyes, according to the website gardenguides.com. The firestick is a succulent with spiky orange branches.

Warren is currently on leave from his church, called Saddleback, to write a book, so the injury is not expected to affect his public schedule, Ross said.

"A doctor put protective contacts on my corneas as bandages during the healing," Warren said in another Tweet on Thursday. "I am NOT blind."

The firestick is found around the world, Ross said, and grows well in Southern California.

"Pastor Rick, an avid gardener, purchased it locally himself," Ross said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Leaders

soundoff (682 Responses)
  1. Rochelle

    I find it funny that after thousands of years people are still stupid enough to believe that myths that were told then are still very real. PEOPLE GROW UP! "God" was used to enforce control over the poor, weak, simple minded. So that the strong and rich could survive and become richer and stronger. There is no imaginary friend in the sky, there are no mysterious ways, thats just called science or coincidence. Brainwashing is brainwashing whether it be in the form of Al Qaeda or Christianity it's all the same.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  2. Tom R

    Honestly why would anyone have Firestick growing in their yard. Thats just stupid.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  3. dustin l

    If he did go blind from this I wonder if he would support stem cell research. Great Post:


    whats really ironic is that just a couple weeks ago they released that stems cells have been used to cure blindness in people with eyes that have been burned!!!!


    July 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  4. Larry Karmel

    First Cheney shoots his friend in the face, and then Bush burns this guy's eyes.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • NuffSaid

      LOL....That was a Good One!
      Waiting to see what Condoleeza is gonna do.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  5. Jason

    I hope it burns him again!

    July 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  6. Brian

    Truth is Truth! If a car is speeding towards you, and someone is telling you to move out of the way so you won't get hurt or die, but you choose to not believe in the car and not move, will you get hit by the car?

    Interesting to note. Many have tried to disprove the existance of the one and only God, but no one has succeeded.

    None of us know what is in Rick's heart...only God. Don't follow Rick, follow God. Read His Word yourself. God willing, it could save your life.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Tom R

      Many have tried to prove the existence of god but none have been able to come up with any actual evidence.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Lee

      More importantly...no one has EVER been able to prove god's existance...EVER! Seems like the buden of proof is on you, not me. You may have a better chance of proving the Easter Bunny's existance!

      July 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  7. doofus

    who in their right mind would have a plant like that in their yard. what a tard.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  8. Mike

    Did his eyes burn because he saw a non-Hetero person?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  9. Mizh

    Religion is just a crutch for people who can't handle real life. Come the rapture can I have your car, Shannon? 🙂

    July 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  10. Rob

    OMG!!! There is an old mean white man GOD after all. YEAH GOD!!! Next get that double d-bag Pat Robertson

    July 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  11. PHIL


    July 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  12. bailoutsos

    Hmmm... who is next?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  13. Mizh

    yep. religion is absolutely ruining this country. AND the world — look at all the wars because of what?! RELIGION.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  14. JMG

    He found the "Burning Bush". What did it say? I'm sure someone will be blaming Bush for this too. LOL
    Get well Rick.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  15. Shannon

    I had no idea there were so many hate filled weirdos in the world. I am really trying to feel compassion for them but it is very difficult. I am so ready for the Rapture

    July 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Lee

      Why wait for the reapture? Just kill yourself! Studies have shown that people of religion fear death much more than people who aren't religious. Seems absurd as death is suppsoed to take you to the pearly gates, golden roads, etc. Wait! Why am I not supposed to care about material possesions, such as gold and pearls, but god uses them as a recruiting tool? It's very telling if you ask me.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  16. Mizh

    it's the wrath of god: and He shall smite thee with a firestick bush. dumb F***.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Luke

    “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?

    July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Fred

    I refuse to engage in a compassionate and intelligent conversation with unarmed people who make snide comments and cheap shots about someone they do not even know. Wow, how sad.

    Please be more careful, and remember the more you judge others, the more you will be judged. Don’t dis what you don’t understand, that only shows your lack of intelligence and wisdom.

    If you were in excruciating pain, of any kind, wouldn't you want someone to show you kindness and compassion?

    It’s quite obvious that hurting people really do strike out and hurt other people for no apparent reason at all. How very sad.

    July 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • abl123

      Don't they just have to ask to be forgiven? Just like when "Christians" say nasty things about non-Christians and then (supposedly) ask for forgiveness? Or does the "forgiveness" thing only work for "Christians?" Just curious. And it seems hypocritical for anyone but a scholar of world religion to call someone ignorant for not knowing all of the tenets of a particular religion, because–and forgive me, Fred, if you are able–I suspect that Christians are particularly guilty of this sort of hypocrisy as it relates to knowledge of other religions, particularly Islam and, perhaps more surprisingly, Judaism. Kind of like the Christian pot calling the non-Christian kettle black, if you will?

      July 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  19. Lokari

    Headline should read "Toxic Sap Burned by Toxic Sap"

    July 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • abl123

      Wow, good one. (Golf clapping.)

      July 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Doug


      July 22, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  20. CEL1

    Please, people, be civilized to each other. Rick is no different than any of us when it comes to pain and suffering. He was deceived by the people in the schools where he was educated. They do not teach about God, they teach how to keep the church going so it can keep their schools funded so they can teach how to keep the church going so ...........etc

    Theology was thrown out of divinity schools and seminiaries YEARS ago. Now all they teach is, well, divinity. And no one really understands what divinity is...................

    July 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.