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. George Bush

    Would you guys quit trying to drag me into this, Laura will get all mad at me if she thinks I was involved.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  2. dwighthuth

    Why would you have a plant or bush in your yard that you A)Knew was toxic B)Knew that would burn you if you touched it and C) why would you prune the bush if you knew about both A and B? Sounds like another way for defunct religious sects to roleplay their histories past hopeing to make people see that what they professed is true. Well the only thing that Warren and his followers have seen is how retarded he is for having a bush that is toxic and burnt his eyes after he pruned it. I bet if he had taken some Poppy Seeds he might have seen Moses as well along his pen turning into three snakes.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  3. scott

    we as a society have fallen to a new low when people actively applaud someone's misfortune.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  4. Chalupa

    For a minute, I thought "Oh no, not George W. again."

    July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Dave

      You weren't the only one! Country's shell-shocked to the point where hearing the word "Bush" makes you cringe.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  5. Robert

    He is a scam artist. He Ran a contest on 99designs and had one of his own staff win it so he didn't have to pay anything out and steal ideas from other designers. If he burned his eyes, wonder what the scam to this is... can't trust him.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Jerry

    This event really doesn't say anything about Rick Warren, or God, or religion, or justice, etc. If you read all the comments, what it does say is that you don't have to be very intelligent, thoughtful, or compassionate to purchase a computer and find your way to CNN.com. All the best to Rev. Warren and hope he recovers completely and soon.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  7. pockets


    July 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  8. jstmyview

    The Lord sure does work in mysterious ways! So folks let us all prey and keep those donations coming...

    July 22, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  9. JMG

    Bush's fault

    July 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  10. ML

    It's Obama's fault. He'll write about in his new book. Make millions. Blame the Gay's for it. Make more millions. God is great!

    July 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  11. JMG

    Burning Bush! burns PASTOR LOL LOL sorry. Get well Rick.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  12. Smart Potato

    The burning bush burnt a fat, self-aggrandizing cult leader? The irony thumps too hard in this story...

    July 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • Matt

      I think you would find life much more rewarding if you found nice things to say about people, rather than bad.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  13. HooahHooah

    I thought the story was going to be about GEORGE Bush!

    July 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Dbarak

    Was the bush talking to him?

    July 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  15. Big Nasty

    Funny... I told my gf the same story when she asked how I got gonorrhea in my eye

    July 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  16. marshmallow army

    yo jinko,
    cram it up yer snout, paster hooha is a phoney baloney con man with a winning smile and warm embracing words. he is not blind but cruel with kindness. come join the marshmallow army and all is forgiven

    July 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  17. GoodGrief

    If you disagree with the gay lifestyle, then don't live it. You can't tell others that they can't live it if they don't believe what you believe. It is like if some Muslims believe women sholdn't wear shorts and then they try to force all women of the world (Muslim or not) to comply. That is NOT OK. You follow your religion, but don't push it on the rest of us. Rick Warren and other conservatives who try to change their beliefs into law are doing exactly that. That is WRONG and that is why they are hated. I couldn't care less what he believes, don't try control the rest of us. And I don't want to hear about wanting to prevent gays from having to go to hell or some crap excuse like that. Saying gays go to hell has no meaning if you don't believe in hell."


    I love responses like yours. Personally I could care less about the gay lifestyle, or those who choose (or as is likely preferred – those who are born into it.) to follow it.

    However, your logic is completely flawed. You say that the conservatives are trying to change their beliefs into laws when in fact, it is the liberals and gays who are trying to change their beliefs into laws. The law – as it stands prohibits gay marriage, it is the gay lifestyle and those who choose to follow it who are trying to change the law – not the other way around.

    As your argument stands regarding condemning religious groups for telling others how to live their lives, maybe you should take a closer look at that statement. Isn't it, in fact, the entire purpose of religion to tell you how to live your life? Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Bhuddism – pick a religion, all of them aspire to tell you how you should live your life in order to reap your eternal reward. By that logic, how can you get upset with a religious person for telling you how they think you should live your life? As long as they're only telling you how to live your life and not breaking a law to do it, then they have every right to do so. As to your example regarding headwraps, you're right, by the American standard, it would be WRONG for muslims to enact a law that all women must cover their heads, but that is why we have a separation of church and state. Warren is not forcing anyone to do anything with his words, he is merely writing books, and preaching his message – something that is completely legal.

    You are correct that you have every right to disagree with them (and specifically Warren) and to push your message but equally, they have every right to disagree with you and to push their message (that's one of the freedoms you have living in this country). What you and many other posters here dislike is that his book has sold so many copies – this tells you that there is a silent majority voice out there who disagrees with you. If you don't like that, write your own book, get it published, and spread your own word, see what sort of sales your message merits, change some minds out there, but don't condemn someone who has been injured in an accident for no other reason than to kick them when they are down.

    Again, the biggest issue you had was that conservatives and the like are WRONG for trying to make their views into law. In truth, how do you feel about your logic when it is realized that the laws being changed are in fact NOT what the conservatives are pushing? By your logic – and you should be able to stand by it – then you should feel equally impassioned that gays are WRONG for wanting to change the law – and I doubt that you'd stand by that.

    Review your facts before posting please.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Doug

      Sam, you're right. Religions are about telling people how to live their life. If you ascribe to a particular denominational doctrine, good for you and more power to you to exercise your religious freedom. But, don't turn religious doctrine into public law and tell me to follow it. You're also right about gays trying to change the law. We are. Laws are not immutable. If they were, slavery would still be sanctioned, inter-racial marriage prohibited, women's bodies and property still controlled by their husbands, voting rights extended only to property holders. All laws sanctioned at one time by religions and religious leaders who threatened God's wrath if any of that changed. Ah, the good old days . . .

      July 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  18. NuffSaid

    I always get a good laugh reading these posts. Some of you, actually, most of you take things wayyyyy toooo serious!!!!!
    Lighten Up! Laugh a little!!!
    If all of you on both sides of the aisle don't lighten up, you're gonna end up destorying each other, then I won't have anything to laugh at!

    July 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Jaz3d

      Sadly all great comedies come to an end 🙁

      July 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  19. Jaz3d

    I wounder if he yelled Jesus Christ or God D@mnit when the poison hit?

    July 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • NuffSaid

      That was a good one!

      July 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  20. Mike in St. Louis

    God punishes those who lie, preach hate, intolerance and prejudice or are just plain outright mean. Look where Jerry Falwell ended up.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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.