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. kaylob

    how is this retribution-read your Bibles and you will see that those who follow God are not immune from troubling events in life-a majority of the apostles of Jesus were killed....

    July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  2. Johann

    Vicious, vicious people. I hope I never get stuck in an elevator with any of these monsters.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Richie

      I hear ya! I'd hate to get stuck in an elevator with types like Rick Warren.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  3. S. Britchky

    I hope God will forgive me for the role I've played in developing the Internet, thus giving these excruciatingly boring and uninformed slaves to the mirror a public voice. Ahm talkin about u, suckah!

    July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Justin

    God bless Rick Warren. I pray you have a speedy recovery.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  5. Jennifer

    Gee Whiz! Everyone's a cynic. Father, forgive them...for they know not what they do. Amen

    July 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Agreed

      Yes, please mythical daddy in the sky; I implore you to forgive these people. And don't forget omnipotent Sky Daddy, Obama was born in Kenya...

      July 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • eladave

      Agreed, you are closer to becoming a Christian than you think.

      July 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  6. angel love

    Convicted by the Lord!

    July 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  7. marie

    What is wrong with people? How can all of you be so cruel? You may feel justified but can't you see that you are guillty of what you accuse him of doing or being by writing such garbage? Is that answer more hatred? Really? If you disagree with a way of thinking, have enough guts to be confident in your beliefs and not resort to just being cruel. Some things are just wrong.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • Brandon


      Rick Warren's goal is to condemn/prohibit/pubicly reject the lifestyles of many peaceful loving people because they disagree with him. He is VERY vocal and intentional in his methods of trying to achieve those goals. Should I really cut the guy a break when he threatens my freedom and personal well being? I don't think so. He puts himself out there to hur others, you can garuntee others will praise his misfortunes.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm |

        Brandon, the lifestyles you support are against the word of God. As a man of God, he's teaching right from wrong. Your issue should be with God and not Pastor Rick Warren (the messenger). I understand your choices and respect them, that does mean I support your choices and that does not equate to hatred for those choices. I hate your lifestyle, as it's unnatural and a sin against God, I have no hatred for the individual.

        July 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
        • Brandon


          The word of god and the Yellow Pages have equal standing in my life. Wait.... strike that, the Yellow Pages are actually relevant, helpful, and factual.

          July 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
        • Toby

          Sam- I'm just curious here-why do you think that God does not heal amputees? You criticized my earlier comment for having no point, so perhaps you have an answer to this quandry?

          July 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
        • Pete

          SAM DACOSTA, you are free to choose as you please what you believe is wrong. However when your beliefs and those of many others result in discrimination of those who do not share your beliefs then my issue IS with the messenger, not God.
          And no, I don't hate you either, only your message.

          July 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
        • brad

          Sam, by that brilliant logic, then, we cannot criticize the Jihadists that killed Americans on 9/11 because they were doing so in the name of god. We can only take it up with god. Ignorance/hatred/bigotry is just that no matter what religion you wrap it in.

          July 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
        • Elaine

          SAM DACOSTA,
          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.

          July 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
        • Mark C

          @SAM: put a sock in it, you arrogant as$. There's nothing worse than someone who thinks he knows the mind of god.

          July 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
        • Reeperbahn

          Except for someone who thinks you can't.

          July 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Karl

      Uhh, how about that whole 'do unto others'?

      July 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
      • The Eternal Satyr

        "Do unto others" only applies to Xians.

        If you're not a Xian, you can do whatever the hell you want.

        July 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • svscnn

      Ummm.... it's not like he's going to read these comments Marie... ya know... what with him being blind and all.

      Just sayin'.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
      • eladave

        you think maybe, just maybe, he has a friend who would read it to him. just saying

        July 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Frogist

      This is to all of you who are harping on about people being cruel to Mr Warren, he did something dumb and he's recovering well... we are allowed to make fun of him. And compared to the hate-filled speech on other topics on this site re: mosques or even the president, this is tame.

      July 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Matt T

    Rick Warren and Glenn Beck in two days ?

    My faith in God is restored.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • Vin


      July 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  9. Mike

    Maybe it was a sign from God, maybe he should have burned his tongue

    July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  10. Bill

    What does it say that so-called righteous conservatives like Rick Warren and Glenn Beck, who like to play morality police to everyone but themselves, are losing their sight. If there is a God, I would take these instances as a sign of how he feels about this two clowns and the message of intolerance and ignorance that they try to spread.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • AliveintheNW

      Oh, the irony. It's just self-defeating when you want to beat someone down for their "intolerance" by slamming them. Apparently, you're not very tolerant of their beliefs. So, you're just like the people you claim to despise. Congratulations.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Brad

      How is Rick bad?

      July 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Eric

      Bill, why such hatred? Your response and the others like it are so far off base that its pathetic. Have you guys been that hurt in the past that you take it out on those who love God and serve him. Is your hatred for God that great? I'll pray for you to see the light........

      July 22, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Dave

      It doesn't say anything. God never claimed to shield his followers from ailments/accidents. What I hear is don't grow this stupid plant and then launch it into your eye.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • Jay

      @AliveintheNW: I have no issue with anyone's beliefs, whether I agree with them or not, as long as they don't try to force their beliefs down my throat and attempt to control my life with them.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • mfmx

      I wouldn't take it as a sign of anything except that the rain falls on christians and nonchristians alike. It's not any more of a "sign" when a christian is diagnosed with cancer or dies in an accident than when such things happen to a person who is not a christian.

      And in general – how is this event (1) news and (2) an event to ridicule? The bulk of these comments are made without critical thought.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  11. Paul

    To stand for something is not hateful friends. You are loved.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Johann

    Wow! Hate hate hate, and more hate. Amazingly cruel responses so far.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  13. eric

    Hmmmn first Beck, now Rick. . .

    July 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  14. Madmatt

    maybe lack of external vision will let him focus on his hateful inner self.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  15. CS

    Wow you people are very mean.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • And your problem with that is...

      Not nearly as mean as the God of the old testament.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  16. Eric

    How thoughtful of God to put toxic sap in that plant.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Paul

      LMAO. Not only did God put toxic sap in that plant – her put the plant in Rick's yard. Score: Two Points for God

      July 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      Actually Mr Warren purchased the plant himself... and then apparently decided to make out with it.

      July 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  17. Paul

    If you think Rick Warren is about "personal" gain or money. You simply are displaying your ignorance. Rick wrote the #1 best selling non-fiction book of all time and hasn't changed his lifestyle, house, made any big purchases. Rick is the real deal and a man of God. We love you Rick. Get better and continue to bring spiritual sight to the world. And thank you.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Gigi

      Actually the #1 best selling book is the Bible...are you calling the Bible fiction?

      July 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
    • Anthony

      There are many non-fiction books that have sold more than the 30 million copies that Rick Warren has sold. Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship has sold 150 million copies, Steps to Christ has sold 60 million copies, just to name a few. Did you also forget about the Christian Bible? 2.5 Billion copies...

      July 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • mattifolks

      Yes...the Bible is a work of fiction...and not a very good one. It's full on contradictions, hypocrisies, and incongruous plot lines...and cannot even agree with itself as to the point of the whole thing.

      August 18, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  18. GOD

    "Pray my sight loss is restored."

    Sooooooo... you want me to pray for you to remain blind?

    July 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Stephanie

      I'm a bit grammar obsessed and I thought the exact same thing!

      July 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  19. EddyL

    Smote by the finger of god?

    July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  20. Nancy

    I bet he turns this into some money-making, miracle-filled event. "God restored Rick Warren's sight and now you can have your ailments cured for the low price of only $99!"

    July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
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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.