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)

    There is no point made with your analogy. God is good and for those of us who believe, we understand our fate and look forward to eternity. for those who do not believe, or choose not to believe, then you have already determined yours. I have no issue with your choice but don't ridicule us for ours either. it's simple in my world; Heaven or Hell. Your choice.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  2. Bobbie

    @eric Because God doesn't promise Christians a pain free and perfect life. Also, Rick isn't a proponent of faith healing. As far as being healed, God can have His hand in it just by providing the right doctors, nurses, medicines and knowledge to heal Rick's problem.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  3. Jen M

    The biggest question is: Why did he have something poisonous planted in his front yard?

    July 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  4. Moses

    Let's see, Rick Warren encourages people to do something positive with their lives instead of copying the modern culture of doing what pleases self....You're calling this man a bigot! Maybe you should quit judging and try to emulate these men who are living for others instead of themselves. Get a life! Better yet, get a Christ centered life! Oh yeah, remember the immortal words of Mr. Roosevelt......"It's not the critic who counts........Look it up!

    July 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  5. Evan

    This just clarifies to me that many people are ignorant. Cynicism kills.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  6. svscnn

    And from the burning bush, did come forth the voice of the Lord...

    "Come ye forward Rick, and hear my word, for I have a message that I want you to deliv-... ahhh not so close! Ooooh, c r a p. Sorry about that."

    July 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  7. Karl

    Must be the gays fault.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  8. Eric G

    I have had serious eye injuries. I wish him a speedy recovery. Be well.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  9. Hmm

    After his sight is restored, I'm sure he'll say it was God even though the scientific description says that the blindness is only temporary. Sigh.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Brandon

    I hope he is blind and in pain every day for the rest of his life. He does nothing but divide people based on fear and hate. He deserved this and worse.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

      Brandon, you're totally mislead by your views of Pastor Rick Warren. He's caring and works to bring people together. He preaches the word of God and makes no excuses for the Word. If the word offends you, then it's not the messengers fault. This is an honest, God fearing man, who has used his platform to bring thousands to the Lord. Check your facts and stop reading and spreading propaganda. Come to Church and hear his message and even meet the man and then make your own conclusions.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  11. Kingfisher

    I just wanna know this: How did he Twitter his comments if he is blind? If he's able to perform a non-essential task like Twittering, he obviously must not be THAT bad off.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • John

      Most people who can type can do it well enough to type a short twitter post without looking. Is that so hard? I'm only replying because I have seen this question a number of times here. Seems that everyone just wants to fault Warren without thinking it through.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
  12. 1969er

    I wish both Mr. Warren and Mr. Beck well. May they live long healthy lives–they are among the best fundraisers for progressives we have ever had. It it weren't for guys like this, how would we ever scare up enough money for our agenda? They are a constant help to us because they expose the alternative and we use that exposure to build support for our own cause. So thanks to Mr. Warren and Mr. Beck and to all of their supporters on here who have contributed so much to making our case for us!

    July 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  13. Karen

    How sad. I'm no fan of the man but I sincerly hope he get's relief from pain and some use of his eyes back. I'd hate for anyone to be cast into darkness after a life full of light.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Jesus

    Warren does NOT work for free. I am very aware of how accounting is done for religion business people. They usually accept only a nominal amount or no salary and charge off some or no expenses to the Church. That's how they can accurately state, "I receive no salary or only a very modest salary from the church". Their religion foundation or non-profit either bills the church for services and/or makes money off of book sales and appearances and funnels it indirectly to the religion businessman. The religion hucksters make millions this way, avoid paying taxes, and yet appear to the naive person as doing it all for Jesus-all for free. Their followers do not go behind the published facts.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • sk8eycat

      THANK you! I think California's budget problems would be solved if the mega-churches had to pay the same property taxes on their church-owned real estate as I do. Especially the for the properties that were bought and built on since the passage of Prop. 13 back in the 1970s.

      Can you imagine a world where churches had to "fess up" to the IRS the way any other business does? Even other "non-profits" have to report their income annually...only churches don't. Why should they get a free ride? Their "good works" don't amount to anything compared to what secular charities do.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
    • weallgotone

      Big business and the wealthy should be taxed even more. Greedy corrupt politicians need the money!

      July 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
    • eladave

      Well said Bobby, no doubt these two are libs, and athiest. Wow you talk about a combination from hell.

      July 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  15. Realist

    Everyone associated with the jewish or christian god should WAKE UP because GodisImaginary.com (visit the website) and they would run away from their religion if they would just (for once) read their EvilBible.com (visit the website) and understand the truth rather than the lies thay have been taught in sunday school and from behind the pulpit.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  16. Grog

    "Whats wrong with you people " ?

    We are not blind.
    Rick Warren is.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  17. Bobbie

    I find it amusing, but more sad, that all of these hateful comments toward Rick are unwarranted. Every time someone says he's a bad person, they show no proof to back it up. People astound me.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  18. JR

    Rick ... you're just another right-wing nut-job that had it coming. If a firestick plant is capable of doing this - why have it?! This is what you get for speaking out against gays.... firestick poisoning. (Note to the rest of you) 🙂

    July 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  19. mike

    pat robinson said rick warren's eyes were burned because he made a deal with the devil

    July 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  20. weallgotone

    It's interesting to see the opinions of those that visit CNN.com. It says a lot for the audience of CNN doesn't it? LOL

    July 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • sheppard

      of which you are one, obviously – hypocrite

      July 22, 2010 at 2:28 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.