News: Rick Warren, Nelson Mandela, Asteroids, Smith College

RoadPastor Rick Warren's son Matthew has committed suicide.

WarmingRoadWhat America will look like under 25 feet of seawater.

RoadNASA to tow asteroid toward Earth for exploration. "The $105 million proposal would begin planning on a two-stage program in which a robotic spacecraft would grab a small asteroid as early as 2019 and drag it back toward Earth, leaving it in a stable position 'just beyond the moon,' a NASA official said."

RoadSmith College wants an end to anti-trans discrimination in admissions.

RoadNelson Mandela discharged from hospital: "The statement from the office of President Jacob Zuma said there had been 'a sustained and gradual improvement' in the condition of 94-year-old Mandela, who was admitted to a hospital on the night of March 27. 'The former President will now receive home-based high care,' the statement said."

RoadDavid Mixner has five questions for activist Alan van Capelle.

RoadAnti-gay evangelical who called AIDS "a gay cancer" appointed to run Brazil's human Rights and Minority Commission: "Campaigners in Brazil have staged protests and demonstrations over the decision to appoint Mr Feliciano. A high-profile campaign has collected 450,000 signatures calling for his resignation."

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  1. David, I guess you were not on therapy while you had access to that dresser. Or your nieces and nephews. Anthony was talking about the availability of a gun to a person that wasn't stable.

    Posted by: Syrax | Apr 6, 2013 11:51:41 PM

  2. I was interested in the asteroid capture scheme bot not crazy about where they intend to park it. The position they are describing is L2 and it is only meta-stable, not stable. It is stable until it is perturbed, say by Jupiter, and then it begins to oscillate. The oscillations grow with time unless you expend more fuel to re-stabilize it. L4 or L5 are truly stable, 60 degrees ahead or behind the Moon's orbit, are far more stable.

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 7, 2013 1:10:16 AM

  3. Syrax - Warren's son was not a child. He was 27 years old. He was old enough to buy a gun, and old enough to make the decision to take his own life.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Apr 7, 2013 1:14:21 AM

  4. There are far too many extrapolations in people's reactions to Rick Warren's son dying by suicide. Whatever was happening a 27 year old man couldn't see a way fowards in life, deciding to end it.

    I don't think we're in a situation to extrapolate any further and our common humanity demands respect for the grief felt by the family left grieving after such a loss.

    More information may come out in due course. Warren himself may be profoundly changed by what has happened (in a good or a bad direction - we don't know yet). But for now we grieve the loss to the world of a young life cut short.

    Posted by: Craig Nelson | Apr 7, 2013 7:35:08 AM

  5. @ David.....

    I am old enough to know NEVER to say "never".

    Posted by: anthony | Apr 7, 2013 8:19:31 AM

  6. The personality types and psychology of driven people like Warren is replicated among people in diverse fields of endeavor, and with diverse ideologies and beliefs. Such people tend to have over-powering and dominating personalities, and can be difficult to work with, live with. I'm sure being Rick Warren's son was not easy for these reasons alone. Being the child of any driven, successful individual, in business, politics, entertainment, any profession, is difficult.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Apr 7, 2013 8:43:46 AM

  7. Craig - I think we can extrapolate. Although we can't be complelely sure of the factors, studies of suicide show certain common, statistically meaningful similarities. Like, suicide is homicidal rage turned inward. The victim feels he cannot express his rage at the source of his difficulties. The source is often a loved one, or based on the actions of loved ones or community. Most often one must look to the family for the answer. One should particularly focus on the individual(s) likely to find the victim, as the victim anticipated that when he decided to send his message via his suicide. It's pretty clear who didn't know how to love the suicide victim in this case. I think offering condolences to the Warrens is literally destructive in this case. The victim's death should not be in vain because we ignored his profound message. That message said he was done very wrong by his loved ones; and others should not follow their example.

    Posted by: Markt | Apr 7, 2013 9:21:53 AM

  8. I know that young gay people are much more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers 10-13 times higher risk. What I don't know is what percent of young suicides overall, especially in this age group, involve conflicted same gender desire. I would guess that this child was more probably gay than not.

    In a way it doesn't matter what part of Rick Warren's pig headed demagoguery played a role here- it could have been his views on women, money, or a variety of factors. But the soullessness that makes one promote Prop 8 and homophobia in Africa tends not to stop there. It has far reaching effects.

    While suicide can stem from many things, including genetics, I think it's more probably true than not that this young man's suicide was directly related to his father's unusual conduct. Catholics don't have the corner on molestation, I am reminded and it is possible that Rick Warren's gluttonous, selfish behavior crossed that line, too.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 7, 2013 9:55:48 AM

  9. This summary of the literature on suicide gives chilling support to my suspicions. 28 percent of gay youths in a study reported suicidal thoughts or attempts, compared to 4 percent of their straight counterparts, and it was men much more than women. To be fair, suicide risk in gays drops with age, but this 27 year old was clearly still under daddy's thumb.

    My heart aches for the son. Dad, not so much.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 7, 2013 10:04:10 AM

  10. Dear Rick Warren, that karma... she's a witch.

    Posted by: Tarc | Apr 7, 2013 10:33:35 AM

  11. No Sympathy for Warren. He is convicted by his own beliefs: "you reap what you sow". Warren and his ilk have fanned the flames of hatred and oppression for LGBT folk around the world. It matters little that he is not among the very worst--he's bad enough. He preaches a thinly veiled bigotry. He tries to "nice it up". But underneath is the same intolerance preached by his fellow travellers.

    Rick Warren has blood on his hands and deserves every ounce of pain and anguish this causes him, now and forever.

    Posted by: homogenius | Apr 7, 2013 11:20:13 AM

  12. As far as I know, Please correct me if I'm wrong, allthis informatio about his son's alleged mental problems have come from Rick Warren.

    Tere's no objective information about this kid and what may have driven him to suicide.

    Or even if it WAS suicide.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 7, 2013 12:04:07 PM

  13. Hatred poisons the heart......but I don't know enough about Warren to either way.
    But like all evangelicals he seems to have put his belief in his own ministry as his own Golden Calf....and now worships himself.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Apr 7, 2013 12:05:54 PM

  14. @ Goal VA You seem to be under the impression I am not aware of Mr. Warren's record. As if I have "no backbone" just because I feel a sense of empathy for ANYONE (Gay or Straight, Black or White, Rich or Poor) for having their own kin take their own life. Do you actually believe I'm not angry about Exodus International and Mr. Warren's ties to it?? And Chick-Fil-A?? Like I don't have my coworkers constantly telling me I should try their chicken sandwiches out even though they know how I feel about it???

    I am angry Goal VA!!! I am livid with rage!! Everyday!!!!! I feel for all these children and adults still in their prime taking their own lives! It sickens me!! To the point that I wonder if maybe they actually have a point?!! Maybe this all just BS and we're fooling ourselves!!!!

    From Tyler Clementi to Asher Brown To Seth Walsh...and the list goes on and on and on. Right up to Matthew Warren. All gone. Caught in the crossfires of this war. And you're right! Even the nameless ones out in Africa and all the other nations included!!! You don't think it makes me angry??!!!

    I'm not a "p-ssy"!! You don't know who I am!! My real name is Michael White. I'm 38 years old. I still have my moments going through depression myself because I'm tired of the sad stories like this. In fact, not even a two months ago I felt the same way again. Went out to a park and bawled my eyes out!!! Then got back up and I'm still here today. You don't think I feel for all these people?? I do. I know exactly what they are going through.

    Tony Kushner wrote in his brilliant play Angels In America "A queen can forgive her vanquished foe. It isn't easy." This isn't easy for me. But I'm tired of seeing the casualties rise from both sides. It's sickening me to pit of my stomach. I extend an olive branch. Why?? Because I want it to stop. I want everyone to come together. I don't know if Rick Warren will change. But I'm hoping he will. Because that's all I'm holding on to now. Hope. If not...then I guess the war isn't over, right? I just hope I have the strength within myself to keep fighting. But my mother told me something two decades ago that makes me wonder if it's the only reason I'm still here. She said "Suicide is for people that can't handle life."

    Posted by: mickyflip | Apr 7, 2013 12:32:39 PM

  15. there is necessarily an element of speculation in the wondering why this young man did this, and also a concurrent ~genteel~ refusal to speculate. but until there is more information about this incident --other than comments by rick warren-- we must consider that if certain questions had been asked sooner matthew warren might yet be alive.

    Posted by: unokhan | Apr 7, 2013 1:09:07 PM

  16. youngest son. how awful it must have been growing up in the Warren family. wait for more. there's a lot of covering up going on. this was not merely "mental illness".

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 7, 2013 1:17:05 PM

  17. I wonder if this will affect Warren's conservative-Christian stance on suicide? the man believes in Hell. does he now believe his son is in Hell? if not, what makes his son's decision different from any other perceived "sins"?

    this should be a time when the Warren family sit and ask themselves what factors actually contributed to this. what factors compounded to make their son's depression take over. what possible things they could have done to ease the triggers for depression in their son, and others.

    alas, it's highly unlikely this will happen. we'll get a big old "oh, it was just depression, nothing more" excuse. which means they learn nothing from this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Apr 7, 2013 1:48:17 PM

  18. What does his widowed boyfriend have to say? Has he been interviewed yet?

    Posted by: harmonikasavingsbonds | Apr 7, 2013 1:56:30 PM

  19. Who would that be, harmonikasavingsbonds? Tell us all about it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 7, 2013 2:27:07 PM

  20. As someone else remarked, a parent should never have to bury their child. Gay or straight. If you cannot have even a little empathy for the Warren family in this time of grief then frankly IMO you have allowed your bitterness to consume your humanity and have become no different than those you criticize. I oppose Warren and those like him but I'm not about to dance on his son's grave to spite the man. To do so is despicable and dishonorable.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Apr 7, 2013 4:13:05 PM

  21. Bitterness and humanity go together like ham and eggs.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 7, 2013 4:30:01 PM

  22. The irony that the son of the author of "The Purpose Drive Life" would commit suicide could not be greater. Religion as pablum based self-help advice has been raking in millions for charlatans like Warren for years. Warren could not help his own son, let alone millions of dupes that showed up at his church, read his book or watched him on TV.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 7, 2013 4:49:50 PM

  23. I only hope that if this man was gay some proof of his struggle comes out- and possibly something positive will come of his passing. I think a distraught boyfriend would be just the thing to hold Rick Warren's hypocrisy up for all the world to see. I also wonder if there were ever an attempt at gay reparative therapy. How I wish it would come to light. I think these people cut a high profile and there must be rivalries within the organization- churches are hotbeds of gossip.

    Already to call it "mental illness" and not "depression" is an important distinction. Depression can relate to other influences (possibly parental) whereas "mental illness" is right wing code for "he was just innately crazy." To their credit they said medications were tried. Interestingly, medications work well for depression. Guilt and shame not so much.

    Here's hoping that something positive comes of it. If not a public epiphany for Rick Warren at least a gradual drop in homophobic rhetoric.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 7, 2013 4:58:35 PM

  24. My condolences to the Warren Family, but I'm begging "Pastor" Warren no to use his son's tragic death in his crusade against our community. It would be the height of Disgusting.

    Posted by: Ryon | Apr 7, 2013 5:01:49 PM

  25. @Little Kiwi

    I don't know about canon law, but secular law draws a distinction between self-destruction and suicide, with the latter being a rational act for which the deceased is fully responsible.

    If Rick Warren makes that distinction and believes that his son was mentally ill, then I guess he can hope that there's a better place for Matthew than the hell from which he escaped

    Posted by: Rich | Apr 7, 2013 5:12:09 PM

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