In their first media interview since the suicide of their son, Matthew, Rick and Kay Warren spoke exclusively to CNN's Piers Morgan about the resilience of their Christian faith and their new mission to de-stigmatize mental illness. The full interview was broadcast on Piers Morgan Live.
In the five months since Matthew Warren ended his life with a gun on April 5, the Warrens have been privately grieving away from the national spotlight, but they are now opening up about their personal tragedy so they can "save other families from the pain they are walking through."
Though they remained composed and strong, the Warrens' voices were on the verge of breaking as they recounted the moment that they knew that their son had committed suicide. “The day that I had feared might happen one day, since he had been born, and the day that I had prayed would never happen … happened,” Rick Warren told CNN.
Despite the horror of their son's passing, the Warrens have held on to their Christian faith. “I never questioned my faith in God; I questioned God’s plan,” Rick Warren said. “God isn’t to blame for my son’s death. My son took his life. It was his choice.”
The Warrens founded Saddleback Church in 1980, and it's since become one of the largest ministries in America. A new poll by LifeWay Research indicated that 53% of Americans believe that churches should be doing more to prevent suicide, reports CNN.
Yesterday's shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. were also part of the discussion between the Warrens and Morgan, as the issues of gun control and mental health are increasingly part of the same conversation.
Morgan cited a statistic stating that 35 people in America are killed every day from gun violence, and asked the Warrens about their stance on guns given both tragedies. "Now that you've been so personally touched, and you're in such a position of authority, is it affecting what you're going to be saying going forward?"
Rick Warren replied, "Well yeah, it's going to affect me in all three of those areas- not just in simply gun control By the way, when I heard about those deaths at the Naval Yard- the first thing I did was get down on my knees and pray for those families of the victims, those who died and those who were wounded. My heart went out to them."
Update: The article has been change to reflect that the broadcast has occurred.