I got up and looked at my computer screen and sent the following email:
Dear Mr. Kaleem,
For the past day, I have been staring at headlines claiming that "Pastor Rick Warren's son committed suicide," including one above your own article.
You are in a position to have an effect on the usage of that horrific phrase, "committed suicide."
Most people who die of suicide, especially those who die due to acute or prolonged mental illness (which is, indeed, the vast majority of people who so die) do not "commit" suicide, any more than someone "commits" a heart attack, or cancer, or diabetes.
Death by suicide is not a crime.
It only adds to the anguish of survivors to hear and read a phrase that implies that their loved one intended to leave them, as you or I would understand the meaning of the phrase, or engaged in criminal activity.
You and the Huffington Post wield the power of the media, and are in a position to influence the language we use to describe mental illness and one of its possible consequences.
Please consider altering yours to terms such as "died of suicide" or "died by suicide," words that you might use to describe other means of death.
I am a suicide survivor and a pastor, and I thank you for your consideration.
I had a serious discussion with someone whose (self-described) black-and-white theology leaves no room for my multi-hued and shaded version.
And then, for the first time, I baptized a beautiful little baby. And proclaimed as loud and as long and as emphatically as I could that God's love is abundant and limitless and will not be subverted.
Because if I did not believe that, I would not be a suicide survivor, and I would not be baptizing any babies.