Televangelist Joel Osteen, who has made millions of dollars from donations and selling books on God and faith, and is also one of the most recognizable pastors in the nation on television, shut down his 16,800-seat megachurch located in Houston over the weekend and is refusing to open its doors for those seeking shelter.
Instead of providing refuge, he instead sent a message over Twitter saying he was “praying” for everyone impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
On first glance, you’d think Osteen’s Lakewood Church was one of the impacted buildings in the flood, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s not experiencing any damage at all.
A local Houstonian who was outraged by the church closing posted several pictures of the building, saying “there is no flooding here” or “anywhere around the building.”
Amazingly, even though thousands of current Houstonians are without homes, the church’s spokesman (not Osteen himself) said the reason they weren’t opening their church doors was because the George R. Brown Convention Center nearby was helping flood victims.
“It has everything inside there – medicine, doctors, places to sleep,” Iloff said of the convention center. “It’s amazing what they’re doing there the make people comfortable.”
That’s a great thing. But, it still doesn’t explain the church’s inability to help. And, because of that, people responded to Olsteen’s “prayer message” with outrage.
If you go to the church’s website, it asks for more donations so that it can “give” to relief efforts. It doesn’t specify what it’s doing to give back other than to say it is partnering with Franklin Graham and the disaster relief organization he oversees called Samaritan’s purse.
Even on the church’s own website, people begged for them to open their doors.
People who even donated in the past are having trouble defending the church now.
Osteen is going to have a tough time explaining this one. It’s been reported that Osteen and his wife live in a $10.5 million dollar mansion. We’re guessing he’s not going to open that up to flood victims, either.
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