The popular evangelical preacher and inspirational speaker may have permanently damaged his brand with what many consider a very lame answer to the question about why his church locked out the neediest people in his community, who were devastated by the floods in Houston and surrounding areas, while he remained high and dry in his $10 million mansion…
Showing off a toothy grin and posing in front of stacks of donated food and diapers, televangelist Joel Osteen showed not a shred of remorse as he appeared on the Today show on Wednesday.
Proudly, he declared that the doors of his 17,000 seat Texas megachurch had ‘always been open’ to the people of Houston who have been rendered homeless by Hurricane Harvey and its devastating floods.
It came after shocked Texans arrived at his Lakewood church on Sunday to find it free of flood water on the ground level despite a Facebook post issued at the height of the city’s panic which claimed it was ‘inaccessible due to flooding’.
Osteen, still shirking responsibility for the decision, then said that the church chose not to open up to the needy because the city had not officially asked him to. This despite other locations in Houston inviting in refugees out of charity and not an official request.
Did Osteen really say he didn’t open the church to flood victims because the city didn’t ask him to? Does a church need to be asked by the government to help people affected by a natural disaster in their community?
Eventually, it opened up and it is now acting as a ‘distribution center’, finally carrying out good and much needed work as the city reels in crisis.
But Osteen now faces the wrath of an angry Christian community – and the disgust of those beyond it – for his treatment of the disaster. –Daily Mail
Apparently, many folks on social media didn’t feel as though the pastor, who also happens to be mega-rich, is doing enough to help the people who have supported his luxury lifestyle for years.
Twitter user @CollinRugg reminded Olsteen that the church belongs to God and not to him. Collin Rugg tells Osteen to “Open up His doors & let the people of Houston in!”
"Your" mega church doesn't belong to you, it belongs to God
Open up His doors & let the people of Houston in!#HoustonStrong
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 29, 2017
This Twitter user offered a similar sentiment:
Joel Osteen has made millions in Jesus' name, but when it comes time to actually act like a Christian he fails spectacularly. #Houston
— Lori O. (@lori_oh) August 28, 2017
This Twiter user posted a picture of his Catholic priest actually working in the Houston floods to help victims.
This is Father David Bergeron, the Father at my Catholic Church. He was out in a kayak yesterday blessing+helping ppl, Joel Osteen who???? pic.twitter.com/oVsNWniUsx
— Triiodide Ion (@alfredomorenx) August 28, 2017
Outspoken conservative Pastor Greg Locke reminded Osteen of his “obligation to show the love of Christ at this very moment”, telling him to “OPEN THE DOORS.”
Joel Osteen, as a Pastor you have a huge obligation to show the love of Christ at this very moment.
OPEN THE DOORS. #HoustonStrong
— Pastor Greg Locke (@pastorlocke) August 28, 2017
If the New Orleans Saints could open their stadium to the public during Katrina, Joel Osteen can open up his church for the Houston flooding
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 28, 2017
— M A Nöthem (@mikandynothem) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen's megachurch is designed for the rising tithe, not tide.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 28, 2017
They shamed Osteen on social media, sharing photographs of the very dry land outside and questioned the Christianity of a man who had seemingly turned his back on the very congregation which built his $40million empire with their donations and undying faith.
The church then released questionable photographs which it said demonstrated how it had flooded over the weekend but said the waters had since receded.
PHOTO OF FLOODING IN LAKEWOOD CHURCH:
Lakewood Church also sent photos it says show flooding in and around the building:
PHOTO OF THE OUTSIDE OF THE FLOODED CHURCH:
Two Houston men shared this video of the Lakewood Church following the flood as evidence that the church was unaffected by the flooding: