Joel Osteen opens megachurch doors to Houston’s displaced after backlash
Say what you will about the pastors of megachurches – and there’s so much so say, isn’t there? – but Joel Osteen has mastered the art form. The celebrity preacher has been on television for years and amassed a local congregation in the thousands and millions of dollars for himself and his family.
So what did he do when those same people could use his help? Shut them out.
Osteen’s Lakewood Church is found in a building that used to belong to the Houston Rockets and fit all of their fans inside for a game. Today, it still has a capacity of just under 17,000.
This sounds like it would be a great resource to utilize as thousands of Houstonians are displaced and homeless after the flooding of Hurricane Harvey. Right? Well, Osteen chose to close the church over the weekend because of flooding in the surrounding area. At least he sent a tweet, though!
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 26, 2017
That would’ve been a somewhat justified claim to make if someone hadn’t taken pictures of the church’s dry parking lot and shared them on Twitter.
Houston's @indivisible_usa is acquainted with @JoelOsteen's Lakewood Church. They took these pics about an hour ago w/ commentary. pic.twitter.com/YTWrD9UG1z
— Charles Clymer?️? (@cmclymer) August 28, 2017
After the public found out that Osteen was keeping the public out of his church for no legitimate reason, they began to wonder what his motivations could’ve possibly been outside of greed and selfishness. Twitter and other social media feeds were soon full to the brim of criticism for the pastor pressuring him to do something.
Joel Osteen won't open his church that holds 16,000 to hurricane victims because it only provides shelter from taxes. #HoustonStrong
— Alan Spencer (@MrAlanSpencer) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen's megachurch is designed for the rising tithe, not tide.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 28, 2017
I remember when Jesus fed the needy only after receiving massive public pressure
— Clark Honea (@ClarkHonea) August 29, 2017
Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 29, 2017
As a result, Lakewood Church opened its doors on Monday night and was full of air mattresses and other accommodations to help those who need it most.
To which our Managing Editor, Jenn M. Jackson asked:
So, does Black Twitter get credit for Osteen opening up Lakewood Church or naw? pic.twitter.com/hZQS1II7fY
— Jenn M. Jackson (@JennMJack) August 29, 2017