Osteen Pushes Back on Social Media 'Narrative' That Church Did Not Help Harvey Victims
Houston pastor Joel Osteen is pushing back against criticism that his Lakewood Church did not welcome victims of Hurricane Harvey.
On Sunday, the 16,800-seat megachurch posted on Facebook that its doors would remain shut "due to severe flooding."
That led to an outcry on social media:
"Give to the one who asks you..
Unless they ask you for shelter in your fancy church. Then screw 'em"
-Bible verse, according to #JoelOsteen
— Erik Bransteen (@erikbransteen) August 29, 2017
— Brandi Gallard (@BrandiGallard) August 29, 2017
deeply disappointed @joelosteen. that House belongs to God + was built for people in need. you should have been the first to open your doors
— TRAVIS GARLAND (@TravisGarland) August 29, 2017
Houston's Joel Osteen has a net worth over $50m and a church that holds 16,800 but this is all he's offering. pic.twitter.com/rmhdWK6ZAO
— Mark Elliott (@markmobility) August 28, 2017
If Joel Osteen's church is flooded, perhaps he could open up his house...or at least his guest house or pool house. pic.twitter.com/a4Xa0TZYHo
— Angela Lee Morabito (@Bear2theRight) August 29, 2017
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a flood victim to enter into Joel Osteen’s church.
— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) August 29, 2017
— DL Hughley (@RealDLHughley) August 29, 2017
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
On "Fox & Friends" this morning, Osteen said his church's doors have always been open, and they are assisting evacuees with supplies such as baby formula, medical supplies and other shelter needs.
"The church is always open. We took people in. When the big shelter filled up, people started coming here," Osteen said. "I think sometimes people try to make that narrative that we're not open to people, but we've been doing this for 60 years, and we'll continue to do it."
As for his critics, Osteen said he hasn't paid much attention to them, as it's easy to pass judgment from afar.
"Social media is powerful these days," Osteen said. "I think some of it is just people that don't like people like me or people of faith."
He said he's focusing on what he's called to do, which is helping his fellow Houstonians and lifting people's spirits.
Let us know what you think in the comments.