Tropical storm turned hurricane Harvey has hit our country hard this week. For the most part, people have forgotten their differences for the moment to come together and help those that are in need. Many people have donated their time and money to the hurricane victims. So it seems that everyone is pitching in and lending a helping hand. That is…everyone except for celebrity preacher Joel Osteen and his equally famous megachurch.
Usually during times of crisis and disaster, people turn to the local churches for help. After all churches are designed to help out their fellow man, right? Well, when the water started to rise and flooding plagued the city of Houston, Joel Osteen and his wife expressed their empathy via a tweet. Meanwhile, people were asking the megachurch preacher to please open up the church as a shelter and a place of refuge. It baffled everyone as to why Osteen didn’t open the church as a shelter when the flooding started.
On Sunday, Osteen stated that his church was “inaccessible” due to flooding and he encouraged people to try and find shelter elsewhere. Pictures of the flooded megachurch began to surface on social media sites. Unfortunately, Osteen forgot that thou shalt not lie in the age of social media. Citizens of Houston decided to check things out for themselves and while there they posted their findings on social media. The public found it strange how all of a sudden the megachurch was no longer under water. So of course this sent the social media world in a frenzy and people began to drag the popular preacher through the proverbial mud.
The Story Changes
After receiving tons of backlash and criticism, Joel Osteen finally told the people of Houston, “the doors of the church are open”. Monday night Osteen posted the following statement,
“We have never closed our doors … We will continue to be a distribution center to those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity.”
Opening the church did not stop the preacher from being put through the ringer, and on Tuesday Osteen made the following statement.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Wow, there’s that building. They’re not using it.’ But we don’t have volunteers,” We don’t have staff that could get here. We’re all about helping the city whenever we could ― if they would have asked us to become a shelter early on, we would have prepared for it.”
So there you have it folks. Osteen wasn’t trying to shun people, and he really wanted to help the people of his city sooner. If only Houston would have asked him in a timely manner, things would have been different.
Check out what else the preacher had to say in a “Today” show interview that aired Wednesday morning.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think Joel should have open his church sooner? Let me know in the comments.
By Ronda Brooks