Celebrity pastor Joel Osteen is drawing intense criticism online for keeping his megachurch closed during Hurricane Harvey and instead offering social media promises of prayers.
The “prosperity gospel” minister preaches at a 16,800-seat arena at Lakewood Church near downtown Houston, which has suffered severe flooding after the hurricane made landfall and then parked over the city.
(UPDATE: Prosperity Gospel preacher Joel Osteen to open megachurch to Hurricane Harvey refugees after public shaming)
Osteen offered prayers in a Saturday afternoon tweet, but his critics asked for more.
You can find ways to help the survivors of Hurricane Harvey here.
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
Are you going to donate some of your millions of dollars? That would help more than prayer.
— I’m Corey Voss? (@HolaYoSoyFiesta) August 26, 2017
Put your money where your mouth is. Houston has been unfathomably good to you. Time to pay it back. Literally
— Amandaisarunner (@amandaisarunner) August 28, 2017
Hey Joel, don’t you have the biggest and richest church? Why don’t you open up the doors and the wallet in the name of Jesus for the people!
— Mozez713 (@Mozez713) August 28, 2017
The pastor and his wife live in a $10.5 million mansion in the River Oaks neighborhood, where residents and their dogs were rescued from the rising waters, although it’s not clear whether Osteen’s home suffered any damage.
A photo posted early Sunday morning showed heavy flooding about a block away from Lakewood Church, but Osteen’s critics urged him to open the doors to nearby flood victims.
Why isn’t Joel Osteen mega church in Houston Texas is not open to the public in need of shelter, food and protection?
— Mr. Weeks (@MrDane1982) August 27, 2017
@JoelOsteen Why aren’t you helping the people in Houston? I’m sure you received enough money from them to build that monstrosity of yours.
— Rose Justice (@RMBJustice) August 28, 2017
@JoelOsteen Dude, open up your church, and open up your home. Come on, man…..
— Jacob Detamore (@kipsbigboy) August 28, 2017
1. Now the people need shelter: anyone seen Joel Osteen and his Lakewood Church stepping up? He’s right in Houston
— jan dodge (@tenajd) August 28, 2017
“God’s got this, so you don’t need my massive church to provide shelter. Just keep praying and I’m sure you’ll be fine. I’ll be in the tub.”
— Winston Smith (@ghostofnero) August 28, 2017
— TRUMP 24/7 (@MichaelDelauzon) August 28, 2017
Don’t you have a massive church that could be used as a shelter?
— (((Byron Henry))) (@SonOfPug) August 28, 2017
@JoelOsteen if you were a real Christian, you’d be opening your doors to your displaced neighbors.
— FAB24 (@Francesabolton) August 28, 2017
Why haven’t you opened your massive church there in Houston to shelter #Harvey flood victims? a real Christian would do that
— Nancy G (@Nancylyn1) August 28, 2017
Come on man. The bible is very clear that we have to try to help each other. You have more than enough personal resources to help. Do it.
— Narcoleptic Flamingo (@ccuspis) August 28, 2017
@JoelOsteen why aren’t you opening ur doors? Houston needs you. Practice what you preach
— sylvia flores (@sylflo) August 28, 2017
How are you guys helping the storm victims in Texas right now?
— Ken Reid (@KennethWReid) August 28, 2017
Open your church as a shelter. Provide food and clothing. Please
— Rhonda Harbison (@rhonda_harbison) August 28, 2017
So you’re out of the state while your “flock” drowns. Jesus wept.
— Olivemama (@Olivemama5) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen has a HUGE church in Houston that would make a great shelter. pic.twitter.com/byqHxXrHQn
— Brasilmagic (@Brasilmagic) August 28, 2017
me: God doesn’t punish or reward people on earth based on their behavior
news: Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church might be flooded
— Jennifer C. Martin (@notreallyjcm) August 28, 2017