Celebrity televangelist and multi-millionaire Joel Osteen came under fire this week for keeping the doors to his Houston megachurch closed due to flooding, when simple photographic evidence from the scene contradicted said flooding. To make matters worse, Osteen’s Lakewood Church seats nearly 17,000 people and could have provided enormous relief to Houston residents displaced by actual flooding. Many pointed out that keeping the doors closed to an actual church while there were people in need was the opposite of the “christian” thing to do.
Now Osteen is denying those accusations, claiming that he “never” kept the Lakewood Church closed to refugees, despite the fact that on Sunday the church itself posted on Facebook that it was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.”
In a statement late Monday, Osteen that he and his church were “prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity.”
We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.
Both Osteen and the church likewise posted Twitter updates on Tuesday, assuring residents that Lakewood was open and receiving anyone needing shelter.
The Lakewood Church also sent photos to ABC News of what is supposedly evidence of initial flooding in and around its complex, which was previously home to the Houston Rockets. The photos are a sharp contrast to photos like the one below, which previously went viral in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
(Via NBC News)