Texas’ biggest church faces criticism from the public for shutting doors during Hurricane Harvey
Pastor Joel Osteen has been severely criticized by the public for not offering his 16,000-seater arena as safety lodge for victims of the Hurricane while dozens of smaller churches and mosques have done so. According to the UK Independent, the megachurch in Houston closed its doors in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which has caused catastrophic flooding and forced thousands to leave their homes.
According to a feed on Facebook, as against the allegation, it was stated that Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church had shut due to the storm and asked people to pray for those affected. “Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe,” the feed established.
However, there are skeptical response against the Facebook post, questioning why one of the largest churches in the US – including a 16,000-seat arena – was not able to take in victims of Harvey.
Emily Timbol, an author who has written critically about homophobic views among conservative Christians, tweeted: “It doesn’t make sense why you’re not opening up your mega church to house Houston citizens, help me understand that. Jesus.”
Others criticized televangelist Mr Osteen for not opening up his $10 million home in the upscale area of River Oaks to those desperately seeking shelter.
“Shame on Joel Osteen,” one person tweeted. “Jesus would open the doors and care for the needy.”
Mr Osteen however responded to the criticism in a statement quoted by ABC and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“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. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm.”
Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola