VIDEO Why did Joel Osteen keep his church closed to Harvey flooding victims?

Why did Joel Osteen keep his church closed 1

Houstonian and living embodinemt of smarm Joel Osteen has been getting raked over the coals for the past 48 hours, ever since it became clear that he’d done nothing to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey despite owning a basketball arena-sized megachurch and being in charge of a 60,000-strong flock. Osteen, who is a pastor the way Mr. Burns is a scientist, kept Lakewood Church’s doors closed even as many other places of worship–including nearly two-dozen mosques–flung theirs open and began organizing food and other supplies.

And why did Joel Osteen keep his church closed? The ostensible reason was flooding, but Twitter sleuths quickly disproved that story:

So this morning, in an effort at damage control, Osteen went on The Today Show to share the good news that Lakewood is now open and welcoming those displaced by Harvey and its record-breaking rainfall.

“Our church doors have always been open,” Osteen said, overlooking the fact that two days ago all he offered Houston was prayer. He also noted that the city’s main shelter, just four miles down the road, had room for “thousands”–coincidentally, very much like his Lakewood Church’s Central Campus, which used to be the home of the Houston Rockets and seats 16,000 in its current configuration.

But the main reason that Osteen kept Lakewood’s doors closed was simply because city officials, grappling with the logistical difficulties of getting approximately two million people out from under water, “didn’t need us right then.”

Osteen continued:

If we needed to be a shelter, we would have certainly been a shelter right when they first asked. But once they filled up–never dreamed that we’d have this many displaced people–they asked us to become a shelter. And we said, ‘Hey, we’d love to be a shelter. That’s what Lakewood is all about.’ But I think this notion that somehow we would turn people away or that we weren’t here for the city is about as false as can be.

It’s like the Bible teaches us: “Wait for secular officials to ask you for help specifically before lifting a finger for the needy.” Or, as a different wise man put it:

If you have the stomach for it, here’s Osteen’s unrepentant interview in full:

(Photo credits: Why did Joel Osteen keep his church closed via The Today Show; h/t to Jezebel)

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