Joel Osteen Responds To Hurricane Backlash
Pastor Joel Osteen said today (August 3) that his Lakewood Church has been taking people in “from the very beginning” of the Hurricane Harvey, addressing criticism that the mega church did not initially welcome evacuees. He stated,
We were here for people. We were a shelter. We were taking people as soon as the floodwaters receded.
Osteen also called it “totally not true” that the church did not open early enough for the residents of Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city that has been devastated by Harvey.
I think somebody created that narrative that somehow we were high and dry and none of that is true. This building — it was a safety issue and we took people in from the very beginning.
Osteen said church officials initially feared the building would flood and did not want to put staff members and volunteers in danger. When asked if he would do anything differently, Osteen replied,
We would probably do some things differently, obviously. It was a big flood and it affected all of the people that run this facility as well. But, you know what, we’ve been here 60 years helping people and we’re going to be here long after all this dies down helping these people as well.