Although the Bible may say that “God loveth a cheerful giver,” providing to Hurricane Harvey’s victims is proving difficult for millionaire pastor Joel Osteen. After initially refusing to open his church’s doors to flood victims, he then asked them to give him money, and people are furious.
In a September 3rd service at Osteen’s Lakewood church, his sister Lisa Osteen Comes called on victims of Hurricane Harvey to stand up. She acknowledged their needs in the face of natural disaster, and asked people to pray that “God is going to bless them with unprecedented favor in the next coming days.”As her touching speech concluded, people with collection baskets passed through the audience, asking for donations.
All of this can be seen in Lakewood Church’s official broadcast of the service, which was originally available on their website. But, after public outcry about the donations, the church took their video down, though it survives on Youtube.
Osteen came under fire last week for not opening the doors of his Texan megachurch as a shelter for the tens of thousands of displaced victims.
After a public outcry, Osteen opened the church up to survivors. Although some claimed that the church was flooded, later pictures taken of it revealed that the flooding was very minimal.
In an interview with “The Today Show,” Osteen defended his decision by discussing safety concerns, and said that it wasn’t opened initially because “the city didn’t ask us to become a shelter.”
However, Houston was dotted with impromptu shelters, including a mattress store and a mosque.
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