Twitter Shamed This Millionaire Televangelist Into Opening His Megachurch as Shelter From Hurricane Harvey

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Pastor Joel Osteen runs the Lakewood megachurch in Houston, Texas. The church, being as mega as it is, used to be an indoor sports arena and is capable of holding nearly 17,000 people. Now, I know what you’re thinking! This is exactly what the people of Houston need right now, as they suffer the biggest flood ever to hit their city and thousands have been evacuated, with many more still waiting for help. What better combination than a man who has dedicated his life to doing the work laid forth by his god, and an obvious shelter for so many in need? Obviously, Osteen is going to do everything he can for the community that reportedly donates tens of millions of dollars a year (not to mention those $55 million Osteen’s own book sales). That would be the only Christian thing to do, right?

No, of course that’s not what Osteen did. He sent thoughts & prayers.

If you’re one of the 30,000 people expected to need shelter in Houston, though, don’t worry. Osteen may not be helping, but he promises “God’s got this.”

Unfortunately, that tweet didn’t do much to alleviate the need or suffering of his parishioners and other Texans. Nor did it lessen the anger they’re feeling toward Osteen, who cancelled church services and claimed he couldn’t open his doors because of flooding.

https://twitter.com/Bhadoosky/status/902467497382830080

He later said he would open the church after all other shelters were full.

https://twitter.com/AnastasiaElyseW/status/902347847139418112

Not surprisingly, this non-statement did little to win people over.

https://twitter.com/amyharvard_/status/902394584092868609

https://twitter.com/bkerogers/status/902247522357440512

https://twitter.com/alfredomorenx/status/902295928173940736

Apparently, all it took for Osteen to finally open Lakewood’s door to those in need was total commitment to the values he’s dedicated his life to preaching a day of public Twitter shaming.

If you’re looking for ways to be more helpful than Joel Osteen, here are some organizations that can use donations and other forms of aid.

(image: YouTube/Joel Osteen, Twitter)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.