The Daily Mail has recently done a considerable job timelining the Lakewood/Harvey scandal. Considering Lakewood stated, “Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe,” evidence by witnesses suggested likewise: “The roads around it were in use, disproving the claim that it was inaccessible, and the parking lot had several vehicles in it.”
Nothing is wrong with Lakewood ‘church’ apologizing for not acting sooner. However, instead of an apology, Lakewood operated under damage control, spinning facts and playing victim to justify their inexcusable behavior. Although the ‘church’ claimed on Tuesday to have been flooded over the weekend, “the church released photographs which […] showed how it had been flooded inside but said the water had receded.”
However Lakewood’s handling of Harvey victims doesn’t wash. The glaring problem is this – those images issued by Lakewood do not prove that the church was inaccessible.
As a result of Lakewood spinning the facts, Joel Osteen “carried on tweeting and coldly blocked anyone who questioned him about why the church was not open for evacuees.”
Lakewood continued to insist “it was open, always had been and said it was welcoming evacuees.” If this was always the truth, why did Lakewood initially state “Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding?”
This behaviour is hardly surprising given that it’s an organisation that falsely operate under the guise of being a Christian church, an organisation teaching a false gospel while stealing people’s money in the process. Just like Joel Osteen exists to serve only Joel Osteen, Lakewood exists to serve only Lakewood. Fortunately, social pressure shamed Joel Osteen and Lakewood to actually act on the interests of others rather than themselves for once.
Read the article here to see the images, tweets and videos.
The Daily Mail reports,
How social media shamed Houston televangelist Joel Osteen in to opening his dry megachurch to Hurricane Harvey evacuees after he claimed it was inaccessible and flooded
- Joel Osteen claims Lakewood Church has always been open to the needy
- On Sunday, the church said it was ‘inaccessible’ due to floods and was unsafe
- On Monday, two Texans visited it and filmed its dry parking lot and exterior
- The church claimed on Tuesday to have been flooded over the weekend but said the water had receded
- It opened its doors to thousands of evacuees and is now giving them shelter
- Osteen said he did not automatically declare it a shelter because the city did not ask him to
- He now faces the wrath of a disappointed congregation and others around the world
Showing off a toothy grin and posing in front of stacks of donated food and diapers, televangelist Joel Osteen showed not a shred of remorse as he appeared on the Today show on Wednesday.
Proudly, he declared that the doors of his 17,000 seat Texas megachurch had ‘always been open’ to the people of Houston who have been rendered homeless by Hurricane Harvey and its devastating floods.
It came after shocked Texans arrived at his Lakewood church on Sunday to find it free of flood water on the ground level despite a Facebook post issued at the height of the city’s panic which claimed it was ‘inaccessible due to flooding’.
They shamed Osteen on social media, sharing photographs of the very dry land outside and questioned the Christianity of a man who had seemingly turned his back on the very congregation which built his $40million empire with their donations and undying faith.
The church then released questionable photographs which it said demonstrated how it had flooded over the weekend but said the waters had since receded.
Osteen, still shirking responsibility for the decision, then said that the church chose not to open up to the needy because the city had not officially asked him to. This despite other locations in Houston inviting in refugees out of charity and not an official request.
Eventually, it opened up and it is now acting as a ‘distribution center’, finally carrying out good and much needed work as the city reels in crisis.
But Osteen now faces the wrath of an angry Christian community – and the disgust of those beyond it – for his treatment of the disaster.
Here is a timeline of how he was shamed into welcoming evacuees, and how his followers reacted to the chain of events:
As Hurricane Harvey pounded Houston with rain and water levels rose at a frightening pace, Lakewood Church shared a post on Facebook telling members of its enormous congregation that it was inaccessible to them.
‘Dear Houstonians! Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe.
‘Please see the list below for safe shelters around our city, and please share this with those in need!’
The claim was called in to question by critics of the church which included one Twitter user who asked if anyone could confirm that it was flooded and inaccessible.
Footage emerged on social media showing the church and the land surrounding it to be very much dry.
The roads around it were in use, disproving the claim that it was inaccessible, and the parking lot had several vehicles in it.
There was no flood water surrounding the ground floor of the church.
Commentating as he walked around the expansive building, the unnamed man who filmed the video fumed: ‘Looks like you can f***ing open your church now Joel.
‘Why don’t you go ahead and do it? Because you know what’s happening across the freeway? ‘People are dying.’
The footage spread and placed immense pressure on the church to change its position.
He carried on tweeting and coldly blocked anyone who questioned him about why the church was not open for evacuees.
Facing growing pressure from furious members of its congregation, the church released photographs which it claimed showed how it had been flooded inside but said the water had receded.
They provided the images to CNN but gave no specific description of when they were taken.
The photographs appeared to show an underground parking lot and corridors – areas where evacuees were not likely to have ever been placed. They insisted they were of the church and that they had been taken since Harvey hit on Friday.
But the church insisted it was open, always had been and said it was welcoming evacuees.
They started arriving by the bus-load along with volunteers who packed in to lend a hand.
Donations of food, clothes and diapers poured in and the church laid out inflatable mattresses for the homeless.
Osteen seemed to suggest elsewhere that it had not been open until this point and admitted he did not welcome those affected because the city simply had not asked him to.
He was inundated with abuse from critics for his response.
Lakewood boasted about the good work it was doing on Facebook and shared a link to a news article telling people who criticized Joel to ‘get a reality check.’
Osteen appeared on the Today show and tried to simplify the scandal by describing it as a ‘false narrative’ peddled by critics of his church.
Throughout the day, he shared post after post on social media of people inside Lakewood getting help.
The church has also set up its own donation fund for anyone affected by the disaster and it continues to welcome evacuees.
Osteen has been slammed by other Christians for how he has handled the scandal.
Even in the lines of people waiting to get in to Lakewood on Tuesday, there were people who said they wished he’d opened up sooner.
Among them was a mother who spent three nights sleeping in her with her young daughter in a parking lot.
Volunteer Miles Chandler, who goes to the church most Sundays, told Buzz Feed: ‘I feel like they should have done this a little earlier.’
Source: By Jennifer Smith, How social media shamed Houston televangelist Joel Osteen in to opening his dry megachurch to Hurricane Harvey evacuees after he claimed it was inaccessible and flooded, Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4837472/How-Pastor-Joel-Osteen-shamed-Hurricane-Harvey.html, Published 31/08/2017. (Accessed 01/09/2017.)
Categories: Lakewood Church