Osteen: Social media created 'false narrative' on closing megachurch to flood victims
31 August, 2017, 01:22 | Author: Warren Cooper
The biggest church in Texas closed its doors, however, mosques stayed open to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, which has caused catastrophic flooding and forced thousands of residents to leave their home.
The 16,800-seat church is also "raising money for people here in Houston" - but Osteen bumbled when asked which charity the money would be given to.
Lakewood opened to the public Tuesday had has since taken in "hundreds" of Harvey evacuees and donations, the pastor said.
At first, people believed that the church itself was flooded. Photos posted on social media later suggested the church had not been damaged. Osteen's church released a statementannouncing that it would be serving as a shelter and distribution center now that the original flooding of the building has been contained. There seemed to be a lot of confusion about why Osteen's Lakewood Church didn't open its doors to the people of Houston straight away. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm", Osteen said.
"We're all about helping people".
According to Osteen's version of events, the building was inaccessible during the beginning of Hurricane Harvey, and his staffers were unable to make it to the complex.
But Houstonians were not buying it and posted photos of the neighborhood around the church showing wet but passable streets.
Osteen became the subject of social media criticism on Monday, after reports indicated that the church was not taking in those displaced by the flood.
In response, Osteen insisted in a statement Monday evening that he and his church are "prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity". He said the firestorm may have "helped us to step up some things" to prepare for evacuees.
Lakewood Church in Houston had escaped the majority of the storm but had no intention of opening its doors before the online shaming began.
Last year, Church Growth Today identified Osteen's Lakewood Church as being the largest church in the United States. There have been four confirmed deaths due to the tropical storm.
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