Hilltop Views

Ironically, pastor of megachurch does not share humanitarian values of ordinary Texans


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On Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey, the nation’s most intense tropical storm since Hurricane Katrina, hit the Texas gulf coast. Places like Houston, Beaumont and several other small cities between Texas and Louisiana suffered catastrophic flooding. From a historical standpoint, Harvey’s rainfall total would be the heaviest from any tropical cyclone the U.S. has ever had to face.

Despite this, no amount of water could ever break the spirit of Texas communities.

Whether it’s the mattress king of Houston, dubbed “Mattress Mack,” opening up two of his Gallery Furniture locations in order for victims to find shelter, or defensive end for the Houston Texans, J.J Watt, raising more than $27 million for hurricane victims, Texans will always find a way to help other Texans.

This Texas-on-Texas love spanned the test of all socioeconomic platforms and was just enough to make a person feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy inside, to the point where we almost forgot the elephant in the room.

The towering “megachurch” complex known as Lakewood Church remained closed for the first couple of days during the horrendous flooding in Houston. Lakewood is a former basketball arena turned 16,000 seat megachurch and otherwise known as the official parish of pastor Joel Osteen.

Social media warriors worked tirelessly to contradict Lakewood’s sketchy excuses for not opening their doors at the first sign of trouble. When Lakewood said their church was inaccessible due to flooding around the area, Twitter users took photos of the complex to reveal that they were, in fact, high and dry. When Osteen and fellow church members said that they were “taking people in since the first day of flooding,” Twitter users claimed that they were turned away by Lakewood, explaining that the church said they were more of a “distribution center,” rather than a shelter.

Joel Osteen is a man that has inspired millions… and in turn makes millions. He represents the Christian one percent, being the fifth richest pastor in America with a net worth of 40 million dollars. The Houston-based televangelist has built up his wealth by preaching a religious teaching known as “prosperity gospel.” Prosperity gospel (basically) means that everyone can be prosperous when giving your faith to Jesus Christ and “accepting the lord as your one true savior.” Osteen has written seven New York Times best-sellers based around this concept of theology. With this money he has bought a $10.5 million mansion, fancy yachts and an impressive collection of well tailored suits.

Whichever way you look at it, Osteen missed his opportunity to show the Christian values he preaches on television to the people of Houston (and the rest of the country for that matter). When Lakewood Church, the third largest church in the U.S., says they can’t hold a small group of flood evacuees due to hazy excuses of a flooded basement and the city of Houston “not asking them” to open up their doors… something has got to seem a little wrong there.

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Ironically, pastor of megachurch does not share humanitarian values of ordinary Texans