Hurricane Harvey decimated the Houston area and took with it approximately 30,000 to 40,000 homes. With the death toll reaching over 30 and many families displaced, many charities and celebrities (such as Kevin Hart) are calling for aid and donations to the area.
Televangelist, Joel Osteen, said that he would open his megachurch to those that were displaced. The 16,800 seat arena would serve as a home for those families who are displaced and also as a shelter for the homeless.
The previous home of the Houston Rockets, however, seems to be closed and dry despite Joel’s recent comments.
Osteen has since faced mounting criticism from the general public since videos and images have surfaced of the Lakewood Church’s door closed and locked.
The church’s spokesman and also Osteen’s father in law said: ‘we have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity.’
Osteen is said to televise his sermons to over seven million viewers on a weekly basis and his net worth is estimated at over 50 million dollars.
He has since canceled services at his church and has told his followers to instead rely on their faith.
Lakewood Church then went on social media to say that the venue was ‘inaccessible due to severe flooding.’ However, pictures and videos on social media seem to point to a different situation.
Washington DC writer, Charles Clymer, tweeted pictures of the church which seemed to show it dry and safe.
Osteen has since blocked Charles and others and has disabled comments on his social media. He has also refused to respond to any media requests or questions.
Live video from Houston residents has shown that Lakewood Church is in fact not flooded. The pictures that Lakewood Church posts are of the flooded parking lot, however, video evidence reveals that the inside of the gigantic church along with its multiple tiers are dry and accessible.