As Hurricane Harvey’s destruction has become even clearer and its floods continue to ravage towns across Texas, it has been absolutely heartbreaking to see what’s left in the disaster’s wake. That said, several different heroes have stepped up to the plate to help out and do their parts. Social media users have taken to doing their usual investigative reporting and found someone who they believe did NOT do their part: Joel Osteen, the pastor of a megachurch located in Houston, Texas.
Osteen’s Lakewood Church is incredibly large and many pointed out that the building’s doors were closed to victims and those in need during the hurricane’s most violent periods.
Here’s Osteen’s initial response to the controversy surrounding the church’s shutdown…
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 26, 2017
As sweet as the sentiment was, social media users pointed out that it wasn’t exactly an immediate help to the whole situation.
You and Victoria need to helping by opening your church and providing that money that gets donated to you for those in need .🙄
— Mika (@Mbabyyyy) August 28, 2017
Going to open your nice church for shelter for flood victims?
— Pat Fuller #stayhome #VoteBlue #KnowYourPower (@bannerite) August 28, 2017
Eventually, some other social media users pointed out that the church was damaged during the flooding and may have been unable (or even detrimental) to any housed victims.
That said, it all did inspire some hilarious memes and scathing critique from Twitter’s funniest users.
JJ Watt: $500K
Ellen + show: 75K
Joel Olsteen: a prayer
Trump: Good Luck https://t.co/90w3GVmjhx
— Alberto (@Ibealbertooooo) August 29, 2017
Dear Christians – @JoelOsteen didn't open his Church in Houston for Evacuees, but 21 Mosques did. How is that feeling?
— 🌊 Patriotic Moose&Lamb 🌊 (@GinoKusa) August 29, 2017
Twitter: Open your church for shelter, Joel!
Joel Osteen: pic.twitter.com/6oPqAlJ9O9
— The Bearded Educator (@LiteraryBeardo) August 29, 2017
Joel Osteen's 'Mega' Church closed it doors to flood victims. I would love to see him try to explain that one to God
— V͎O͎I͎Z͎E͎ ͎O͎F͎ ͎R͎E͎A͎Z͎O͎N͎ (@Voize_of_Reazon) August 29, 2017
Could you imagine we taxed churches like #JoelOsteen? We'd be able to feed all the hungry and shelter all the homeless in this country
— ♻️🇺🇸 Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) August 29, 2017
Joel Osteen won't open his church that holds 16,000 to hurricane victims because it only provides shelter from taxes. #HoustonStrong
— Alan Spencer (@MrAlanSpencer) August 28, 2017
— Dawn🌊 (@obxgirl75) August 29, 2017
Joel Osteen's megachurch is designed for the rising tithe, not tide.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 28, 2017
If there’s one thing we can count on life, it’s for Twitter to make something hilarious out of the most controversial or dire situations. Thanks for the laughs, y’all.
If you’d like to help out the victims of Hurricane Harvey (we’re looking at you, Joel), check out this helpful guide to relief efforts.