Joel Osteen's church tweets that it's now open to those seeking shelter

Joel Osteen's church tweets that it's now open to those seeking shelter

Darren Sullivan
August 31, 2017

Rap superstar and activist T.I. went volcanic on megachurch pastor Joel Osteen, who dragged his feet about sheltering victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Pastor Joel Osteen said today that his Lakewood Church has been taking people in "from the very beginning" of Harvey as he pushed back against criticism that the church did not initially welcome evacuees. "You know, there are safety issues". The church shared video and photos of the many volunteers on Twitter along with the caption: "We can not thank enough the hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers who came out today!". "We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need", according to a statement from Lakewood Church. Osteen and his family are ok - "They are on pretty high ground" - but had been without power, Iloff said then.

On Monday, a post on the church's Facebook page had said it was a "collection site for distributing supplies to the Houston area shelters" and urged people to bring diapers and baby food.

"Unfortunately for Osteen, the King Of The South heard about the conflicting church messages and made a decision to drag the pastor from one end of the city to the other for being a" clown" and a "fraud".

Local residents quickly posted photos of the neighborhood around the church that showed passable streets.

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But officials acknowledge the grim reality that fatalities linked to Harvey could soar once the devastating floodwaters recede. Although Houston was not in the direct path of Harvey hitting it as a hurricane, it's experiencing record level rainfall.

He added that several hundred people can be housed on the second floor.

"Shame on you Joel, help out your fellow man, open the church to the needy", one critic tweeted. "OPEN THE DOORS", Pastor Greg Locke commented.

The church is set to be used as a donation center and was scheduled to open at noon on Tuesday.

Lakewood is a nondenominational church that hosts about 52,000 attendees weekly and is one of the largest congregations in America. So far, there have been 16 confirmed deaths as the result of the tropical cyclone.

"I don't pay much attention to it...life's too short to let that negative get in", Osteen responded before noting that he believes the criticism was orchestrated by people on social media who oppose evangelical Christians.