Joel Osteen Denies Accusations He Closed His Mega Church During Hurricane Harvey

National

Pastor Joel Osteen merited the ire of the Internet Monday (Aug. 28) when it was speculated his Houston mega church which seats a little over 16,000 closed its doors to the public during Hurricane Harvey.

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The 54-year-old pastor who inherited Lakewood Church from his father who founded it in the 1950s, took to social media to respond to the backslash. Osteen said the doors to his church were never closed, but in fact experienced flooding of its own during the tropical storm.

“We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need,” Donald Illoff, Osteen’s father-in-law Lakewood’s spokesman said.”We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.”

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US Coast Guard Lt. Mike Hart said the coast guard is receiving up to 1,000 calls per hour from people needing to be rescued.  “Today alone, the Coast Guard has rescued over 3,000 people. That includes both air rescues and rescues using boats.”

As it stands now, about 8,000 people are reported to be in Houston, with about 5,000 expected to be housed in the Houston convention center. There have been four confirmed deaths due to the tropical storm