Televangelist Joel Osteen canceled services at his Houston megachurch Sunday and has yet to reopen its doors — despite the fact that thousands of flooded-out residents are desperately seeking shelter.
The perpetually smiling pastor told followers on Twitter on Monday to lean on their faith.
“Jesus promises us peace that passes understanding,” he wrote. “That’s peace when it doesn’t make sense.”
— Sean Salisbury (@SeanUnfiltered) August 28, 2017
But Osteen’s comforting words didn’t sit well with critics, who want to know why the doors to his 16,800-seat arena at his Lakewood Church near downtown Houston are closed.
“You have taken so much money away from your people to live like a king,” entertainment publicist Danny Deraney blasted. “It’s the least you could do.”
Washington, DC-based writer Charles Clymer tweeted pictures of Lakewood Church, which did not appear to be damaged by floods.
“It doesn’t make sense why you’re not opening up your mega church to house Houston citizens, help me understand that. Jesus,” according to Florida-based writer Emily Timbol.
While the church and its arena have not suffered any flood damage yet, ministry spokesman Donald Iloff said their property is inaccessible because of surrounding waters.
And it makes no sense to open church doors when the city and county are already treating thousands of flood victims at the nearby George R. Brown Convention Center, according to Iloff.
“It has everything inside there — medicine, doctors, places to sleep,” Iloff said of the convention center. “It’s amazing what they’re doing there to make people comfortable.”