Anyone who has survived a hurricane knows that 'thoughts and prayers' are the absolute worst solutions to such a devastating mess. In times of natural disasters, we need all hands on-deck, or at the very least, financial assistance. That's why rapper, T.I., became enraged when mega-rich pastor, Joel Osteen, didn't really ask himself 'what would Jesus do?' in the midst of Hurricane Harvey. It seemed that the doors to his church weren't going to open for hurricane survivors who needed shelter.
House Of God Not Open For Business
High-profile pastor, Joel Osteen, has come under fire by none other than rapper, T.I., for failing to open the doors of his church to shelter survivors of Hurricane Harvey. A shock to those who expected more from Osteen, his slow movements were regarded with suspicion, as he continued to drag his feet on the whole shelter issue.
At Least He's Praying
Of course, Osteen had no trouble updating social media with details of his praying, despite it being a completely useless gesture when people really needed shelter instead. "Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family," he Tweeted. We're not sure people were pleased with the prayers.
Osteen Is Responsible For A Mega Church
The main beef with Osteen was that he holds the keys to Lakewood Church in Houston - not a regular church, but a mega church with a maximum capacity of 16,000 people. Why wasn't he opening the doors immediately for all of the hurricane survivors with nowhere to go? Seems like the exact thing a pastor should be doing.
Even Other Pastors Were Puzzled
As more time passed, other pastors looked to Osteen, confused as to why the doors to Lakewood remained closed. A statement from Lakewood announced that services would be cancelled for safety reasons, which was not shocking. But what was shocking was that there was no plan in place to help with the hurricane relief.
Osteen Gets Called Out On Twitter
Suspicious about the "safety reasons" cited by the church, citizens of the internet were on a mission to prove that all was fine down at Lakewood. People braved the storm in order to take photos of the church, proving that it was in fact accessible. The underground carpark had indeed flooded, but the actual church was totally fine!
His Defense Was A Little Weak
Osteen finally responded to all of the online pressure in the form of a statement to ABC News. "We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center to those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm," he announced.
Too Little Too Late
After caving to the pressure, there was no amount of work Lakewood could then do to save face. Photos were posted of the church taking in people "once shelters reached capacity" but the damage was already done. Osteen dragged his feet for too long on this one - as a wealthy pastor with resources, people simply expected more in a time of such need.
T.I. Lets Loose
T.I. didn't mince his words, straight-up calling Osteen a fraud and laying out all the reasons why mega churches aren't to be trusted. He blasted the pastor on Instagram: "Ministers, preachers, pastors and reverends are all supposed to be servant sent here to do the lord's work, not just sitting back in comfort watching as Satan has his way. F**k out of here," he wrote.
He Didn't Stop There
If you thought it was over, you're very much mistaken. "We cannot afford to continue to just go and give our money away to people who pose as "preachers" or their big lavish mega churches without holding them accountable when we need," T.I. continued. He went on to slam Osteen and other mega churches for taking huge donations, never paying tax, and not helping in times of need.
People Were Totally With T.I.
The rapper, who donated $25,000 of his own money for hurricane relief, had the whole internet on his side as he continued to blast Osteen for twiddling his thumbs during a disaster. Actor, D.L. Hughley also chimed in, "#JoelOsteen decides to open his church as shelter for Houston Flood victims! Hmmm! God didn't change his heart twitter did!"
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