Celebrity pastor Joel Osteen is drawing intense criticism online for keeping his megachurch closed during Hurricane Harvey and instead offering social media promises of prayers.
The “prosperity gospel” minister preaches at a 16,800-seat arena at Lakewood Church near downtown Houston, which has suffered severe flooding after the hurricane made landfall and then parked over the city.
Osteen offered prayers in a Saturday afternoon tweet, but his critics asked for more.
You can find ways to help the survivors of Hurricane Harvey here.
Osteen’s church canceled services Sunday, saying the building was inaccessible due to flooding, and directed worshipers to a variety of relief services.
The pastor and his wife live in a $10.5 million mansion in the River Oaks neighborhood, where residents and their dogs were rescued from the rising waters, although it’s not clear whether Osteen’s home suffered any damage.
A photo posted early Sunday morning showed heavy flooding about a block away from Lakewood Church, but Osteen’s critics urged him to open the doors to nearby flood victims.