As Hurricane Harvey struck the city with 130mph winds, many offered shelter to residents desperately seeking a safe space to stay.
Meanwhile, Joel Osteen was busy tweeting comforting words to his followers rather than opening the doors to his 16,800-seat arena at Lakewood Church in Houston.
He wrote on Monday: ‘Jesus promises us peace that passes understanding. That’s peace when it doesn’t make sense.’
Twitter users generally weren’t pleased to find out Osteen was tweeting from the comfort of his home instead of helping the displaced victims of Hurricane Harvey. Many called Osteen out for being “non-Christian” and riding out the storm in the comfort of his luxury estate.
Emily Timbol a Florida based writer who responded to Osteen’s twitter post said “It doesn’t make sense why you’re not opening up your mega church to house Houston citizens, help me understand that. Jesus.”
Entertainment publicist Danny Deraney blasted Osteen on twitter stating “You have taken so much money away from your people to live like a king,” “It’s the least you could do.”
While the church and its arena have not suffered any flood damage, ministry spokesman Donald Iloff said their property is inaccessible because of surrounding waters.
“Dear Houstonians! Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding!”
But Houstonians were not buying it and posted photos of the neighborhood around the church showing wet but passable streets.
“Shame on Joel Osteen,” tweeted @RuneK_15 “Jesus would open the doors and care for the needy.”
Houston blogger Lynne Gabriel, @heyitslynneg, tweeted photos of the church’s flooded interior and wrote, “Seriously quite sickening when people spread negative news without knowing the situation.”
The mega church issued a statement regarding its response to Hurricane Harvey after being roundly accused on social media of refusing to open its doors to evacuees
“We have never closed our doors,” Senior Pastor Joel Osteen said in a statement quoted by ABC and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“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.”