Joel Osteen's Megachurch Is Now Open to Hurricane Harvey Victims

As Hurricane Harvey slammed the streets of Houston, Texas, Osteen was criticized for not opening the doors to his stadium-size church.

Let me say this again so that people in the back can hear it: If you live blocks away from the church and your home has been flooded, you cannot stay at the church. Osteen's church released a statement announcing that it would be serving as a shelter and distribution center now that the original flooding of the building has been contained.

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An announcement on Facebook said Pastor Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church had shut due to the storm and asked people to pray for those affected. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens to rebuild our lives". The church shared video and photos of the many volunteers on Twitter along with the caption: "We can not thank enough the hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers who came out today!".

If the above photo was of Osteen's church, there's likely no way he would have been able to accept people.

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"Social media is powerful these much of it is just people who don't like me or people of faith", he said, but admitting "If you're not in this situation, it's easy to make judgements".

But many online questioned that assertion, pointing to pictures taken after Harvey made landfall that showed puddles and no signs of severe flooding - especially compared to other areas of Houston devastated by the storm.

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By Tuesday morning, the Lakewood Church was finally open to those seeking refuge. Several hundred people may be housed on its second floor if necessary, they added. "OPEN THE DOORS", Pastor Greg Locke commented. As soon as the highways aren't flooded please know Lakewood Church will do all they can alleviate the pain and suffering of as many people as possible.

About 50 people were reportedly admitted to Lakewood Church for shelter Tuesday afternoon, according to the Chronicle. So far, there have been 16 confirmed deaths as the result of the tropical cyclone.

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