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The Shady Side Of Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen has endured plenty of criticism
throughout his career. The toothy preacher has come under fire for
everything from his physical appearance to his spiritual beliefs to his lack of theological
training. However, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,
the Houston, Texas-based pastor attracted a lot heat for allegedly not doing enough
to help. Here’s a look at the shady side of Joel Osteen. Hurricane Harvey In August 2017, Osteen faced enormous criticism
for not opening his Lakewood Church, which can house 16,800 people, to serve as a shelter
after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas and left many homeless. Osteen’s reps posted on Facebook on Monday,
August 28, 2017, that the church was “inaccessible due to flooding,” and directed people in need
to other shelters in the area. but TMZ responded with allegations that the
church was actually “bone dry.” That led to an outcry against Osteen, with
many taking to social media to bash the pastor for his actions. According to CNN, by Wednesday, August 30,
the church was open to refugees, but skeptics charged even that was just a public relations
move to ward off further criticism. Osteen, of course, refuted that. “we were waiting for the right time really
Lakewood is always open we just didn’t necessarily have staff here to help the night that it
flooded here.” Pass the collection plate In January 2015, New York attorney Richard
Garbarini told the National Enquirer that despite listing Lakewood Church as a non-profit, “[Osteen is] leveraging the church as a money-making
vehicle! The church pays [to air] his sermons, which
are just de facto infomercials to promote his books. The Lakewood Church is a shell to funnel people
to his website so he can sell his books.” Daniel Borochoff, head of Charity Watch, concurred,
telling the tabloid, “A non-profit needs to be acting in the public
interest and not in the private personal business interests of Joel Osteen. The church should benefit from the royalties
of these books when they are shouldering at least some of the cost of promoting them. If it isn’t getting something back, it oughta
be. It’s too much a promotional vehicle for him.” Osteen and Lakewood Church denied the allegations,
telling the Enquirer that Garbarini’s claims were “false and baseless,” adding, For more than 50 years Lakewood Church has
adhered to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.” Can’t we all just get along? Though leaders of other mega-churches condemned
white supremacists and racist attitudes after an August 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville,
Virginia left one woman dead and several others injured, Osteen kept noticeably mum. His only commentary on the incident, and on
the topic as a whole, was a vague Facebook post that read “One of the biggest challenges we all face
is getting along with people because everyone is different. We have different personalities, different
temperaments. We come from different backgrounds. When somebody doesn’t agree with us or not
doing what we like, it’s easy to get in conflict with them, to argue, to try to straighten
them out, to prove our point. No, you have to be the bigger person. Just because they’re doing wrong doesn’t mean
you have to engage.” Christian commentators took him to task, calling
his injunction not to confront evil “passive.” Courting controversy In 2005, Osteen got himself in trouble with
the faithful during an interview with Larry King where he seemed to imply atheists and
people of other faiths might end up in Heaven despite their beliefs. He said, “I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and
from the Christian faith this is what I believe… I’m going to let God be the judge of who goes
to Heaven and Hell… I believe it’s a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I’m not going to go around telling everybody
else if they don’t want to believe that that’s going to be their choice…” Osteen later issued a public apology to his
flock, writing a letter that read in part, “It was never my desire or intention to leave
any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve… I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only
way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity
to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that
having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven. It’s about the individual’s choice to follow
Him.” Osteen got himself embroiled in another controversy
in 2011, though, when he told Piers Morgan that while he believes homosexuality is wrong,
it’s not really that big of a deal. “I’ve always believed Pierce the scripture
shows that it’s a sin. But you know, I’m not one of those out there
to bash homosexuals and tell them they’re terrible people and all that.” When pressed during a later CNN interview
to clarify his stance, he doubled down on controversy, saying being straight is not
a choice, but being gay is still a sin. “seems like sometimes in Christianity we categorize
sin. Pride is a sin being critical is a sin, being
negative is a sin…” “So Homosexuality isn’t so bad.” “Well, I don’t think it’s God’s best.” Osteen’s careful attempts at not offending
anyone, however, only drew more criticism from all sides. Live and learn. Trouble in paradise In March 2017, Radar Online reported that
Osteen and Lakewood Church were being sued by a family accusing a church staff member
of body slamming their baby girl. Court documents obtained by the site claim
that in May 2014, “A representative of the church grabbed a
child safety seat housing Victoria Wedderburn, a minor, and threw the seat off the church
pew… [Victoria] landed face first on the floor,
while still strapped to the safety seat…[causing] serious bodily injury and extensive mental
and emotional damage.” Osteen’s attorneys claimed the “incident [that]
made the basis of this suit was caused by the actions of third parties over whom the
[Osteens] had no control.” Osteen also claimed the church and its employees
he had no liability for the incident, based on the “Charitable Immunity Act.” The church reportedly settled with the Wedderburn
family for $15,000, despite asserting it had no wrongdoing and that the claims were entirely
made up. The mark of the beast Finally, it’s not easy being righteous. Osteen found that out the hard way when he
was accused by the faithful of collaborating with the devil. The supposed blasphemy occurred when Osteen
attended his son’s graduation from the University of Texas. Osteen and his son posed for a photo flashing
the school’s famous “Hook ‘Em Horns” sign, which references the university’s longhorn
mascot. Some Christians, however, thought Osteen was
pledging his allegiance to Satan by using a “devil sign,” with the “demonic signal”
revealing Osteen’s true colors. You know what they say: tweet ’em all, and
let God sort ’em out. Thanks for watching! Click the Nicki Swift icon to subscribe to
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