News & Opinion | August 29, 2017 11:16 am

Houston Megachurch Criticized for Not Opening Doors During Harvey

Televangelist Joel Osteen cancels services and offers prayers on Twitter.

Televangelist Joel Osteen canceled services at his Houston megachurch in the midst of flooding from Harvey, which hit the city hard this weekend.

He has yet to open the church’s doors, reports New York Post, though thousands of people in Houston are currently seeking safe shelter from the storm and its effects.

Instead, the pastor told followers on THouston Megachurch Criticized for Not Opening Doors During Harveywitter to lean into their faith.

This sentiment did not sit well with many people who think the 16,800-seat arena at his Lakewood Church near downtown could be used to help people in need.

Entertainment publicist Danny Deraney criticized the pastor by saying: “You have taken so much money away from your people to live like a king. It’s the least you could do.”

The church and its arena have not yet suffered any flood damage yet, writes the Post. But ministry spokesman Donald Iloff said their property is “inaccessible because of surrounding waters.”

Iloff also said it makes no sense to open church doors when the city and county are treating flood victims at nearby George R. Brown Convention Center, according to the Post.

“It has everything inside there — medicine, doctors, places to sleep,” Iloff said of the convention center, writes the Post.