Hurricane Harvey, one of the worst disasters in US history, has made thousands and thousands flee their Houston area homes for saftey.
Sunday, when refugees from the flooding had nowhere to go because city shelters were already way over capacity, Joel Osteen's megachurch issued this statement:
"Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe. Please see the list below for safe shelters around our city, and please share this with those in need!"
This FB statement didn't go over well because the church boasts a capacity for 16,000 people (it was a former NBA arena) and people were posting pics on social media showing the arena WAS accessible.
They said were flooded, so they couldn't take in refugees. But they said they could be a staging space for items to distribute to victims. So, which is it? Are you flooded or not? If you can take supplies, why can't you let humans in?
Were you flooded or not?
Snopes fact-checked it and found it a mixture of true and false. Huffington Post found the same. Lakewood sent photos of flooding that contradicted reports that it was accessible.
They are now taking refugees.
Repost @LakewoodChurch: Diane’s home was directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Although she is taking shelter at Lakewood, she decided she wanted to make something good of the situation. She signed up to volunteer. Diane is constantly encouraging others with her favorite Bible scripture, Psalms 91, even though her home was affected. When asked about her experience with Hurricane Harvey, she responded by saying, “We are Texans, we are Houston strong, but with God’s word, we are even stronger! And that’s why I’m here. I’m here because God is awesome.” If you would like to donate or volunteer click the link in our bio. #HoustonStrong #HoustonSpirit #LakewoodChurch
According to reports on Good Morning America, the church is now saying they didn't take in refugees originally because the city didn't ask them to.
But today (Wednesday) the narrative changed a bit. Joel Osteen told CNN's Chris Cuomo, "There was a time, Chris, that the place was flooded. There was a safety issue the first day or two. ... We would never put people in here until we know that it's safe, and it was not safe those days, let me tell you."
True or not, the good news is that people are now being sheltered.
Isn't taking in the destitute and caring for them one of a Christian's prime directives? Yup.