After being bashed for allegedly closing his church doors to evacuees during Hurricane Harvey’s massive destruction of Houston, celebrity pastor Joel Osteen has finally come forward to explain his side of the story.
“It’s totally not true,” Osteen told GMA of the allegations made against him and his church. “We were here for people, we were a shelter, we were taking people as soon as the floodwaters receded.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, social media users criticized the minister after Lakewood published a statement via Facebook saying that the 6,000 square foot mega-church was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.”
People are now taking shelter in the space, and the church has started accepting donations. After the backlash, hundreds of volunteers have come forward to help.
“The city has a shelter four miles from here,” said Osteen, “we work with the city all the time and when their shelter was totally full they started bringing people over here and here we are again today doing it like we did in 2001 when we housed 3,000 people.”
“I think someone created that narrative that somehow we were high and dry and none of that is true,” added Osteen. “It was a safety issue and we took people in from the very beginning.” He added then when the flooding occurred, the last thing they wanted to do was leave people inside the space.
Osteen also claimed his niece was actually stranded right across the street from the church during the fist two days of the hurricane, adding that it was a huge tragedy for everyone in Houston and they reached out to house the public as soon as they could.
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“We’ve been here 60 years helping people and we’re gonna be here long after this dies down helping people as well,” he said.
Speaking of how the church will help moving forward after the natural disaster, the pastor said: “We’ll get them out of the shelters over time when we can but they need help rebuilding their lives.” He claimed that many ministers and organizations have reached out to him wanting to help. We’re in it for “the long-hall,” he said, “that’s the key.”
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