Joel Osteen’s brother did a bit of damage control on Tuesday, explaining why Lakewood Church didn’t open its doors to help the people in Houston, Texas, over the weekend.
“If you were here in Houston, you know that it was impassible — many of the roads were impassible,” Associate Pastor Paul Osteen told Fox Houston on Tuesday. “My daughter was trapped up in an overpass just out in front of the church on Saturday night, so the feeders were flooded, it was dangerous. And, you know, the mayor told us ‘stay in. Don’t get evacuated.’ It was just not the right thing to do, to open our church up at that time,” he added.
“Monday morning, when the flood waters go down, and the mayor says [convention center] George R. Brown’s full, you know, we were glad to help,” Paul said. As of Tuesday afternoon, the church doors were open and people were heading there for shelter.
Paul’s comments came about 24 hours after Lakewood Church announced it would serve as a shelter for the public. Thousands of people have been tweeting negative comments about the Osteens and their church, saying that more should have been done in the city’s time of need.
Although Hurricane Harvey — which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm — has been in the area for days, Lakewood Church just opened up to the public today.
Despite some confusion, TMZ claims that Lakewood Church was indeed flooded over the weekend and that’s why they couldn’t open. The gossip site posted some photos of the flooding that they say were sent to them by the church. However, there has been a lot of questions surrounding these photos and their authenticity. Other photos of the areas around the church aren’t flooded at all.
About an hour ago, TMZ posted another article about the flood confusion, saying that the church didn’t get flooded, echoing Paul Osteen’s words — getting to the church was nearly impossible because of the weather, and that’s why they closed over the weekend.