Joel Osteen criticised for keeping his 16,800 church arena shut against hurricane Harvey victims

Senor pastor of Lakewood church Houston, Joel Osteen has been criticised for keeping his 16,800 seat indoor arena shut in the face of the devastating effect of hurricane Harvey.

Osteen who had earlier tweeted prayer  for those affected with the storm has been slammed by hundreds of social media users saying he owes the city more than his prayers. A tweet says “Osteen has a HUGE church in Houston that would make a great shelter.”

With hurricane Harvey landfall Friday evening dumping 30 inches of rain in parts of Southeast Texas with thousands displace, many more still awaiting rescue as of Monday morning.

Churches, schools and community centres turned to temporary shelter. While other churches organised volunteer teams to help with relief effort.

Pastor Osteen had announce on Facebook that it was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.”

Osteen and wife live in a $10.5m upscale River oaks neighborhood in central Houston. The neighborhood was hit with intense flooding over the weekend, with rescue teams coming to evacuate residents and their dog. The preacher did not say whether his home was impacted.

Lakewood church has previously helped with relief efforts. In 2016 it hosted a benefit concert after heavy flooding. In 2001 the church sheltered around 5000 Texans displaced by tropical storm.

Some of the tweets:

 






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