Public Shaming Works: Joel Osteen Opens Doors to Harvey Refugees

Disgustingly wealthy professional snake oil salesman Joel Osteen has faced over 48 hours of backlash after posting the following Facebook message on Saturday regarding victims of Hurricane Harvey:


So what’s the problem? Well, Osteen owns a megachurch in Houston that is not flooded, and he’s even canceled services due to the storm. So that means his ministry is in possession of a dry 16,800-seat arena that could be used as a refugee shelter to assist residents fleeing floodwaters.  Anyone remotely familiar with the tenets of Christianity should know that providing shelter to those in need is pretty high on the list of things that used to be important to Christian leaders… until they discovered television and got rich.

After facing two days of online shaming, it’s been reported that Osteen has purchased air mattresses and is preparing Lakewood Church to open its doors to those seeking shelter.  Congratulations, Joel.  You needed the internet to tell you how to be a Christian again.


Anyone who thinks Osteen is doing this out of the kindness of his heart and not to try to save his public image is fooling themselves.  Then again, anyone who buys into what Osteen is selling is a fool to begin with.

Here are some of my favorite tweets about this debacle. Enjoy!


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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15 thoughts on “Public Shaming Works: Joel Osteen Opens Doors to Harvey Refugees

  1. Pics of matresses, Ok, where are the pics of the stacks of bibles/tracts/sermon tapes/christian music/ that have undoubtedly been stockpiled to ‘help’ these needy souls? That’s far more important than attending to their physical needs. Put your money where your mouth is, Osteen, give a few months’ salary to the dispossessed. That amount could probably re-house dozens. Maybe you’d even gain a smidgeon of credibility for your religion if you did…and remember, it’s not all about YOU.

  2. Kevin and Patheos, please. Raise the standard. The dripping venom of your sarcasm and superiority do not serve your message. The truth is (according to me, the Self-Appointed Mother of Decency in Language for the entire Internet), the truth is that writers have to sacrifice. In this case, you can be self-righteous and gloat over what you perceive to be egregious contradictions of Osteen and his church, or you can rejoice that they’ve opened the doors.

    1. Or I can say exactly what I did say, that Osteen was ridiculed for 3 days and finally opened the doors to his shelter. Except that he still hasn’t. He’s only so far said he will. If the other shelters get full. And he’s now asking people to donate supplies… you know, because he can’t afford it. Please. Take your sanctimony elsewhere.

    2. You present a false dichotomy. There is no reason why this Christian con artist can’t be criticized for withholding aid when he has ample resources, and commended for finally offering aid (albeit for highly questionable motives).

    3. Hypocrisy is the word you are looking for commentator. Osteen talking but no action until called out. What do you call doing the right thing when no one is watching? Integrity. Not obscene wealth.

    4. Get a clue Barbra… take off your self appointed, self righteous crown queen mother. I think the dripping venom and sense of superiority, do not serve yours. This country is no longer amused by your kind. “Christians” are desperately failing, falling into their own delusional pit.
      The Devil is the foundation of the churches. It’s a hateful sickness, luckily exposed by this putrid (short term) era of trump.

    5. You don’t get a prize for doing the right thing only after everyone else is already doing it and immense public pressure fell on you to do it. If you want to throw a parade do it for all the people who risked their own lives helping stranded people. Or the much smaller churches that turned space into shelters without having to be asked much less shamed into doing so. Osteen needs the shame to continue because next time he’ll need the same shaming.

  3. $Moneybags$ Osteen did not want to open shelters because it was a bad return on investment. The shelter victims do not have much money and housing people, even temporarily cost money.

    1. And you’d think these holier than though creeps would try and give back to their community, without force. Always telling.

  4. Morning splutter-of-coffee-over-my-laptop, in a UK newspaper today, someone commented on this story saying we all knew it wouldn’t be long before nutty fundies had all sorts of crazy hotline-to-god reasons for the floods but how long before the victim-blaming starts, if your home is flooded, you just need to pray and have more faith and then you can walk ON the waters to safety. (Doesn’t apply if you’re gay/ethnic minority/democrat etc etc I guess!)

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