As southeast Texas faced a deluge of wind and rain from Hurricane Harvey, one of Houston’s leading figures, pastor Joel Osteen, was facing his own storm of criticism after not immediately opening the doors of his Lakewood Church to evacuees. Now country star Clay Walker is taking a stand for the man.
In a simple post on his Twiiter page, the Vidor, Texas, native wrote, “Joel Osteen is a good man … I know him … he has helped so many people … he is a Houstonian.”
And while many of the comments on Clay’s tweet contradicted the singer’s view, others supported him.
Since being taken to task by the public and the media, Joel has spoken in his own defense. He told the “Today” show that the church doors have always been open and that the church took people in as soon as the water began to recede. He also said he had been in communication with the city about the best ways the church could be utilized when they were needed.
He also graciously said that the criticism was not without validity. “I don’t know if it’s unfounded, but I think if people were here, they’d realize there were safety issues,” he said. “This building had flooded before, so we were just being precautious. But the main thing is, the city didn’t ask us to become a shelter then,” he said.
The massive Lakewood Church is housed in the former Compaq Center, which was the home of Houston’s WNBA team, the Comets, and the NBA Rockets. During the time that teams occupied the building, sporting events were cancelled due to flooding.
Fortunately, the sun is shining and the water is receding in Houston. And thanks to the generosity of so many, both inside and outside of Texas, relief is in sight.