08:45, August 30 51 0 usmagazine.com

2017-08-30 08:45:02

 

Joel Osteen Speaks Out About Hurricane Harvey Controversy in TV Interview: Watch

Joel Osteen is once again responding to claims that his church didn't bring in Hurricane Harvey evacuees. The Houston megachurch pastor opened up about the controversy during an appearance on the Today show on Wednesday, August 30.

"Our church doors have always been open. In fact, we took people in right when the water started to recede, which was a day or two after the big storm hit," Osteen, 54, told Savannah Guthrie. "We work very closely with the city, four miles down the road the city established it's biggest shelter with room for thousands with beds, with kitchen supplies, with everything they need, security. They didn't need us as a shelter right then. And we coordinate with them all the time."

As previously reported, the televangelist received backlash after his Lakewood Church's Facebook page directed hurricane victims to other shelter resources.

"If we needed to be a shelter we would have certainly been a shelter right when they first asked," Osteen added on Today. "But once they filled up, never dreaming we'd have this many displaced people, they asked us to be a shelter. And we said, 'Hey, we'd love to be a shelter.' That's what Lakewood is all about. I think this notion that somehow we would turn people away or that we weren't here for the city is as false as can be."

Osteen spoke out from Lakewood Church. In the video, packaged supplies for victims appeared to be stocked up against the wall behind him.

Osteen went on to slam the accusations again on Good Morning America. "The narrative is that we didn't want to take people in...it's totally not true," he said. "We were here for people."