Joel Osteen on Harvey backlash: ‘Probably’ would have done things different

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Joel Osteen: Our doors have always been open

Lakewood Church Senior Pastor Joel Osteen responds to criticisms of the church's response to Harvey.

Pastor Joel Osteen, popular televangelist and leader of Lakewood Church, disputed claims during an appearance on FOX Business Wednesday that his megachurch shut its doors to Harvey victims.

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“Our church has always been open and some of these notions that we are closed or not here to take care of the city is just not true narrative,” Osteen told Dagen McDowell on Mornings with Maria.

Osteen opened his church doors to Houston victims on Tuesday, but the timing of the decision created a social media firestorm. Osteen, however, says the building, which sits on top of a large hill, “was on the verge of flooding.”

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“The church was not dry. People can’t see everything. People from a distance. There’s a road right behind me where we had big floodgates where the water was close to coming over. That water recedes in 12 to 18 hours but at the time it was not dry,” he said.

When McDowell asked whether he would have done things differently over the weekend, he replied: “I have not even looked back to think about that…we probably would, but I think the main thing is safety issues and a lot of things that people don’t see but this church is open, we don’t turn people away.”

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