Joel Osteen is not my favorite pastor. To my mind, in fact, he’s really a motivational speaker who has figured out how to set up regular gigs and pack the house every time. That’s nothing more than my personal opinion, however, and the world’s a better place when different people see things in different ways. But, Mr. Osteen isn’t the subject of this post. It’s about a group of people in this country who gleefully use tragedy and suffering to spread lies, misinformation, and hate about Osteen’s Lakewood Church and, by extension, Christians in general.
Activist Charles Clymer, of Washington, D.C. (Yes, that Washington, D.C., the one that’s 1,400 miles from Houston) gave the world a perfect example on Monday of what happens when an ideologue puts his agenda before the truth. It started with a tweet that said, “Curious about what @JoelOsteen’s megachurch is doing to help folks, I went to his profile. You guess is as good as mine.” Next came, “Currently attempting to confirm Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston is, in fact, flooded + inaccessible. Anyone w/ details, reply here.”
Undated pictures followed, claiming to show the church and the area around it clear and accessible. Church members also replied with pictures of the flooded first floor and basement. Clymer dismissed these pictures, and used the ones that fit his narrative to launch his attack. The “news” media picked up the “story” as it spread through social media, and the dog pile was on. Like Clymer, no mainstream “journalists” bothered to find out what was really going on down in Houston, they just licked their chops and joined in the feeding frenzy.
Had any of these folks pursued the truth as hard as they pushed The Agenda, they would have found out a lot more about what was going on. According to Lakewood Church spokesman Don Iloff, the church contacted city officials only to have their offer of shelter space rebuffed However, despite breathless reports to the contrary, the church doors were never locked, and none of the three or four people who initially approached the church were turned away. In fact, church members drove people to shelters and manned a drop-off and distribution center for needed supplies.
One group, seeming quite proud that they have an ax to grind with Lakewood Church, claims it was never flooded. Church members claim it was. Historically, the building has had issues with water covering the ground floor and basement. Clymer and other social justice warriors weren’t deterred, however. They had a point to make and weren’t about to let facts stand in the way of their rush to judgement. Church members’ photos and comments were completely disregarded, while those supporting the narrative were assumed to be true, corroboration be damned.
The left has attempted to use Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Houston to show the world how bad Christians are. They still don’t understand that what they’ve really done is show the world their true colors. The criticism of Osteen and his church has been brutal. Had Lakewood ignored city officials, however, and filled their church – which has neither a kitchen nor bathing facilities capable of serving large numbers of people – with refugees who would still have a risk of being flooded out, the attacks from the same people whining and screeching today would have been equally as vicious. Anybody who thinks otherwise is either mentally challenged, dishonest. or has never been on the internet.
For thinking people who are capable of even a trace of empathy, the left’s attacks – even in the face of tragedy and heartache – has shown that leftists aren’t so much interested in seeing the church help people; they just want to be sure it’s done in a way that makes them feel warm and fuzzy. Is it really that hard to tell the difference between giving aid and getting your way?
Roy Jeffords is an author, ghost writer, and curmudgeon-at-large. A graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, he lives in Texas with his wife and their two boxers. Find him on Facebook at Roy Jeffords, Twitter @royjeffords, and Instagram royjeffords. Contact him at [email protected]