The communications director of Lakewood Church has responded to the backlash from critics over them not opening their doors quick enough for hurricane victims. The Huffington Post reports:
“These are haters,” Donald Iloff Jr., the church chief communications director, told HuffPost on Tuesday. “Haters gonna hate.”
I know people sometime yesterday started coming up and shooting pictures and saying, ‘Look, it’s dry, its dry,’” Iloff said. “Well yeah, yesterday it was.”
Even though we knew it was coming and we knew it was going to be bad, I don’t think we knew it was going to be Armageddon,” he said. “We’re happy to be a part of this.”
Water outside the building’s 10-foot floodgate was 9 feet deep before Monday, Iloff said. Church officials feared rising water would overrun the floodgate and surge into the building.
The Pastor of Lakewood Church Joel Osteen also responded on NVC News saying:
I think sometimes social media can be very powerful and it can create this false narrative, but if you’re sitting in another state and you’re not here — I mean, my niece was stranded right across the street from this building with nowhere to go,” Osteen said on NBC’s “Today Show.”
“This building was one foot from flooding. If we didn’t have our floodgates, it would have flooded.”
“It was not safe,” Iloff said, adding, “Nobody knew this was going to be a thousand-year storm.”
In response to media scrutiny, the megachurch pastor in Texas, Joe Osteen said that he is prepared to open up his Lakewood Church in Houston to those seeking shelter after Hurricane Harvey.
Via twitter, Osteen said, “Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.”
Before opening his church, Osteen received media scrutiny and scrutiny from social media for not opening up the church. Lakewood Church can accommodate 16,000 people and serve as a shelter for those seeking help.
On Sunday, Osteen said on Facebook that the facility was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.” Lakewood Church distributed these pictures to the media in their defense.
He did say, however, that he would take people in once the other shelters in Houston reach their capacity.
In another statement, Osteen said, “We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.”
What are your thoughts? Do you think Osteen should have opened Lakewood sooner?
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Credit: The Hill