After His Appalling Comments on Sunday, I Have a Message for Sanctimonious Prick Joel Osteen

Full confession: Sometime over ten years ago, I used to actually watch Houston televangelist Joel Osteen on television. In fact, I might even have a copy of one of his books, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, tucked away in a box somewhere. While I wouldn’t say I was ever a “follower” of his, I did enjoy his positive messages of preaching hope even if things aren’t going well in your life.

However, the more I listened to him, the more I realized something wasn’t quite right. Eventually I started to see stories about how much money he was worth and how he lived in this massive, $10 million mansion.

For those of you wondering, currently Osteen’s net worth is estimated at around $60 million.

To be fair, he doesn’t take a salary from the church. Most of his money comes from book sales and other things he does outside of the church. Though it’s indisputable that he uses his church to promote himself to a position where he’s able to make that sort of money without drawing any sort of a salary directly from Lakewood Church.

I’m not going to sit here and begrudge anyone for making a nice living for themselves, but there’s something wrong with a preacher supposedly teaching the values of Jesus Christ, a religious figure who often spoke out against greed, sitting on top of a $60 million fortune while living in a $10 million mansion.

How do you say you’ve devoted your life to helping the poor, needy, and less fortunate while you hoard tens of millions of dollars that could provide countless benefits to the poor, needy, and less fortunate?

I’m not saying his church doesn’t do a lot of good — I’m sure it does. Through the generous donations from people who send money to the church, I’m sure Lakewood helps a lot of people. That doesn’t mean there’s not something really wrong about a man who claims to have devoted his life to Jesus Christ sitting on a mountain of money while millions of children go to bed starving.

Could Osteen and his family not be very well off and comfortable with a $5 million fortune and a much smaller, yet still very extravagant, house? I’m not saying he has to give away all of his money or live an extremely modest life. Sure, that would be more “Jesus-like,” but I’m not going to advocate being that petty.

Either way, that’s all a topic for another day.

Without a doubt though, Osteen’s name was thrust into the news since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas after stories circulated that he wasn’t opening the doors of his mega church (a former NBA basketball arena), claiming it wasn’t accessible due to flooding. Some people have claimed that wasn’t true, but the Lakewood Church did post pictures where parts of the building were flooded.

Whether or not Lakewood Church was a safe venue for evacuees seeking shelter to use is beside the point. When the church decided to turn people away, the optics became “mega church housed in 16,000-seat arena turned people away.” From my perspective, instead of being a proactive beacon of hope at a time when Houstonians desperately needed help, even if the church, itself, wasn’t safe to house evacuees, the church became reactive. They appeared to only want to do the bare minimum, when it was more convenient for them to do so, instead of being proactive (such as Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt) and choosing to lead in providing help to those who desperately needed it. Considering the size of the church that they are, yes, they should bear a bigger responsibility to help people.

They have the infrastructure, finances, and resources many other organizations simply don’t have.

The way I looked at the whole scandal was it didn’t matter the condition of the building, it was the fact that the church seemed reluctant to go out of their way to provide help. Though, of course, that’s entirely subjective.

However, then came comments Osteen made Sunday that absolutely set me off.

During a sermon, he said the following:

The reason it may seem like God is not waking up is not because he’s ignoring you, not because he’s uninterested, it’s because he knows you can handle it.

Take it as a compliment.

Excuse my language, but f*ck you Joel Osteen, you sanctimonious prick.

Yes, if you’re a Christian (a real one, anyway), part if your faith is believing that God will test your resolve. But to say that the millions of people who are suffering, with several people losing their lives, while others lost everything, are going through this because God “knows they can handle it” is appalling.

So is Osteen saying that Hurricane Harvey was sent by God to test the people of Texas? That the only way God could send a message was through a devastating storm that killed people, ripped apart families, destroyed homes, and ruined lives forever?

Those are the words of someone who’s clearly either never had to go without anything, or has forgotten what it’s like to have nothing.

Yeah, it’s easy when you’re sitting on a massive fortune, living in a huge mansion, to tell people whose lives have been up-ended or destroyed that “this is a test from God.” How out-of-touch with basic humanity do you have to be to say something like that to people while you’re sitting on $60 million in the bank?

It’s unconscionable for me to even think of how warped your mind must be to tell millions of people, “No need to be upset at your current life-altering despair, this is just a test from God because he knows you can take it.”

Sure, maybe Osteen was just trying to make people feel better — but you don’t say stupid nonsense like that. Especially when you’re sitting on a mountain of money you certainly aren’t about to dish out in large amounts to the people of your city.

Here’s a thought for Mr. Osteen: Maybe the real test here was for you, the greedy bastard who’s used supposedly teaching the values of Jesus Christ to make yourself $60 million. Maybe this is the moment God’s testing you to see if you’ll put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. To see what you would do when faced with the decision of helping the needy, poor, and less fortunate — or turning them away, while holding on to your massive fortune. To see if you’re truly a man of God, who’s willing to prove that your actions support the words of Jesus Christ — or if you’re just another greedy, hypocritical prick, drunk on his own power and influence, who’s made himself a very rich man by using religion to manipulate people gullible enough to trust and follow you.

And if that was the test, Mr. Osteen, trust me, you damn sure failed.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook to let me know what you thought of his comments.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Georgiann Kite

    I wouldn’t follow you anywhere. You and all the idiots that have been maligning Joel Osteen. So what if he has done well???? Where is it written that a Minster has to live in a shack and eat at McDonalds??????This man came from very humble beginnings, he does good work. I have followed him since the beginning. He has done NOTHING wrong!!!! Leave him the hell alone already!

    • Phenoy

      I think Matthew 19:21 said, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me”

    • sccmstl

      Drink the Kool-Aid much?

      You poor, gullible nitwit.

    • Tammy Morgan

      Matthew 19:24 talks about- it’s easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven.

      • Pat Cannon

        and osteen exemplifies exactly why

    • Laurie

      No one is saying he has to live in a shack and eat at McDonalds. But when you’re sitting on a 60 million dollar fortune and keep your church doors locked, and make no attempt at all to help the less fortunate, you are obviously not a religious man, just a con man who takes advantage of the gullible. He will not see heaven.

    • Keith

      As it says in Matthew 21 12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]”

  • Tmoe1

    Looks like he didn’t do anything right either.

  • B real

    Amen!!! Very well said!!!

  • Christopher Lane

    This has gone too far. I never thought for an instant Mr Clifton would get caught up in an internet assault over half truths and lies. Mr Osteen does not take money from the church. He makes his money as an author. And if anyone has proof of him taking money from the church coffers, provide it. Judging people as evil or bad based on their money and income is a dick move. This man does more to help people than, I wager, everyone on this thread. The last time Houston flooded, 5000 people sheltered in his church. How many did YOU shelter? Mr Clifton, keep up the work skewering Trump. I wont return to your blog. Not since you have proven to be a tool of the internet trolls.

    • Connie Hixon Davis

      He never said Mr Osteen took money from the church. Read the third paragraph.

    • W Scott Cannon

      Osteen and the thousands of people who follow and/or go to his church could have…and SHOULD have formulated a plan as the storm was approaching. He didn’t….and they didn’t. Only AFTER the social medial backlash did he open his doors. Sad and selfish.

    • Keith

      Matthew 21 12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[f]”

    • Blondes do it Better

      You are correct, but without that platform, he wouldn’t be so popular. He peddles lies and conjecture to the ignorant. Period.

    • Harriett Heckel

      I thought I read his entire article, and no where.NO WHERE did he ever mention trump.. Why did you?

  • Maxine Godfrey

    it has been reported — in several sources — that Joelsteen is charging refugees $50 each for the privilege of sheltering at “his” Lakewood Church facility. ’nuff said.

  • Jerry Borchardt
  • Craig White

    Not a fan of Joel Osteen not even a Christian, however, having been brought up in the Christian Religion, attending Christian schools where bible study was a required course your issue with his statement is not an issue with him but with the religion. The entire book of “Job” is a teaching that essentially a lesson that teaches nothing happens to you that God did not “allow” and that nothing happens to you that God does not know you to be “capable of”. This is one of those things I personally found issue with. Its a really convenient cop put. If you are tested and survive then God new you could handle it, if not God has called you home, its like I said a really convenient philosophy. But there it is. I will find fault for Joel Osteen using religion to be a modern day legal con man, I will not find fault with him actually teaching what the bible teaches, for once. If you find fault with Joel Osteen saying what he is saying then you find fault with the teaching of the religion. If you want to follow the religion youhave to follow the dogma, you do not get to pick and choose.

  • Martha Ray

    I can’t even imagine how wealthy we would have been if we hadn’t had to pay taxes on our business and on our personal income, and on our equipment, and for our employees. Yet people like Osteen can spout out the words of the Good Book, get people to raise their hands and voices in praise, own a mega-mansion and a mega-church and not pay one damn dime in taxes. That’s just disgusting.

  • Nicholas A Kocal

    He may not take a salary, but you can be pretty sure that he has his expenses paid by the church. Probably a clothing allowance, a travel allowance, a car allowance, a food allowance, …

    • Carolyn Ann Thomas

      Exactly,a budget paid by the church that include everything from house,clothes,travel ,Shame on him.

  • Blondes do it Better

    Looks like most of the comments here are missing a bigger picture. If churches paid taxes in the US, everyone below the 250k income bracket would pay 3% in taxes to the fed. Why wouldn’t we support that? I am not a believer myself, and dont see why we cannot accept that this we are strong by diversity of belief, origin, etc. Tax them!

  • Quite a claim to be able to speak to the creator of the universe. Quite an accomplishment!