Hurricane Harvey has brought devastation to Houston. The National Weather Service called it "beyond anything experienced." Many were killed, and it will take years for the state to fully recover from the wicked storm's impacts.
Amid this, some click-bait opportunists are using the moment to attack Joel Osteen—and the mainstream news media is falling for the bait hook, line and sinker.
According to the Babylon Bee:
Although Joel Osteen took flak over the weekend for closing up his church to flood victims and all but disappearing during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the megachurch pastor reportedly returned to the city on his luxury yacht "S.S. Blessed" to make amends Tuesday by tossing copies of Your Best Life Now to stranded flood survivors.
Osteen had his on-call yacht captain steer the large vessel through the flooded streets of the city, pulling up to survivors stranded on their roofs and on the roof of their cars as the prosperity gospel preacher smiled, waved, and threw out signed editions of the bestselling positive thinking book ... Osteen also paused for brief photo ops with several families, the smiling pastor briefly allowing them to board his yacht as his professional photography team got shots of the pastor together with the sobbing, distraught flood victims, though the pastor was careful to not stand too close to the mud-caked refugees. Sources confirmed that the pastor then had his assistants help the families back into their makeshift lifeboats or tree logs on which they were floating through the city.
Although this was clearly marked satire—and Snopes exposed the error—many believed the story as gospel truth.
Can we get some responsibility in journalism, please? I suppose Joel is an easy target at some level since he's a happy guy with a mega church and mega prosperity. But the Bible warns against bearing false witness. This was clearly an assignment from the pit of hell to slander him at a time when we should be focused on helping Texas recover.
Jennifer LeClaire is senior leader of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, founder of the Ignite Network and founder of the Awakening Blaze prayer movement. She is author of over 25 books. Find her online at jenniferleclaire.org or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.