Mosques provide shelter, biggest church closes doors in Texas during Hurricane Harvey

Televangelist Joel Osteen announced Tuesday that he is opening his megachurch to victims of the Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Houston's Lakewood Church issued a statement after being heavily accused on social media of refusing to open its doors to the hurricanes' evacuees. Osteen denied that his church turned away anyone seeking shelter, though the church tweeted throughout the weekend that it was "inaccessible" and not conducting services.

So, what's with all the photos of the flooding that appears on the "lower level" of the church? Osteen said the doors to his church were never closed, but in fact experienced flooding of its own during the tropical storm.

On Tuesday, Lakewood Church tweeted that the have begun receiving people in need of shelter as well as emergency relief supplies. "We took people in as soon as the waters receded", Osteen told Fox and Friends. In a statement Monday to ABC News, the church's figurehead Joel Osteen said his organization was prepared to help those in need.

The rep also sent us photos of "initial flooding" within the church, and says this is "why we couldn't open initially".

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"They'll be here for a couple of years with us and that's just, you know, that's just pulling out the sheet rock, you know, helping those, especially the elderly, and just being in it for the long haul", he said.

The problem, as critics have been quick to point out, is that Osteen's church initially went on Facebook and gave the impression that it was unable to assist victims due to the flooding. He added it would "house people once shelters reached capacity". Open the doors and help people!

The church can accommodate several hundred people on its second floor, spokesman Don Iloff told CNN. Social media interpreted this update differently and ran with it, putting Osteen and his church front and center during this extremely trying time.

At least nine people are reported to have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey, the worst storm to strike the United States in 12 years.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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