Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen, one of the wealthiest preachers in the United States, is being blasted on social media for having taken $4.4 million in coronavirus CARES act relief after having initially denied he did so.
The Houston Chronicle and Houston Business Journal are reporting that the loan secured by Osteen, who has a reported net worth of $100 million, is the third largest sum disbursed to any Houston-area entity this past summer. Thousands of businesses around the country have gone under after having not been able to secure PPP financing, yet Osteen – who lives in a 17,000 square-foot, $10.5 million mansion in the Houston suburbs – was able to receive his check from the federal government.
In a statement his Lakewood Church said the money went to support church employees, not to Osteen or his wife, Victoria. Lakewood’s in-person services were halted due to the pandemic, but resumed in October at 25 percent capacity.
Still, social media skewered Osteen and his church, which doesn’t pay taxes, for taking the money. Others also noted that Osteen infamously refused to open his cavernous megachurch, the largest in the United States, to Houston area residents who were driven from their homes by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Some of the more choice reviews: “grifting scumbag, “scamvangilist” and “Jesus would be proud.”
Joel Osteen is a grifting scumbag.
— Matt Murphy (@MattMurph24) December 15, 2020
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) December 15, 2020
Joel Osteen's ridiculously huge mansion, paid for by the gullible and naive.
So humble. Jesus would be proud 🙄 pic.twitter.com/dCePFshyAi
— Paul 🍎 (@HeathenOnEarth_) December 15, 2020
Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has a net worth of $100 million and here's his $10.5 million mansion. Churches are tax exempt. His church got $4.4 million in federal PPP loans. https://t.co/uz4VypYyYB pic.twitter.com/jgTd98o8vV
— Christian Nightmares (@ChristnNitemare) December 15, 2020
So Joel Osteen, TX mega church pastor, said he never took a PPP loan federal loan for small businesses hit by the pandemic, but he did to the tune of $4.4 million. Imagine how many small businesses w/little financial runway could’ve used that loan https://t.co/500QHt3e4a
— Atima Omara (@atima_omara) December 15, 2020