The following story contains discussion of Nazism, child abuse and child sexual abuse, and homophobia.
Many religious leaders condemned the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally in August 2017, but Joel Osteen merely advised his audience to “be the bigger person” and “not engage” with white supremacists. His “just ignore them” advice came off as ineffective, to say the least.
In March 2017, a family sued Joel Osteen and the Lakewood Church, claiming that a staff member body slammed their baby girl. Osteen’s church settled with the family for $15,000, despite the church’s claims that the incident was completely made up.
In February 2010, a Lakewood Church volunteer named Alvaro Daniel Guzman was accused of sexual misconduct with a special needs child. Guzman was fired and arrested, but his charges were dismissed, and he went on to unsuccessfully sue Lakewood Church.
Osteen thinks homosexuality is a sin and “not God’s best,” but usually insists that he “doesn’t go there” when asked about gay rights. Osteen seems to think that because he’s “not one of those that are out there to bash homosexuals,” he gets a “get out of jail free” card for the topic.
In August 2017, Osteen faced backlash for not opening Lakewood Church as a shelter for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Osteen’s reps falsely claimed the Church was flooded, when Osteen just wanted to wait until shelters were at capacity and the city asked him to open his church.