The day after Hurricane Harvey hit, as mosques, public schools, and even furniture stores opened their doors to Texans displaced by the flooding, the colossal 16,500-seat Lakewood Church in Houston remained closed. Its celebrity pastor was lambasted for not immediately opening his megachurch to those hit by the hurricane, and Joel Osteen's delayed Harvey response inevitably became a meme.
Osteen's megachurch was initially closed to Harvey victims, and its staff claimed that the building was "inaccessible due to severe flooding," although social media sleuths noted otherwise. After intense backlash, Osteen told CNN's Chris Cuomo that his massive church was open to shelter those affected by the hurricane. He told Cuomo, "We're housing hundreds of people that have been displaced by the flooding. All day today and yesterday, we've been receiving supplies."
Prior to the media appearance on Wednesday, Osteen's church reportedly served distribution center for victims in search of basic supplies like diapers, sanitary pads, food items, and more. Lakewood Church appears to be open to victims now, but Osteen defended his decision to keep it closed on NBC's TODAY. "If [the city] would have asked us to become a shelter early on," Osteen said, "we would have prepared for it."
But it looks like Osteen won't be spared by the internet anytime soon. At the very least, he'll have to wade through a ton of jokes and memes to recover from this episode.
1. Osteen As A Verb
You can use Osteen as a verb now wherein "Osteen" means giving someone an excuse. It works.
2. That Face
Nothing better than this classic meme for a special occasion.
3. Joel Osteen As Drake
Thank you, Photoshop.
4. Do It For The City
I'm not sure what's going on here but the little girl is adorable.
5. The Iron Sheik Speaks Up
Loud and clear.
6. Just A Little Money
Just a tiny bit.
7. Top Three For This One
People had their favorites, too.
8. Chris Christie And Joel Osteen
Remember when New Jersey governor Chris Christie hit up a closed beach and everyone had a pretty good reason to be mad? Now, introducing the "Osteen and Christie" edition of memes.
9. This Dave Chappelle GIF
The best Chappelle GIF to use in this case.
10. $50 A Head
Another great photo.
11. The Ultimate Curve
Right after "Netflix and chill."
12. A Fake Albeit Glorious Quote
13. Monty Python Time
An appropriate Monty Python GIF is always appreciated.
14. Precious Sandwiches
Take only one, please. Thanks.
15. What Church?
That's just your imagination.
16. More Chappelle
17. Hell No
This is art.
18. Stay Off The Carpets
19. Give Them The Osteen Curve
Just do it.
20. More Osteen-ing
21. A Biblical Themed Meme
It's a thing now.
22. There's No Stopping The Memes
No stopping ever.
Perhaps Osteen could learn a thing or two from these memes. If there is a hurricane pummeling your state and thousands need shelter, open your church and maybe don't wait for the city to give you the "go" signal.