By Richard Ray:
Whenever someone is trending on Twitter or the Internet, my first instinct is to research the subject far greater than the surface level story that usually covers the trending. The Internet is a true savage and undefeated at spreading fake news. If you are a target, right or wrong you have little defense to the initial wave of uneducated opinions and lack of facts that center on “trending”. So, while people generally trend for all of the wrong reasons, facts are usually not at the forefront of anyone’s mind in real time.
So when Joel Osteen was being roasted on Twitter for failing to open his megachurch (over 16,500 in seated capacity) to residents of Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey, I knew it best to dig deeper than the hysteria that ensued knowing people are quick to judgment with little to no facts.
Of course Joel Osteen and his PR people were quick to respond to the criticism and open the church, subsequently stocked with supplies and air mattresses to those evacuees who needed a place. Osteen went on several news outlets including Good Morning America to give his spin and attempt some damage control, stating in part that his Church was prone to flooding if not flooded initially. When pictures seemed to debunk that theory he stated that his church was never closed to others, and just not publicly open because the city never asked them to serve as an evacuation location.
I do not know what the specific truth is in this circumstance, but the incident cemented what I think is so wrong with these false prophet televangelists who make millions from their flock and live lavish lifestyles. The only thing these televangelists seem to be proactive at doing is fundraising millions. I admit to not knowing everything these “churches” do to help others, but too much of it seems reactionary to both pressure to perform accompanied with optics to show their good deeds.
Joel Osteen’s ministries generate roughly 100 million dollars per year. Osteen has several multi million dollar properties purchased by his ministry tax free, along with luxury cars and a private jet. I understand that some of the money comes from book sales as well, but most of the wealth is derived from either church income or parishioners themselves and the separation is non-existent. If the Pope were to write a book, it would be a bestseller, with most of the profits derived from followers because of the platform of his position.
I am a devout Capitalist. I do not normally knock anyone’s hustle, but getting rich in the name of God seems like such a gross manipulation of people’s faith. These false prophets raise money because God somehow wants them to be prosperous. Their gods want them to live in mansions, have private jets and luxury cars. I understand that they somehow justify the private jets as tools to spread the “word” but it can equally be done with a first class or coach ticket at a fraction of the price. A $7-$25 Million dollar private jet purchased with church funds could be money better spent on actually helping people in need as opposed to fronts for further fundraising and the opulent lifestyles of false prophets.
Joel Osteen is hardly the only guilty party and televangelist scamming knows no ethnic, racial or gender discrimination. Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar and Joyce Meyer are all examples of excessive lifestyles, under tax free church funds, that far outweigh the positiveness of any message that they may be delivering.
It’s as if there is a televangelist blueprint of excess; Mansion(s), Private Jet, and Luxury cars. God is good…all the time… when you are preaching for profits, don’t pay taxes and fundraise better than Bill Clinton.
Joyce Meyer Plane and Ministry Compound that includes 5 homes in near St. Louis for herself and husband, two sons and CEO of the Ministry’s Board.
Benny Hinn Gulfstream and California mansion.
I understand that millions of people find inspiration and motivation in the words delivered by these people. They are clearly great at what they do. Some combine great oratory skills with charisma and showmanship
to give some people what they feel like they need. I do not knock that ability. I strive to inspire and motivate through this site, but what makes them false prophets is using those skills in the name of God to take advantage of people and live lavish lifestyles that have little to do with God or helping anyone other then themselves and those close to them.
What are these ministers proactively doing to help others? What are they spending money and resources on to truly help those in need?… I am not talking about photo ops at Thanksgiving and Christmas or putting healing hands on someone on their television networks… I am talking about spending the great portion of the money they raise to actually help people and communities that are really in need and not just when they are negatively trending on Twitter. The only thing clear is the opulence of the lifestyles that they lead in the name of God.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to read diaryofamadmind.com
#Twitter, #TheInternet, #Internet, Facebook, #Trending, #JoelOsteen, #Megachurch, #False prophets, #BennyHinn, JoyceMeyer, #CrefloDollar, #socialmedia, #Houston, #HurricaneHarvey