November 10th a plumber named Justin Cauley discovered $600,000.00 stashed behind a toilet in the walls of your infamous Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He could have kept all or part of it. No one would have known.
But he turned it in. All of the $200,000.00 cash and $400,00.00 in checks allegedly stolen from your church’s safe in 2014. That gargantuan amount of money represented just 24 hours’ worth of donations from March 8th to March 9th.
In 2014 Crime Stoppers of Houston offered a $25,000.00 reward but then said it was no longer available because the statute of limitations had expired in the case. Finally, they relented and on December 8th gave Justin a $20,000 reward. So why didn’t you personally, or your Lakewood Church, or both respond with monetary gratitude? The very least you could have done is make up the $5,000 shortfall.
OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE REAL WORKING MAN’S LIFE, JOEL
Did you know or care about poverty statistics that year in Harris County, which Houston is a part of, and in Texas as a whole?
According to a Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research study, 17% of Harris County residents suffered with an income below federal poverty threshold in 2014.
Programmer and data analyst, Ben Engebreth, reported that in 2014 the Texas median household income was $57,329 and its per capita income was $29,321 while the Houston median household income was $64,935 and Houstonians’ individual income averaged $33,174.
Do you realize that the $600,000.00 you racked up during that 24-hour period would have taken a Houston family’s combined income 9.2 years to reach? Further, an individual Houstonian would need to work 18 years to make $600,000? Taking into account the whole state of Texas, it would have taken the $57,329 median household income and the individual Texan making $29,321 per capita respectively 10.4 years and 20.4 years to accumulate.
FAMILY ENRICHMENT BUSINESS SHOWS TRUE COLORS. AGAIN.
Once again your family enrichment business, a.k.a. Lakewood Church, which broadcasts to and receives donations from 101 countries is Missing In Action. Just as it was in Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
When Hurricane Harvey slammed into Houston, your church had 16,000 seats in a 606,000 sq. ft. space, not counting classrooms and meeting rooms. Your shills said that the church (located on high ground) was “flooded”. TMZ and other sources proved that was a lie. You even had a security guard in front of its doors turn desperate hurricane survivors away.
You also had room to put up a few of the hurricane homeless in your $10.5 million dollar 17,000 square feet mansion you’ve owned since 2010 in your financially exclusive River Oaks neighborhood. If you didn’t want riffraff in the house, you could have housed them outside on your 1.86-acre property.
Only after a firestorm of criticism erupted about your excuses, would you open the church. But only if shelters filled up, the city didn’t ask you, blah blah blah—did you relent. Then on social media you berated people who had lost everything not to feel sorry for themselves.
When you finally opened Lakewood Church to the hurricane-devastated, you apparently did so without contributing one penny out of pocket or from the church’s bloated treasury. It was Tyler Perry who donated a quarter of a million dollars to your church’s relief effort and volunteers came with in-kind donations of food and clothing to staff it.
By the way, was it ever substantiated and audited that Lakewood Church actually used kindhearted Perry’s money for the intended purpose?
Your insensitivity is symptomatic of systemic greed, selfishness and fakery.
Fakery because your church is a tool of self-promotion, not religion. You, your wife and brother-in-law are milking the cash cow of the naïve, gullible, desperate people who donate to Lakewood Church.
You and your wife, Victoria Iloff Osteen, have plenty to be thankful for and should be helping the poor. You’re a first-year college dropout who had been majoring in Radio and Television when you inherited the church from your father. Your wife is likewise a college dropout. And a rich brat. Her father, Donald Iloff, was a mathematician with the Marshall Space Flight Center where he was on the General Electric Saturn rocket project team led by world-famous German aerospace engineer, Wernher von Braun, who was the architect of America’s space program.
Both of your “co-pastors” are prima facie unqualified. Neither of you ever attended divinity school. Were it not for Daddy’s and Daddy-in-law’s money, you might very well be homeless and sleeping under a bridge. Although Victoria was working in her mother’s jewelry store, Iloff Jewelers: the same business that her brother, Donald Iloff, Jr., since 1998 has been raking in money from as its Senior Vice President, while at the same time making big bucks as Senior Executive and spokesman from the other family business: your “church”.
Other than hobnobbing with celebrities and constantly asking for money, what has the Osteen Gang done for the poor or Lakewood’s churchgoers?
A DROP IN THE BUCKET FOR YOU
What would $25,000 reward money be for you? It’s less than the $36,000.00 cost of the vanity cosmetic procedures which in 2020 Chicago plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Otto J. Placik, estimated you’d gotten. (Dr. Placik did not address the sum spent on dental caps/veneers.)
It’s probably less than what 5 of your countless custom-tailored suits cost. Less probably than a few months’ worth of Sunday hairdressing your pumpkin-faced, overly Botoxed wife receives from stylist Luke Neri. It would be a fraction of the fuel you spend per annum on your private $86 million Airbus A19 (Air Portugal, among other airlines, owns one) that Aircraft Compare documents you as owning. $25k would be a fraction of just what the church pays—oh, sorry; you say the church pays you nothing—that you pay for drydocking the yacht the Washington Post confirmed you own. Never mind the fuel and the staff and regular maintenance moolah.
IT’S NO SIN TO BE RICH
You’re not worried about your reputation because you told the Entertainment Tonight television show, “Hey, my reputation is in God’s hands and he can take care of that.”
I get it that you don’t care that New York City attorney, Richard M. Garbarini opined you “leverage the church as a money-making vehicle” and that your sermons are “just de facto infomercials” to promote your books.
And I understand you don’t care that “a non-profit [Lakewood Church] needs to be acting in the public interest and not in the private personal business interests of Joel Osteen…It’s too much a promotional vehicle for him,” according to Daniel Borochoff, the co-founder and former president of the nationally acclaimed charity rater, Charity Watch.
By the way, regarding the books you and Victoria supposedly write (Hello-o-o! How do you even have time with all that travel, vacations, cosmetic procedures, hairdressing appointments, hobnobbing with U.S. presidents and other celebrities?), it’s a dirty little secret in the publishing world that you and wifey hire ghostwriters for “your” books.
So I dig it that you only care what God thinks about your reputation.
Let’s figure out then what God thinks.
It’s not a sin per se to be rich. However, you preach what people pejoratively call “prosperity gospel”: you proclaim God wants everyone to be rich. Is that a CYA to deflect the public’s attention from your personal enrichment and relentless fleecing of the public such as your tweet from @JoelOsteen blathering that “God has a plan for you and if you donate $5,000 to my ministry the answer will be revealed in your nightly prayer. #PraisetheLord”
But when you pretend to be a man of God AND you megalomaniacally spend it all on yourself and self-aggrandizement, then you are one of the false prophets Jesus warned us against in the Bible. Furthermore, in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 19 verse 24 of the New Testament it says that it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get through the gates of Heaven.
Your net worth is reputed to be $100 million. You shamelessly asked for, and accepted, $4.4 million in PPP (Paycheck Protection Loans) during the COVID-19 pandemic…money meant to help small businesses prevent ruination. The $25k reward money for Justin the plumber wouldn’t even be pocket change for you.
It’s Christmastime, Joel. I know that the heartless don’t value the spirituality of Christmas. However, wouldn’t you agree it would be great P.R. for you to give Justin the $5,000 reward shortfall? Better yet, donate $20,000 to non-profit Crime Stoppers to use on another crime and give $25,000 to Justin. There is no statute of limitations on decency.