Televangelist Joel Osteen is facing criticism for not doing more to help the sick and needy through this quarantine crisis, and he participated in an interview conducted by a local Houston television news program to defend himself against charges that his net worth was inherently unChristian.
Many critics have taken offense that Osteen was still asking for donations through his website despite the closure of his mega church due to the need for social distancing.
“Look, I view my Lakewood Church as my flock, and I look after my flock like a shepherd would his sheep,” explained Osteen. “But the flock of sheep also provides the shepherd with very valuable wool that he then sells to support himself and make money. So when I ask for money donations, I am merely asking my sheep for their wool. What’s wrong with that? And besides, my church knows I’m sincere. They come to me for advice on how to be rich like me, and I help them plant their seeds for success by taking their seeds, which are donations to my church, and then burying those seeds into my bank account. But they are happy to give! They know I’m 100% sincere and that I care about them. They may be my sheep, but they’re looking after me, too. They don’t want me to get coronavirus, and neither do I. Which is why, in this trying time, it is especially imperative that I continue to get cash donations. If this pandemic continues to get worse, I’m going to need to get into my private jet and not come back down to land for many weeks or months. You know how expensive jet fuel is? And refueling in mid-air?”
The interviewer then interrupted Osteen to ask if he remembered Jesus’s line about camels and eyes of needles.
“Are you sure that’s in the Bible? I’m not familiar with that. Oh, you know what, maybe it’s a translation thing. You see, I’ve actually done my own translation and editing of the Bible. It’s kind of like Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, in which he edited out all of the supernatural and unbelievably mythological bits he didn’t care for. In my Bible, I edited out all the stuff about money changers, the rules to not charge interest, and all the bits against hoarding. Because, you know, if Jesus had hoarded a little more wealth, he probably would have had way more than just 12 Disciples. Look at me, my net worth is $40 million and I have millions of viewers of my sermons in person and online! So clearly Jesus was a little mistaken about the value of money. Besides, why do people criticize me? Why don’t they look at Kenneth Copeland? He’s way richer than me! Or Jesse Duplantis? Or Benny Hinn? Or Creflo Dollar? Or Joyce Meyer? Or Pat Robertson? All these people are rich like me, and I’m not going to give up my private jets until they give up theirs! Out of all these people, my mansion is nowhere near the biggest! Besides, if Jesus hadn’t wanted all of us to live filthy rich, extravagant lifestyles, he wouldn’t have made our followers so dumb and easy to convince to give us their money. We’re literally telling them that by giving us their money, they will get more money in the future, and it never happens! And they still continue to give us money! It’s amazing. Certainly God is okay with this or He wouldn’t allow us to continue doing it! Cause let’s be honest, a lot of us televangelists have committed a lot of fraud. Like, a lot. The government gives us a pass on a lot of record-keeping, and doesn’t charge us taxes like everyone else. It’s a very cushy line of work. But our followers still give us money for third private jets even when we already have two! Because we convince them Jesus will magically make them richer. Isn’t it hilarious? Even though they’d be richer not giving us 10% of their money! It’s like they don’t understand the basic concept of subtraction! But where in the Bible does it specifically say not to take advantage of dumb people and make their lives worse by tricking them out of their paychecks?”
The interviewer then asked if Osteen would donate anything to help his followers who are struggling from losing their jobs due to the economic shutdown.
“I’m not going to start being poor just because everyone in my church is getting poorer! Fuck ’em. They should have made better money decisions, like not buying all my books. All I did was rearrange the words and sentences! So it’s not my fault they buy every one of them. No refunds!”
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(Picture courtesy of Joel Osteen’s website.)