The Hall of 'Do Better': Joel Osteen

Welcome to the The Hall of Do Better: A collection of notable public figures whom I believe could use some time to rethink what they’ve done.

Not all mega church pastors are frauds. But Joel Osteen is looking like the poster boy for a con man using religious appropriation. Love thy neighbor, my ass.

“Practice what you preach,”it’s one of the oldest clichés in the book. Often used to draw parallels between one's actions and their words,  it's right up there with “lead by example,” or “be the change you want to see in the world.” This cliche is quite effective when checking someone who needs to realize that their deeds, not just their words, define their character.

All things considered, Joel Osteen has built one of the most successful churches in the country. With nationally televised services, published books, and a church that was once home to the Houston Rockets (??!!) all contributing to his $60 million net worth, it’s clear that his Word of God is worth buying for an incredible amount of people. But "with great power comes great responsibility." You’ve got to be in game-ready mode to put that Jesus-train into motion at the drop of a hat.

When you build a fortune, an empire, preaching the word of God there comes a time when your actions serve as validation for the words you tell others to live by. Did you really mean what you were saying about God, Jesus, Jehovah, Yeshua telling us to be better people? You know, love thy neighbor, share, help one another, that kind of stuff.

Inside Lakewood Church    Photo Credit: TMZ

Inside Lakewood Church    Photo Credit: TMZ

Failing to open the doors of your basketball arena-sized church to victims of the storm is unacceptable. And lying about the “readiness” of the facilities inside, or about the building not being accessible from the outside, or (my favorite) the city not giving a heads up that you should probably use your tax-exempt, basketball arena-sized, 16,800-person-church as a haven for victims is a pile of shit. Especially when many local mosques and even one particular business took the initiative to show that they actually give a damn.

See, I consider myself to be a Believer. But for a long time I’ve questioned the sanctity of the church because of men like Joel Osteen. I don’t hate megachurches, I just feel a bit dirty knowing that the people who run them tend to live far more affluently than the members of their congregation. The marriage of capitalism and religion becomes confusing (I guess) when you take into consideration the bible explicitly warnings against this, see Matthew 6:24. Did I mention their tax-exempt status?

If you made yourself into millionaire by telling people they should "Love thy neighbor," the least you could do is love yours.