Home Christian News Joel Osteen’s Megachurch Repays $4.4 Million in Pandemic-Relief Loans

Joel Osteen’s Megachurch Repays $4.4 Million in Pandemic-Relief Loans

Civil libertarians also objected to churches receiving taxpayer-funded assistance. Rob Boston with Americans United for Separation of Church and State, tells the Houston Chronicle that Osteen deserved criticism for accepting PPP money. The bigger issue, he says, is that “religious freedom is a core promise of our Constitution, and that means that no one should be forced to pay for someone else’s religious beliefs or practices.”

When news of Lakewood Church’s PPP loan broke last year, some people took to social media with claims that the church had to be “shamed” into opening its doors to Hurricane Harvey victims in 2017. During a dangerous cold snap in Texas in February, Lakewood opened its doors as a warming center for community members. At the time, Osteen said, “I believe we’re blessed to be a blessing, and God’s given us this beautiful facility where we can help people (with) simple things to stay warm and have a place to stay.”

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance writer and editor in Denver, has spent her entire 30-year journalism career in Christian publishing. She loves the Word and words, is a binge reader and grammar nut, and is fanatic (as her family can attest) about Jeopardy! and pro football.