After severe bashing that some say rivaled the unrelenting flood waters, Joel Osteen's Houston megachurch is now admitting people who have been forced out of their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Catch the entire interview with Senator Cruz Wednesday at 12:30pm EST on Faith Nation on the CBN News Facebook page. and at cbnnews.com
Osteen and his staff were criticized for not opening the doors of their massive church as a way to offer shelter Houstonians who have been forced from their homes. However, the church said nearby shelters were better equipped to handle displaced people since the church was flooded itself and didn't have a kitchen or showers.
Sen. Ted Cruz told CBN News Tuesday that the attacks on Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church are unfair. The church is located in flood-ravaged Houston, specifically in the former Compaq Center, a huge arena where the Houston Rockets played their professional basketball games.
Speaking to CBN's David Brody, Sen. Cruz, who's in Houston helping with flood relief efforts, said the people criticizing Lakewood's disaster response are people who tend to speak negatively of Christians in general.
"You know, I've seen the attacks on Twitter and it's not surprising," Cruz said, "Many of the people attacking are people who would tear down church leaders anyway, and so you could expect those attacks to come."
Cruz said overall, the response among Christians has been magnificent.
"Look, I hope and believe everybody is trying to do whatever is in their capacity. There's certainly many church leaders who are stepping forward to care for those in need." He added, "I think you're seeing ministries, you're seeing a number of churches throughout the Houston area who have opened up shelters are caring for people."
Meanwhile, Joel Osteen issued a statement saying church members are assisting at already established centers of refuge.
"We are working diligently with the city of Houston to mobilize our many volunteers at shelters around the city as well as various other points of need in and around the Houston area." He added the church plans to help Houston residents get back on their feet in the months ahead. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives," he said.
Earlier in the week, Osteen said he was prepared to convert his church into an emergency shelter. However, pictures on social media seemed to indicate the church was too heavily damaged by flooding to admit people. On the other hand, images of accessible entrances also started showing up online.
Lakewood staffers pointed out that during a previous flood in Houston, when the church was located in a different building, they turned it into an emergency shelter while at the same time, Houston Rockets games were canceled due to flooding when the team played at the Compaq Center.
Lakewood officials point out that in addition to housing displaced flood victims right now, they will be distributing much-needed supplies such as food and clothing to families who suffered property losses.