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The church received the loan as part of the federal government’s pandemic stimulus package, per the Houston Chronicle's report. Specifically, the millions in PPP for Lakewood were made possible by way of the federal CARES Act, which detailed the purposes of the loans as existing to provide wages or other operational costs. In a first, the program included the allowance of direct financial assistance to places deemed "houses of worship."
Reps for Lakewood, as noted in Robert Downen's report, said early this summer they had not applied for a loan. Furthermore, the church's name was not featured on a Small Business Administration list of recipients shortly after the first round of applicants. A loan for Lakewood, however, was approved in mid-July following the reopening of the program. In July the Chronicle reported that more than a thousand groups of the religious variety in the state of Texas had been given hundreds of millions of dollars.
Naturally, the general public is not too thrilled by the idea of Joel "Miracles in Your Mouth" Osteen's church landing millions in PPP funds:
"THEY IN A PANDEMIC, WE IN A BANDEMIC" - Joel Osteen https://t.co/UIQf69i4UE
— ★ Marito ★ (@itsmemario__) December 15, 2020
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) December 15, 2020
People just realizing Joel Osteen is a grifting charlatan dirtbag... pic.twitter.com/Y0vCTohfNQ
— Lacy Collar (@RBGsCollar) December 15, 2020
America in a nutshell. More money for those who don't need it, nothing for those who do https://t.co/l8BNyFDOYM
— Tre (@Treg2Cole) December 15, 2020
Joel Osteen claimed his church took no PPP money, but his congregation was just one of many that received MILLIONS. This is just another reason why churches should be taxed if they are going to get business benefits. https://t.co/EpAIaHDdRA
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) December 15, 2020
— Realident says “Lets get Georgia!” (@realident) December 15, 2020
Joel Osteen is the biggest fucking phony and fraud I have ever experienced in my life. https://t.co/jKksYMw9Oo
— ivan🧋 (@ivxnvtor) December 15, 2020
— MikO Hammam (@thebestnation) December 15, 2020
— Victoria Aveyard (@VictoriaAveyard) December 15, 2020
On the same day the PPP news started making the rounds, Osteen took to Twitter to share some yawn-inducing godstuff.
"God is giving you the opportunity to grow, to come up higher," Osteen, whose 2020 has included walking on water with Kanye West, said. "He's getting you prepared to handle the weight of favor, the weight of influence."
— Anklh_S (@anklh_s) December 15, 2020
For more examples of televangelism-related fuckery, look here.
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