Is the media being too hard on Joel Osteen? Perhaps, but he did choose to tweet religious platitudes instead of first revealing his plans to help. Secular people do not understand that tactic.
I cannot say regarding Osteen’s initial response that he is heartless. I can only point out that when you are highly popular, and you represent Christianity, it comes with a price. That price is that your every word and action is scrutinized. Everyone who seeks fame knows that is the price. Call it unfair if you wish, but it is the same for “haint” or saint.
That said, some Osteen apologists are slamming Christians for chastising Osteen. They claim the seats are bolted down in the sanctuary, which does not allow rooms for cots. I’d personally rather sleep in a padded chair than stand in floodwater. However, there are probably plenty of rooms attached to the sanctuary that have removable chairs. So bolted down chairs in the sanctuary is not an excuse. Now he has the appearance of responding to pressure rather than genuine compassion.
I think the reason Osteen did not present his plan to help the flood victims before he tweeted his religious cliché’s is because he didn’t think about it. Consider his past numerous whacky statements, the shallowness and heresy-ridden preaching, books filled with pabulum, association with Oprah Winfrey, et cetera. Obviously, we give him too much credit as a quick or deep thinker.
In all possibility, the failure Osteen is guilty of is not contacting his PR person before he responded to the disaster. Apparently, he has corrected that mistake. However, he will have a much more difficult task correcting public opinion of his absent compassion. A consolation is that he has a mansion he can sequester in until the storm passes by. Hopefully, he will deep think about his response to the crisis and realize that in such catastrophe actions speak. Without them words may be repelled as odoriferous.