Pastor Joel Osteen has no intention of apologizing even as he continue to face withering criticism over his decision not to immediately open doors of his Houston megachurch in order to shelter Harvey flood victims, he told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday.The popular televangelist said he isn’t concerned about his critics on social media who have taken turns blasting Osteen for initially saying church was flooded even though it was largely dry. ‘We’re concerned with these people [victims now at church] and how they move forward,’ he said ET.’And there were safety issues that people don’t understand. But, I really believe that if people were in my shoes, they would have done same thing.’When building is clear, when it’s safe, we can start taking people. That’s what we have done for 60 years. We love helping people and that’s what our message is all about.’Osteen said the public failed to grasp safety issues that he says prevented him from initially offering the church as a shelter. ‘You know, it depends on what day that is,’ he told ET.’I think another thing that people don’t understand it could flood. That street could flood and in 14 hours it can be down.’So, you can’t go by that. I have video of it flooded on either Saturday night or Sunday night, I can’t remember. But, you know, it can go down in 14, 15 hours.’The televangelist says that if he had chance to do it all over again, he would have acted differently.’Knowing what I know now, I would have put staff in here before storm hit, put beds, do everything we could to be prepared,’ he says.’When it catches us by surprise, even when cities overflow and, you know, nobody dreams that shelters will overflow.’Hindsight, it’s 20/20, but we got to move forward and do what we’ve done for last 60 years and take care of these people, help them rebuild their lives, bring hope to their spirits and let them know that they can come out of this stronger than before.’When asked about reaction on social media, Osteen says he invokes a higher power.
‘I don’t spend any energy on Twitter universe or social media,’ he told.’And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. I just don’t put any energy into it. I mean, life is too short to put energy into negative emotion and I feel at peace because we did right thing.”Hey, my reputation is in God’s hands and he can take care of that,’ he told.’We’re going to continue to help people.’Osteen says he is now focused on soliciting donations to help victims both spiritually and financially.Tyler Perry told TMZ that he is planning to give $250,000 to Osteen’s church.It is part of a total pledge of $1million that he is setting aside for benefit of flood victims.
‘It’s a long-term effort,’ he told.’So, we’ll put together teams that will go out and help fix houses, repair sheet rock.’We’re working with relief organizations and this is their specialty.’But one thing about Lakewood, we have thousands of volunteers, people that want to help. That’s what you see today.’Interview with ET is the latest media appearance by Osteen who is fighting back amidst a public relations backlash.In an interview with Today show Wednesday morning, Osteen said that his church has worked with city in the past, but that the city didn’t reach out to use them as a shelter before Hurricane Harvey hit.Harvey made landfall on Friday, and left thousands displaced. But Lakewood Church wasn’t opened up until Tuesday, because of safety concerns, Osteen told.’If people were here, they’d realize that there were safety issues,’ Osteen told.’This building had flooded before, and so we were just being precautious. But the main thing is that city didn’t ask us to become a shelter then.’He added ‘I mean think of the story if we would have housed a whole bunch of evacuees and the building flooded. That wouldn’t have been a good story.’During storm, the multi-millionaire televangelist says that his own niece became stranded just across street and that the building was just a foot away from becoming flooded itself.He says he might have done some things differently if he had a second chance, but that he doesn’t think they would have opened any sooner.Because city hadn’t asked them to become a shelter, Osteen says they weren’t prepared to open building as an official shelter because they didn’t have the volunteers or staff in place.Osteen drew flak on social media when it was revealed that his church wasn’t opened sooner.He wanted to set record straight, saying that in fact they did welcome some stranded victims a few days after landfall and that they never turned anyone away. They just weren’t set up as an official shelter.