Pastor Joel Osteen, head of the popular Lakewood megachurch in Houston, Texas has come under fire recently for what some perceive as less than a definitive condemnation of racism. Osteen, who is a popular white pastor in the Black community was less declarative in his comments on racism than other white pastors, who were quick to denounce the alt-right.
“One of the biggest challenges we all face is getting along with people because everyone is different. We have different personalities, different temperaments. We come from different backgrounds. When somebody doesn’t agree with us or not doing what we like, it’s easy to get in conflict with them, to argue, to try to straighten them out, to prove our point. No, you have to be the bigger person. Just because they’re doing wrong doesn’t mean you have to engage,” Osteen wrote in a post on Facebook late Wednesday.
Osteen’s comments come after he was criticized in reports Wednesday for remaining silent on the issue and his pacific reaction did not resonate well with some of his fans.
Although he did not mention the issue of race specifically, many of his fans felt he compared racism to simply a difference of opinion or a personality conflict.
“How long is someone to remain calm when you are being beaten and murdered just because of the color of your skin?…You will NEVER understand because you have yet to experience it…please be mindful of what’s going on before you make comment such as this,” Ronke Allen replied.
“If it is an individual I can agree, but when systems disenfranchise entire populations something must be said and something must be done. You can do and say something however, in Christ, still reflecting His values and His ways. When Jesus saw injustice, He himself acted while espousing His Father’s views of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with His God,” Tracy Jones added.