The Joel Osteen hoax about the senior pastor resigning has been confirmed by the Lakewood Church staff and by a Twitter post from Joel Osteen himself.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Joel Osteen hoax began on a fake church website called joelostenministries.com, which looks almost identical to the original Joel Osteen Ministries website at JoelOsteen.com. As of this writing, the Joel Osteen hoax website is down.
They’ve also posted a fake YouTube video and bogus Twitter page —twitter.com/PastorJoelOsten. This is the Joel Osteen resignation statement from the Joel Osteen hoax website:
“Deep down in my heart, for a number of years now, I have been questioning the faith, Christianity and whether Jesus Christ is really my, or anyone’s, ‘savior.’ I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times. There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God. In fact, there is zero evidence ‘God’ even exists.”
The Joel Osteen hoax also claims he was attempting to liquidate the assets of the church but that church officials were fighting back. While there seemed to be evidence that Joel Osteen resigning was not true, the Joel Osteen hoax was not confirmed until later in the day. Lakewood Church representative Andrea Davis said church officials were aware of the Joel Osteen hoax and other “false rumors.”
A Twitter tweet from Joel Osteen himself today does not seem to indicate any loss of faith:
Desire the praise of God more than the praise of people. You have an assignment, a purpose, a destiny.— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) April 8, 2013
Lakewood Church officials declined to comment on whether they’d prosecute the perpetrators of the Joel Osteen hoax. Houston attorney Charles Babcock said a lawsuit based upon libel or slander would be difficult:
“There are protections for parody and satire, but the issue is whether a reasonable person would believe that the publication was indeed satirical, or a parody of something. The question is whether things being put out about the church could be deemed as defamatory.”
Do you believe the perpetrators of the Joel Osteen hoax should be held responsible? If so, how?