Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, pushed back against claims that he’s guilty of “tickling” his parishioners’ ears and said this week that he believes churches aren’t doing enough to help Christian persecution that is raging across the globe.
“Are you tickling their ears, saying to them what they want to hear?” FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney asked Osteen in an interview on Tuesday, to which Osteen responded, “No” and explained his position.
“There’s a lot of hurt in the world. Our message is, ‘God has you in the palm of his hand,'” Osteen said. “Even in these difficult times he can help you to make it through, he can give you grace to handle every situation.”
He continued, “That’s what I feel like I’m called to do is to lift peoples’ spirits when so much is pushing them down.”
Watch Osteen’s response below:
Osteen also spoke about the need for churches to work harder to combat Christian persecution across the globe.
“Of course we pray, but I don’t think the church is doing enough, including our church,” Osteen told Varney. “We have organizations that we work with but I think there needs to be more done as it continues to, you know, as it continues to happen all over.”
Osteen’s comments came after Varney cited a recent report that found that 75 percent of all religious persecution unfolding across the globe targets Christians — a fact to which the pastor passionately reacted.
“It’s gotten worse and worse and, you know, with all the fighting over in the Middle East and…other parts of the world, it just continues,” Osteen said. “You know, there’s forces that are trying to stop all faiths, but especially the Christian faith, it happened way back when Jesus was here.”
Varney pressed Osteen as to whether he believes the Trump administration should take political action, to which Osteen said he doesn’t really get into the politics of these situations.
“I don’t get involved from the pulpit,” he said of politics more generally. “I want to reach the whole group … I dont want to turn half the people off.”