Critics have been in an uproar after a picture of Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas was placed next to pictures of a $325,000 Ferrari. The caption purports that the expensive car belongs to the pastor.
Many were outraged at the alleged purchase given Osteen’s appeal for donations for his ministry. Twitter was not short of such criticism for the megachurch pastor.
“Joel Osteen has made religion a lucrative career and the fact that he drives a $325,000 Ferrari as he asks people to send him money only shows how morally bankrupt he is,” wrote one user.
“Ferrari is trending,” said Mrs. Betty Bowers, a satirical character portrayed by comedian Deven Green. “That means either someone won a race or Joel Osteen took some of the money Jesus told him to give to the poor and went on another shopping spree.”
The film producer Franklin Leonard commented, “In Joel Osteen’s defense, Jesus also drove a $325,000 car and lived in a eight-figure 17,000 square foot home. You want him to park a Prius here? God don’t like ugly.”
The Babylon Bee, the satirical website dedicated to Christian news, wasted no time before it too took shots at Osteen. “Joel Osteen Unveils New Ultra-Thin Yacht That Can Fit Through The Eye Of A Needle.”
While people pointed out to the Osteen critics that he earns his money through book sales, a more important question is whether the claim in the original caption is true.
According to Churchleader.com, the Ferrari that Osteen was seen next to does not belong to him.
“In fact, the two photos do not even picture the same car. Of course, Osteen is wealthy and might actually own a luxury vehicle. But there is no evidence he owns either of the cars depicted in the meme,” the article noted.
According to Snopes, they label the allegation a “miscaption.”
“While Joel Osteen has an estimated net worth of more than $40 million, claims about the pastor’s exotic car collection are speculation. Furthermore, a set of photographs supposedly showing Osteen’s $325,000 Ferrari actually features an unrelated vehicle.”
“We have not been able to find any verified reporting that Osteen owns a $325,000 Ferrari,” said the site. “There don’t appear to be any photographs of Osteen driving this exotic sports car, and we have not been able to find any statements from Osteen in which he talks about an exotic collection. This rumor appears to be little more than an assumption.”