Maybe he’s coming for some remedial education?

Joel Osteen, he of the nice tan, the big white teeth, and the megachurch of the prosperity gospel, is dropping by an elementary school in Washington DC. He and his wife will be ambling about, looking well-groomed and expensive for the cameras, and…I don’t know what. They say they’ll help out with the landscaping and read a book to the kids, but it sounds more like grandstanding to no purpose other then their own self-promotion to me. They claim they’re solely there for a purely secular promotion of education, but somehow, the school is going to be giving away books by the Osteens that yodel on about Christ.

It’s a funny business. I think it would be wonderful if more people were to participate helpfully in their schools…but the Osteens have no connection to this school, and honestly, no particular skills or knowledge that they could share with their students (weird theology and relentless glad-handing and begging for money don’t count). So why?

LIARS. The Osteens claimed they would read to the kids from Seuss’s The Lorax — of course they didn’t. Ms Osteen instead read from her own book, a Christian parable called Gifts from the Heart.

It’s like they’re not even trying to hide their deviousness and dishonesty.


  1. says

    He’s probably there to make sure the students aren’t given any problems to solve. Analytic thinking can decrease religious belief.

    “The study, published today in the journal Science, finds that thinking analytically increases disbelief among believers and skeptics alike, shedding important new light on the psychology of religious belief. . . .

    Researchers used problem-solving tasks and subtle experimental priming – including showing participants Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker or asking participants to complete questionnaires in hard-to-read fonts – to successfully produce “analytic” thinking. The researchers, who assessed participants’ belief levels using a variety of self-reported measures, found that religious belief decreased when participants engaged in analytic tasks, compared to participants who engaged in tasks that did not involve analytic thinking.”

    As long as I’m here, Here’s an End Times wacko I hadn’t encountered before.

  2. andusay says

    Why? Because it is NEVER too early to get a child started on the properity delusion… I mean gospel.

  3. otrame says

    You know, I kinda liked his Dad. Oh, I know what you’ll all say, but the old man actually acted like he had a heart buried under the bullshit and the sermons I saw were mostly about encouraging people to “be excellent to each other” and not much “send us money and God will give you a Mercedes Benz “. Compared to other big-time televangelists, he seemed almost decent.

    Joel is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    As for why he is doing the school, easy peasy. He’s going to run for President and he’s getting in some practice.

  4. says

    Joel Osteen has always been about selling the Joel Osteen Brand. A lot of fundamentalists hate him and the whole wealth-obsessed, “emergent church” fad he and idiots like Warren have going on.

  5. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    The Prosperity Gospel folks are particularly slimy in my view.

    “God loves you ant wants you to be rich!”

    “But I love god with all my heart and I’m still a poor dirt farmer”

    “You don’t love God enough!”

  6. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says


    Not to mention how useful this is in blaming the poor for being poor. It has nothing to do with taxation, or job training, or education, or anything else that might cost the rich a small amount of money. Oh, no. They are poor because they don’t believe the right things about the right things. Which means that they are poor because that is what God wants. And we can’t go against God, can we?

    The Prosperity Gospel has been a strong force in the dismantling of the USA’s social safety net, education system, and infrastructure (in my useless opinion, that is). It has been a wonderful way to get people to vote to make themselves, and their children, more poor.

  7. says

    I’ll repeat what I said over at JT’s.

    We went through this EXACT experience in Asheville, NC. Some nice Christians volunteered to do a landscaping project at a middle school and also offered a “non-sectarian motivational speech” for the kids.

    The principle sent a note of apology to the parents afterwards, because the content of the speech was proselytizing.

    Do NOT trust them. They will lie any lie to get in front of a group of trusting ears.

  8. baal says

    The other evil side of prosperity gospel comes up with groups like the family. They allow a corollary where being rich and powerful means you’re chosen by God so anything you do is ok (else God wouldn’t have gifted you wealth and power, right?).

  9. 'Tis Himself says

    “But I love god with all my heart and I’m still a poor dirt farmer”

    “You don’t love God enough!”

    The last line should actually be: “You don’t love God enough! You haven’t sent us enough money. ‘For whatever one sows, that will he also reap.’ (Gal 6:7) Send us enough money and God will give you money.”

    This is how the Prosperity Gospel works.

  10. pedantik says

    Of course, if Richard Dawkins were to visit this same school, announcing solely secular intentions, the school administration and the parents would have NO problem with this. Especially if he were distributing copies of ‘The Magic of Reality’.

    How soon can we arrange this?

  11. says

    “But I love god with all my heart and I’m still a poor dirt farmer”

    “You don’t love God enough!”


    If this was at a public school, it violates the 1st amendment.

    Like that’s any sort of deterrent to an evangelist.
    Hello, bile. Nice to see you again so soon.

  12. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Osteen is, like, a sticky ball of shit on the largest hemmorhoid of a baboon in some advanced stage of decompose. I wish him ill.

  13. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I take it back. My last comment is uncharitable to all the sticky balls of shit clinging like pimples to the anal varicosa of savannah catarrhines everywhere. I don’t know what come over me just then.

    A pox on Osteen.

  14. hypatiasdaughter says

    #8 Kevin
    EVERY educational or charitable act done by a fundie type xtian is ALWAYS about proselytizing.***
    From giving out a box of Kraft Dinner to a hungry family, to having an “educational debate” with a “darwinist”.
    Those debates aren’t about education, information, or correcting misconceptions – nope, there about getting a crowd of skeptics they can convert or doubters they can subvert with lies.

    (***Except for some of the moderate, lefty liberal xtians, who might do good because of their inherent human decency.)

  15. quentinlong says

    Generally speaking, schools are perennially short on cash. It occurs to me that this sort of Xtian duplicity might offer a partial solution to that problem. When an Xtian approaches a school with an offer to make some sort of secular presentation, the administration should nail down, in writing, exactly what the Xtian is supposed to do and, perhaps more importantly, what the Xtain is supposed to not do.
    “We love you, Rev. Holyroller, but… Those darned atheists have gotten so blasted uppity, and we’d just as soon not get sued. So you’ll have to sign this little document here, okay?”
    And there should be substantial financial penalties for violating the nailed-down terms of the agreement. Like, if they promise to read from THE LORAX, charge ’em $50K if they don’t read from THE LORAX. And, separate and distinct from the question of whether or not THE LORAX actually is read, $100K if they read from some sort of Xtian propaganda (which, of course, they shouldn’t be doing in the first place). Etc etc.
    “Gosh, Rev. Holyroller, I believe you when you say you won’t proselytise our students, but the district’s legal staff are a cruel and cynical lot. That silly hundred-thousand-dollar penalty clause? Don’t worry about it! Because you have promised that you won’t proselytise our students, so that clause is just a legalistic technicality that I couldn’t persuade the lawyers to leave out. Nothing that could possibly affect you, of course. I mean, unless you actually are going to proselytise our students… but you’re a man of God, so I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of breaking your word, right?”
    Handing out Jeebus-propaganda books, $1K per volume. Or perhaps $10 per sheet of paper with Jeebus-propaganda written on it, to avoid wrangling over oh, well, I didn’t hand out any books! just these innocent little flyers and pamphlets and tracts…
    This is a rough draft; anybody who cares to, should feel free to expand on the idea however they see fit.

  16. Doc Bill says

    They are not so much Liars for Jesus as they are Money for Me!

    Their “church” in Houston is the only church I’ve ever seen with the owner’s name on the sign: Joel Osteen’s Church. On an arena that used to host Rockets basketball games.

    And, yet, they suck millions of dollars out of the poorest and least employeed families in Houston.

    Totally. Disgusting.

  17. kreativekaos says

    hypatiasdaughter @ #17:

    Well said,…nail hit DIRECTLY on head.

    quentinlong @ #18:

    Really nice idea…. wish that were possible. I doubt that many–if any– parents, school boards or administrations would go along with that though. I’m sure they’d find trying to impose contracts and potential fees on breaking a signed agreement by their religious ‘speakers’ obtrusive and unfair.

    I know that many school systems rent out buildings and facilities to religious groups/churches on a regular basis and have been doing it for many decades. Even though their use of public school facilities happen after regular school hours and/or on Sundays, I have always found this very irritating.

  18. quentinlong says

    sez kreativekaos: “I doubt that many–if any– parents, school boards or administrations would go along with that though. I’m sure they’d find trying to impose contracts and potential fees on breaking a signed agreement by their religious ‘speakers’ obtrusive and unfair.”
    I don’t disagree with that. The thing is, my scheme only imposes fees on Xtian ‘speakers’ if they break their word. It’s one thing for an Xtian to violate the US Constitution, which is, after all, merely “Man’s law”, and therefore clearly inferior to God’s Law; it’s something else again if a Xtian violates their own sworn word. Xtians do like to go on about being “truth-seekers”, and there’s also the Ninth Commandment, “thou shalt not bear false witness”. My scheme forces Xtians to abide by their own rules, rules which they themselves assert to be handed down from God Himself. So if (okay, “when” is more like it, but still…) an Xtian whines about how such a contract is “obtrusive” and “unfair”, they are saying that their own rules, rules which they themselves profess to be of literally Divine provenance, are “obtrusive” and “unfair”.
    This gives us a highly potent PR weapon. All we need do is point out the hypocrasy, and remind the public that these guys can’t even be bothered to obey the rules that they want everybody else to follow.
    Also: Since the courts have been ruling in favor of the godless side in many of these cases, requiring an Xtian speaker to sign a ‘no-proselytizing’ pledge with teeth in it is really no more than simple financial prudence. Why wouldn’t a school’s administration want some assurance that an Xtian’s ‘presentation’ will not land the school in hot (Establishment Clause) water? Why wouldn’t a school’s administration want the jerkwad who got them into Constitution-related trouble, to compensate the school for expenses incurred as a result of that selfsame Constitution-related trouble? Imagine, if you will, that someone had asked this particular Washington DC school to make Osteen sign such a contract before allowing Osteen to do his proselytization thing. If the administration refuses to do this, how can they justify that refusal? In particular, how can they justify that refusal without revealing themselves as hypocrites and wannabe-Dominionists? I think my scheme doesn’t need to actually ever be implemented; if school administrations do act to impose financial penalties on Xtians who happen to be law-breaking (even Commandment-breaking!) liars, that’s great—and if they don’t do that, they are effectively on record as explicitly supporting the right of Xtians to lie and violate even those rules which they (Christians) make noise about how everyone should obey. This is not a bad thing, IMAO.
    Granted, there are lots of godbots who are perfectly capable of rationalizing away any amount of Xtian hypocrasy and yada yada yada. But there are also Christian Believers who do recognize when their co-religionists are doing evil — and there’s also the non-trivial, and growing, percentage of the US populace who do not belong to any Christian faith. Yes, absolutely, Xtians will find ways to while about how this is yet another of the myriad forms of ‘persecution’ which are rained down about simply Godly folk… but any time we can get these people to stand up for a position which boils down to “How dare those godless heathens force a fine, upstanding Christian like me to abide by the rules I assert to have been handed down by God Himself!”, we win.

  19. says

    Unless a lawyer offers to make these contracts for free, and defend them for free, schools aren’t going to go along with it because megabucks come with megalawyers, and they can afford to make an example with you.

  20. hexidecima says

    I wonder about people like this. For all their claims to believe in their bible and god, which supposedly hates lies and liars, they have no trouble lying. Since they ostensibly believe this god is real, do they think they are fooling their god? That they get special dispensation? Or, as seems likely, they don’t believe in the religion they profess at all and yep, are only in it for the money.

  21. truthspeaker says

    Hexidecima, maybe they interpret the 9th Commandment more strictly, to not bear false witness against your neighbor. It’s a sin to lie to other Christians of your denomination, but it’s OK to lie to the heathens and nonbelievers.

    Or maybe they’re taking Martin Luther’s advice:

    What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.

  22. paleotrent says

    Okay, this is totally irrelevant, but I can’t help myself. Who made their giant globe? Because it’s a travesty! Check out the size of the Arabian peninsula relative to East Africa – the Horn of Africa looks as if it’s 700km from Yemen!