Joel Osteen, devastated

An attempted mass shooting in a megachurch failed.

A woman in a trenchcoat opened fire with a long gun inside celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Texas before being gunned down by two off-duty officers who confronted her and sending worshippers rushing out of the building between busy Sunday services, authorities said.

The woman, who entered the Houston church shortly before 2 p.m. local time, was accompanied by a five-year-old boy, who was shot and taken to hospital in critical condition.

The woman is dead. A bystander was wounded. The kid is in critical condition. Joel Osteen is devastated.

Osteen joined police at a news conference and said the church is “devastated.” But he added that the shooting could have been much worse if it had happened during the larger 11 a.m. service.

In case you’ve ever been curious about what a devastated, grieving Osteen would look like, here he is.

I think he has this reflex where whenever a camera points his way, he’s got to flash those choppers. It’s creepy and weird. The grim old guys surrounding him clearly lack the Osteen face.

Here he goes, again:

We’re going to stay strong and we’re going to continue to, to move forward. There are forces of evil, but the forces that are for us — the forces of God — are stronger than that. So we’re going to keep going strong and just, you know, doing what God’s called us to do: lift people up and give hope to the world.

Nice words…but then I noticed the truck behind him. He’s just reading slogans off the signs around his megachurch!

I only realized after he got away…Joel Osteen is Keyser Söze! It all makes sense now.


  1. StevoR says

    So were does Joel Osteen stand on the 2nd Amendment now and before? Is he a gun-grper or not?

    (Yes, I could google but meh.Too tired.)

  2. cheerfulcharlie says

    From the Houston Chronicle
    “We don’t understand why these things happen, but we know that God is in control,” Osteen said.
    Yeah, God could have stopped this but didn’t, because….?

    Osteen preaches the prosperity theology, the idea that people can escape poverty and even find wealth through their devotion to God.

    Sell all you have and give to the poor? “Jesus didn’t mean ME!”

  3. cheerfulcharlie says

    @ Tin Gueguen

    Osteen has described himself as an “encourager” and rarely addresses or even acknowledges the fundamental mysteries of Christianity, let alone such contentious issues as same-sex marriage or abortion, according to a 2018 profile by former Houston Chronicle reporter Katherine Blunt.

    Olsteen is a happy clappy Christian prosperity preacher who avoids the right wing culture war stuff. One reason he became so popular.

  4. raven says

    “We don’t understand why these things happen, but we know that God is in control,” Osteen said.

    Osteen hasn’t drawn the obvious conclusion or maybe he has and isn’t going to tell anyone.

    God is in control and everything happens for a reason.
    God doesn’t like Joel Osteen or his church.

  5. raven says


    Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders from various Christian denominations, including within some Pentecostal and charismatic movements, who maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to the Bible.[2] Secular as well as Christian observers have also criticized prosperity theology as exploitative of the poor.

    Most xians including a lot of fundie xian sects, oppose the prosperity gospel, which is what Osteen preaches.

    And lives. Joel Osteen’s net worth is estimated at $50-100 million.
    “Joel Osteen’s collection of cars is valued at over $15 Million.”

    While the prosperity gospel clearly has worked for Osteen, there is no evidence that it works for the vast majority of people who follow the prosperity gospel and are members of the various prosperity gospel churches.

    The prosperity gospel is a form of magical thinking or xian witchcraft, invoking a powerful supernatural being to do what you want it to do.

  6. robro says

    Does he need to read the slogans on signs around him? I suspect he has these platitudes deeply burned into his neurons. He doesn’t need to read them, just splutter them out at appropriate or inappropriate times.

    The big questions will be: Who was the woman? Was she a member of the church? Did she have someone in particular in mind? Can we determine a motive?

  7. muttpupdad says

    He has to read the slogans on the signs because he has never bothered to read the book that they supposedly came from. If he did he would have quite a surprise.

  8. robro says

    muttpupdad @ #10 — I appreciate it’s a common theme that Christians don’t read the Bible, except very selectively, and it’s probably true in many case. However, I’ve known quite a few Christians who read every word of it repeatedly, although they read it through the filter of their biases so they don’t see what others might see. Osteen could be in that camp. But even if he hasn’t read the Bible exhaustively he has probably spouted his platitudes often enough to have them firmly etched in his brain. I wouldn’t be surprised that he can ad lib his “prosperity gospel” quoting supporting bible passages and citing chapter and verse without even opening the book.

  9. robro says

    ABC is reporting that the woman’s gun had “Free Palestine” on it. She apparently also said something about a bomb after she was shot but before she died.

  10. says

    I just listened to the video clip those photos were taken from. My dog, he’s a terrible speaker. The quote was greatly cleaned up, because every few words, he has to interject a “you know”. He sounded like a junior high kid with no experience in public speaking.

  11. raven says

    We all wonder who the shooter is and why she did it.
    The police know who she was, someone who lived in Conroe Texas, 40 miles from the Houston Church.

    The shooter used an AR-15 that had “Free Palestine” written on it, according to a federal law enforcement source. Investigators are trying to sort out whether she was politically motivated or a disturbed individual, the source said.

    It isn’t clear what “Free Palestine” has to do with Joel Osteen’s church. Which is in Texas, not the Middle East.

    It also isn’t clear why she brought what is likely her own 5 year old child with her. This was not the time to worry about finding a babysitter on short notice.

  12. robro says

    PZ Myers @ #13 — I wonder if that “you know” is a Texas thing. My boss is a 30-ish year old from Austin, Texas and her speech is peppered with pacing phrases like “you know” and “uh yeah”. Sometimes it’s difficult for an old fellow like me to follow what she’s saying because there are so many interjections.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    In parts of the old country, they say ‘ye ken’.

    But most of us have linguistic tics we keep repeating when under stress. I bet he can perform better when in his element – otherwise he would not separate the rubes from their money so successfully.

  14. cheerfulcharlie says

    Reports are coming in that the woman has been identified. She seems mentally unstable. She has a long criminal record, and has been repeatedly violent. yet, she had acquired a rifle. We need better red flag laws.

  15. raven says

    The shooter who entered Lakewood Church on Sunday with a long rifle and child in tow has been identified as Genesse Ivonne Moreno, according to multiple sources.

    The 36-year-old previously identified as Jeffrey Escalante and had prior arrests for assault, forgery, marijuana possession, theft, evading and unlawful carrying of a weapon, according to KHOU’s Jeremy Rogalski. Accoring to a Texas Department of Public Safety records search, her criminal report dates back to 2005.


    Make of it what you will.
    She appears to be a Hispanic of some sort from her name and photo.

    She is apparently not very good with a rifle.
    AFAICT, she fired 12 shots at close range and didn’t hit anyone.

  16. Jim Balter says

    I’ve known quite a few Christians who read every word of it repeatedly

    No, you really haven’t. People who actually do that become atheists.

    For those asking what “Free Palestine” has to do with Joel Osteen, you may not be aware that there’s this thing called the internet with a search function that can access vast amounts of data on nearly any topic.

  17. raven says

    HOUSTON (AP) — The young boy who was critically injured in a shooting at a Texas megachurch on Sunday was the son of the shooter, authorities said Monday.

    Police identified the shooter as 36-year-old Genesse Ivonne Moreno, and said Moreno had a history of mental illness, including being placed under emergency detention in 2016. Investigators had not yet established the shooter’s motive.

    Moreno used an AR-style rifle before being killed by off-duty officers working security at celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.

    Police said Moreno’s son remained in critical condition on Monday with a gunshot wound to the head. The boy was initially described on Sunday as a 5-year-old.

    The child is not expected to survive, gunshot wound to the head.

    This looks more like a murder suicide.
    The murder being her 5 year old kid who had no good reason for being there.
    Suicide by cop.

  18. John Morales says

    As Marcus noted, his visage has evidently suffered a shitload of cosmetic surgery.
    He’s hit that uncanny valley stage, the one before the outré look.

  19. gijoel says

    On the plus side, Osteen was on hand to provide the immediate thoughts and prayers that prevented this from becoming a greater tragedy. /s

    Also why the fuck would you bring your child to a place you plan to shoot up. Fuck that’s bad.

  20. imthegenieicandoanything says

    If people like him weren’t DOING evil, harmful and murdering things, I’d be able to help them.

    If only they were honest even in the useless, stupid insanity they pretend.

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    @4 Marcus Ranum: “botx”

    Yes. Not smiling may no longer be within his capabilities.

  22. Hemidactylus says

    chigau (違う) @29
    Most definitely a clone of Tim Allen. It’s uncanny! Glad someone else notices the resemblance.

  23. robro says

    Jim Balter @ #20 — Obviously, you can’t know anything about the people I’ve known, so you’re just pontificating from stereotypes.

  24. silvrhalide says

    Osteen joined police at a news conference and said the church is “devastated.”

    Well, he might be–at least some of those shot would have been contributing church members, at least in the financial sense. Plus, the shooting might keep other worshippers (marks) away, which means that the revenue stream is down. Unfortunately for him, between the cut-rate plastic surgery and Botox, his face isn’t up to the task of expressing it.

    He sounded like a junior high kid with no experience in public speaking.

    So… he has about 6 years more public school education than the marks he’s busy fleecing.
    PT Barnum was right. There really is a sucker born every minute and these fools like to brag about how they were born twice.

    @23 & 26 I look at that poor kid and think of Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments and attachment theory.,cowered%20and%20avoided%20the%20object.

    Don’t ever tell me that taking kids away from their parents is invariably cruel.

  25. Hemidactylus says

    Actually I see a bit of online banter that if Martin Short did an impersonation of Tim Allen, Joel Osteen would be the result.

  26. raven says

    Moreno had used multiple aliases, including Jeffery Escalante, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety records search. HPD said they haven’t found any evidence that she identified as anything but female.

    According to the Houston PD, the shooter was a female who identified as…a female.
    She used a variety of aliases which included both male and female names. For unclear reasons.
    She does have a history of crimes including forgery.

    Why is this relevant?
    If you read the comments to any of the many articles on this shooting, the usual toxic trolls are claiming she was a transgender Illegal immigrant from El Salvador who was attacking xians.

    None of which seems to be true.
    She isn’t an illegal immigrant.
    She doesn’t seem to be transgender.
    It’s not clear why she attacked Osteen’s church but she and her mother once attended that church.

    She was involved in a custody dispute with her ex-husband that was heated.

    My impression is that this was someone struggling through life with a messed up mind.

  27. Jim Balter says

    Jim Balter @ #20 — Obviously, you can’t know anything about the people I’ve known, so you’re just pontificating from stereotypes.

    You obviously can’t know what those people have actually read and are just making shit up and being a dick.

  28. Hemidactylus says

    Balter’s being an abrasive jerk again. Water is wet. Some lack in life he’s making up for?

  29. Kagehi says

    @31 robro

    Ok, lets give you your premise that some of them actually read the thing cover to cover, but just have very warped perceptions of the content. I would argue that this is a direct consequence of one of two things – 1. Not understanding the contents, outside of what someone else (likely a priest or their church) tells them to believe its words mean, which would hardly be a surprise given what we also see in right wing politics, where literally every freaking word in the universe has its own alternate right wing meaning, which they are repeatedly told is the correct one – i.e., they fail at thinking for themselves on such matters, and/or 2. they suffer from the same symptom as nearly all of the rest, which is that, no matter how many times they read the entire thing, their church time is filled with some ass repeating the same passages over and over again, and crying out, “And this is what this means in this sin filled world.”, while only addressing the entire rest of the contents of the book when directly confronted – at which point they send said content through a blender, to try to reconnect it back to the same sermons, such that the passage could be describing murder, or money lending, and both passages, according to them, are, at least this week, about communism.

    So, sure, someone can make an intellectually dishonest, and disconnected from world history, any other culture, outside the one inside their own church, and basic word meaning, reading of the entire thing, and kind of like a MAGA member watching all the evidence of a certain ex-officials crimes deciding its all a “witch hunt”, leap to conclusions that are utterly irrational, unfounded in reality, and biased to the point where they are no so much wearing blinders, as they are doing the intellectual equivalent of beating themselves in the face, until their eyes swell shut, so that they see the “right way”.

    But… did such a person actually “read it” for comprehension, or are they like the person who thinks the song “Every Step You Take” is a love song, instead of about a stalker? I.e., not paying attention at all to anything but how catchy it seems to be to them?

  30. John Morales says


    Balter’s being an abrasive jerk again. Water is wet. Some lack in life he’s making up for?


    Let’s see if you grasp this:
    You’re complaining about someone again. Water is wet. Some lack in life you’re making up for?

    (How does that come across? ;)

  31. Hudd Joff says

    Good effing Allah, Pizz. You take two convenient still shots that fit your narrative out of several minutes of live footage and use them against Osteen. How much lower can you get? I have absolutely no love for Osteen’s preaching, but what a disgusting act of blatant lying on your part. A mentally ill woman with a lengthy criminal history is dead. Two innocent people are injured — one is her young son who sadly got hit by crossfire and is fighting for his life, and you have the blatant, audacity to pull crap like this out of your fat, hairy, dildo-stuffed backside? You are a disgusting excuse for a human being. Go back to the puddle of organic goo you crawled out of, scum. Buddha H. Siddhartha.

  32. KG says

    Hudd Joff@41,
    Your outrage would be more credible if you omitted this sort of homophobic tosh:

    pull crap like this out of your fat, hairy, dildo-stuffed backside?

    but thanks for telling us so clearly where you’re coming from.

    The only live footage I can find shows Osteen looking far from devastated – indeed, remarkably cheerful – in his post-shooting statement. What do you have that shows anything conflicting with PZ’s assessment?

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