Days after marching with thousands in a George Floyd demonstration in downtown Houston, Texas, televangelist Joel Osteen said Monday that he thinks Floyd’s death represents a “turning point” and the incident “ignited” something in him.
The 57-year-old Osteen, who rarely makes his political opinions public, told African American Pastor John Gray during an hour-long conversation on race and the church Monday that issues of injustice and inequality are not political issues.
“I stay away from political issues but this is not a political issue,” Osteen said. “This is a human issue. Wrong is wrong and we want to lend our voice — you know this — but to stand with our black brothers and sisters and stand against injustice and the things that have been wrong.”
Osteen, the senior pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, one of America’s largest evangelical megachurches, was among many who marched last Tuesday in Houston against instances of police brutality and to pay tribute to Floyd.
Floyd was a 46-year-old Houston native who had moved to Minnesota to start a new life following several incarcerations, including a felony conviction for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in Texas. On Memorial Day, a store clerk at Cup Foods in Minneapolis called 911 to report that Floyd had given him a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes and that he appeared to be intoxicated.
After he was arrested and handcuffed at the scene, Floyd refused to get into the squad car, “fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic,” according to details in a criminal complaint against former officer Derek Chauvin who was later fired and charged with second-degree murder for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, even after Floyd had stopped moving and breathing.
Video of the incident sparked nationwide protests and renewed condemnation of instances of police brutality and calls for defunding police departments.
Osteen also participated in #BlackOutTuesday, a social media hashtag movement in which users posted pictures of black squares to show solidarity with the African American community.
“I know we can do better. I think this incident with George — and it’s not just him, it is what it represents — I feel like it is a turning point,” Osteen told Gray. “It has ignited something in me about, as I said, what can we do better.”
Osteen stressed that as “terrible” as Floyd’s death was, he is hopeful because “God takes what is meant for harm and He knows how to bring some good out of it.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith