Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church is facing some serious backlash on social media after it was discovered the church was among large local congregations who initially reported they did not take a Paycheck Protection Program loan, only to be discovered they did.
Lakewood reportedly received a $4.4 million PPP loan as part of the CARES Act that provided loans to pay employee wages for other basic operational costs such as utilities. It was the first time federal lawmakers allowed for financial assistance to houses of worship in history.
In the summer, Lakewood officials said they had not applied for loan and the church wasn’t on the list of recipients released by the Small Business Administration. However, the SBA reopened the program later in the summer and recent data shows Lakewood’s loan was approved in mid-July.
In total, over 1,000 religious groups in Texas received hundreds of millions of dollars to retain a combined 59,000 jobs according to the Houston Chronicle.