Joel Osteen hoax: Televangelist not closing ministry over 'lack of faith'

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Pastor Joel Osteen, of the Lakewood Church in Texas, is at the center of an elaborate online hoax. Someone created a series of fake websites, all pointing to the idea that Osteen was leaving the megachurch and closing his ministry due to a loss of faith, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Whoever was behind the hoax went so far as to create a fake Twitter account and upload videos to YouTube, all claiming Osteen was leaving his church. In a message labeled an "official statement," the person posing as Osteen says the real issues one should focus on are the destruction of the environment, and genetically-modified foods, among other things.

The hoaxer continues, saying assets are being liquidated, with the majority of Osteen's fortune going to the Salvation Army. The statement also announces a fundraiser for Osteen on April 20. In many places, April 20 is unofficially known as a cannabis culture holiday.

A representative for Joel Osteen Ministries addressed the hoax on their official Twitter account, calling it a "false rumor." "Pastor Joel is not leaving the church," the tweet reads. The Twitter account associated with the hoax, meanwhile, has been suspended.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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