Joel Osteen the Victim of an Elaborate Resignation Hoax
April 9, 2013
Mega-church pastor Joel Osteen was the victim of an elaborate hoax that led some to believe he was leaving his Houston congregation. Last week, a fake website (that was made to look like Osteen’s real ministry homepage) posted a made-up “letter” from the evangelist in which he said he no longer believed the Bible, was renouncing his faith and leaving his church. The people behind the site, also set up a fake Twitter account they used to perpetuate the lies. Though Osteen hasn’t ruled out taking some sort of legal action, in an interview with ABC News, he seemed to take it all in stride. “I’m really not angry. I don’t feel like a victim” …
Update: In an email exchange with NPR, the person claiming to be behind the hoax said that his motivation was not to defame Joel Osteen, but to rather “stage, for a moment, a plausible scenario of his hypothetical resignation". He said that he has received an enormous amount of email through an address provided on the fake site. “About 60 percent of literally thousands of comments and emails have been positive, affirming messages from Christians praying for me." He said the rest of the feedback was either from "very angry, upset Christians" or "atheists and freethinkers and 'back slid' Christians". Another motivation for the prank: “to somehow appear on The Daily Show so I can make one of my good friends jealous."