My turn: Jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My turn: Jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst

Pastor Joel Osteen gives an interview at his Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Osteen and his congregation have set up their church as a shelter for evacuees from the flooding by Tropical Storm Harvey. (AP Photo/LM Otero) Pastor Joel Osteen gives an interview at his Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Osteen and his congregation have set up their church as a shelter for evacuees from the flooding by Tropical Storm Harvey. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The news moves fast these days.  But it’s disturbing to me to see how quickly people can make assumptions and think the worst at even the littlest bit of information available.  A couple examples in the news this week seem to fall into that category. 

First…the pastor Joel Osteen was taking quite a bit of heat for the slow response of his church to open its doors in Houston to flood victims.  Pastor Osteen explained they were having flooding and staffing issues as well and not prepared at the time to take people in.  Now they are. 

Whether it was social media shaming or logistical issues that forced the pastor’s hand, it is ridiculous to me that so many people immediately thought Osteen and his church simply didn’t care to help those who were suffering.

The second outrage this week involved our First Lady. For some reason, some people were up in arms about the fact that Melania Trump wore high heels on the way to Texas to attend a hurricane briefing. Some thought it was inappropriate for the setting.  Perhaps, but who cares? It’s her choice and it amazes me people felt the need to even discuss it. 

Some of you may hear this and feel the immediate need to respond to my comments!  That’s great.  But let’s all avoid the rush to judgment when it really isn’t necessary.  You really make yourself look more foolish than the person you’re trying to condemn.   

That’s my turn. Now it’s your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at 

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

Emailed comments from viewers:

Gary, For once your editorial on jumping to conclusions matches my viewpoint . Much ado about nothing regarding Pastor Joel Osteen and Melania's stilettos, especially when there have been countless examples of heroism and selflessness in Houston over the past 4 days. Marguerite Alison White, Leland, NC


Well said, Gary. I get the same from all sides in letters to the editor. 
We could use a little Will Rogers-inspired goodwill toward each other. My theory is that, since social media is so impersonal, we don't see the humanity in all of these people we engage with online. I know I'm guilty of the same too often. 
I really enjoy your commentaries. Keep up the good work. 


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I was appalled at the attacks on Joel Osteen as well as the ridiculous ridicule on our First lady Melania. We live in a time of tremendous opportunity in our Country. Opportunities to encourage, inspire, lift up, lend a hand, help the hurting, give of ourselves, give our time, use our God given talents, open our hearts, our doors, share a meal, give monetarily when we can,  and most of all love without expectations.  It is terrible shame there are many who waste those opportunites on negative, judgemental and uncaring comments. We all have heard the old saying, "Didn't your mother ever tell you if you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all". How we all could have that tattooed on our foreheads. 


Thank you SO much for calling this craziness about judgement for what it is!  


Thank you for your words of wisdom. What Mrs. Trump wears is of no consequence. Taking any attention away from major issues like hurricane Harvey does us all a disservice.

So again thanks for your efforts to bring attention to the foolishness of such frivolous comments. 


I can't believe how people jump to judge. 


Thank you so much for commenting on the pettiness of criticizing our sophisticated First Lady about her shoes. No one seemed to comment on Michele Obama getting off Air Force One in cutoff jean shorts and a tee shirt. We should be proud of the way Melania Trump represents our country and I too am tired of the bullies who just want to judge and criticize. 


    First of all I am a loyal listener to WECT, you guys are great. I am responding to what you said about Joel Osteen. There was an interview with Joel on the TODAY show that to me was very telling. I try not to judge anyone but at the same time I do not like hypocritical people. I have to question mega churches to begin with, all the leaders of these massive churches live in multi million dollar homes, some have several homes. Most have private jets and that seems to be excessive to me. Joel has two homes and one is worth $10,000,000.00. A minister deserves to make a reasonable living but does he need two homes, one a
$10,000,000.00 home and a private jet when there are people who are in need every day in the US that the church could help more. Joel stated that his church doors are always open and they were working closely with the city but the city didn't need him as a shelter and if the city had asked early on he would have been a shelter. He went on to say there were liability concerns. He said the building had flooded before and they had installed flood gates to prevent flooding but no mention of any current flooding this time. He stated they didn't have volunteers or staff that could get there. I am sure that out of about 50K members there were some that could not have gotten there to help but  I am sure not all 50K members were flooded or could not get there. There was an interview with Joel's brother and his brother did say his daughter, the niece that Joel mentioned was stranded under an overpass but Joel said that she was across the street from the church. So, which is true? Osteen said on Sunday that rising waters approached a foot from the top of the church’s flood barriers after the storm, which prevented the organization from responding sooner.  But in a different live interview with the TODAY show he said the reason he didn't open his doors (that he stated are never shut) was because the city didn't ask him to. Another quote from Joel, “Had we opened the building sooner and someone got injured or perhaps the building flooded and somebody lost their life, that would be a different story.” So on any given Sunday anyone who enters the church could accidentally fall, hit their head and die from their injuries but yet Joel keeps the doors open when there is tons of money coming in not worrying about someone accidentally dying from an accident on church grounds. So what is the real reason why Joel Osteen didn't open his doors to people in need? My experience in life is if you are not telling the truth a story has a tendency to change and if you are telling the truth the story never changes. Lets look at private citizens and small businesses. I am pretty sure no one who came from surrounding areas, other states and locals with boats to rescue thousands of people had any liability insurance nor was that ever a concern. I am pretty sure most of the volunteers that rescued thousands of people did not wait to be asked by the city or anyone to help. There was a furniture store, a mattress store and a bowling alley that without being asked to be a shelter, or without hesitation of any kind opened their doors to flood victims with no concerns about liabilities or possible flooding. He made several excuses in interviews and changed them several times which should cause anyone to question where his heart was. Just because Joel Osteen is of celebrity status and the religious leader of a mega church does not give him automatic respect, that has to be earned. I am not comparing Joel Osteen to anyone else but I remember Jim and Tammy Baker, so many people were taken by those crooks that pretended to be religious. Unfortunately this day and time one has to be very cautious who they believe or trust especially when it involves money. Just my opinion.

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