A famous megachurch pastor in a (racist?) airplane rage! An extortionate flight attendant! A sham psychologist-for-hire who will say anything for the right price! All the ingredients for a cheap, trite courtoom novel are present in the case of Victoria Osteen, the co-pastor (with her husband Joel) of the 40,000-strong Lakewood megachurch in Texas, which is often used as a convenient public symbol of the creepy huge-church trend. Is Victoria a benign blond brainwashed by Jesus, or a sinister undercover bigot set to explode at any moment? Here are the holy facts:
Osteen is currently getting sued by flight attendant Sharon Brown for an air rage incident:
One of Ms. Brown's co-workers, Maria Johnson, told a jury of five women and seven men that Ms. Osteen "manhandled" her and Ms. Brown and charged toward the cockpit during a flight from Houston to Vail, Colo., in December 2005.
Ms. Osteen was upset about some liquid "about the size of quarter" on the armrest of her first-class seat, Ms. Johnson said.
Psycho! Plus, she pushed past all of the black employees to speak to a white person. Racist! But Brown seems a bit greedy:
Ms. Brown contends Ms. Osteen assaulted her and has filed a civil suit, seeking an apology and 10 percent of Ms. Osteen's net worth as compensation.
Ha, wow, quite a bit of money for getting yelled at! As a bonus, Osteen's lawyer is a clown:
Ms. Osteen's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said she acted "reasonably," given that it was an unknown substance on the armrest that prevented both her and her son from taking their seats...
Red-faced and waving his hands, Mr. Hardin asked [Brown] if she knew the Osteens' congregation was a third black and a third Hispanic.
And Brown's experts are equally shady!
Shayna Patrice Lee, a psychiatrist, testified that Ms. Brown suffers from "major depression" and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the scuffle.
She said that because Ms. Osteen was a well-known religious figure, her behavior caused Ms. Brown to "question the whole issue of spirituality."
Moreover, Dr. Lee, who said she had expertise in treating African-American patients, said Ms. Brown, as a black woman, was especially harmed because Ms. Osteen's behavior made her feel "demeaned and humiliated."
Overall, this would be a good time for god to start smiting people. Here's a video of Osteen and her pastor husband discussing their Jesus-based relationship. I am from the South and I fear these people: