Monday, April 8, 2013

"Osteen Resigns" Hoax And Rick Warren Son's Suicide

fake: "Osteen Resigns" website

UPDATE: The fake Joel Osteen sites and Twitter are still up as of this writing. While I would imagine his lawyers are presently working to get all these things down, the apparent credulity of the American public -- some of which have apparently have "added" to the myth with additional fake "CNN" reports on their blogs -- is shocking. Imagine if the public was similarly manipulated on a number of other things via the coordinated use of such tools as fake sites, social media, Wikipedia, and the like...

I'm not saying these two stories are related at all, but I find the timing of both really interesting -- especially because both Pastors concerned are super-popular with the mainstream audience, and as  result have been the subject of severe criticism by other leaders in the Christian Church.

First, we have the announcement that best-selling Pastor Rick Warren's son Matthew has committed suicide.

Right after, we have this elaborate hoax that best-selling Pastor Joel Osteen has supposedly "quit" the Christian faith. This hoax is quite interesting, as it was elaborately constructed with a (misspelled: "Osten") domain name, separate Wordpress site reporting the "news" in some sort of AP format, and fake Twitter account.

Here, from the fake website, is a screen grab of the faux Osteen's "resignation":

Conducting a Whois domain search, this fake message is the creation of one Lucas Skass, from "BMG Enterprises LLC." Why was this hoax created? Was this the work of someone from the "Osteen isn't dogmatic enough" bandwagon? Or is this an "Anonymous"-type prank?

Whatever the case, by doing three very easy things -- creating a fake Twitter account, creating a free Wordpress account, and purchasing a similar-yet-different domain name -- this person has created mass havoc and confusion among Osteen's fellowship as of this writing.

Joel Osteen fake Twitter account
While you may not care for any sort of religion, "mainstream" or otherwise, it is the ease by which anybody can create this sort of disinformation that is most striking to me. This can be done -- with relatively little cost and technical skill -- to anyone whose agenda one wants to mess with. Imagine, then, what someone or some entity with a LOT of money can do.

Your "homework" is to figure out how extensively the online "message" can be manipulated in this fashion -- how and why.


  1. ""...WOE TO THESE PEOPLE OF EXCESS!... WOE TO ALL THESE CHURCHES OF MEN, WHO POLLUTE MY NAME AND STEAL FROM MY GLORY!... For they build great churches of brick and wood, magnificent buildings of concrete and steel, Yet the poor cry at the doors!... Yes, they build great and extravagant houses, They amplify their voices like the wind, Yet the cause of the widow and the fatherless goes unheard!... Only the neighing and writhing of all these lost sheep is before their faces!
    Shall I not recompense them for all these things?! Shall I not abase all these self-appointed leaders, in front of many witnesses?! Shall I not come upon them quickly and strip them of all their clothes, leaving them naked and desolate?!...""!

  2. Could not agree with you more, Nancy.

  3. Exodus 20:16

  4. But in that coming day
    no weapon turned against you will succeed...isaiah 54:17

  5. As much as Bible quote swapping can be fun, I often get this sense when I see them used this way that the words and phrases are used as a sort of metaphysical jiu-jitsu. Has anybody here ever watched "Naruto?"

  6. Anyway, you are all now Popes.

  7. When i first saw this hoax on Facebook last night with a link to the fake wordpress page, my first thought (which was never expressed until now here after having read this post) was that some anti-osteen, pro-warren idiot had started this hoax. You're right, timing is crucial.

  8. prakashtv -- as much as I'm not anti-Warren, I find that these two events happening literally one-after-another IS strange. I'm really interested in discovering what the motivations of the hoaxer(s) were, who they were connected to, and all that.