HOUSTON, Texas — A $4.4 million loan from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program was given to Pastor Joel Osteen's Houston, Texas megachurch in July.
NBC News reports that over 90,000 religious groups received a combined sum of $7.3 billion in PPP loans, five being megachurches.
Church spokesperson Andrea Davis told NBC News that the PPP loan provided full salaries and benefits including health insurance coverage to all of its 368 full and part-time workers and their families while the church was shut down.
#TaxTheChurches started trending on Twitter after news broke, as churches and religious organizations are exempt from paying government taxes.
Davis said Osteen and his wife Victoria received no PPP funds and have not taken a salary since 2004.