Wednesday, December 21, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Wife Of Pastor At Largest U.S. Church Asked To Leave Plane

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Church Members Stand Behind Osteens

The FBI said the pastor of the nation's largest church and his family were kicked off a Continental Airlines flight to Colorado earlier this week.

The Rev. Joel Osteen of Houston's Lakewood Church, his wife, Victoria, and their two children had boarded a flight from Houston to Vail on Monday.

The plane's door had been closed when Victoria Osteen and a flight attendant had a disagreement.

"She failed to comply with the flight attendant's instructions and they were asked to leave the flight," FBI spokeswoman Luz Garcia said.

Garcia added that the flight was delayed for more than an hour while the Osteens' luggage was retrieved, but no charges will be filed.

The church released the following statement.

"The misunderstanding was minor and was resolved when Victoria voluntarily removed herself from the situation. The family was unhappy with the way things were going on the plane, and Victoria commends the airline for the efficient and gracious manner in which they handled the situation."

The Osteens took another flight to Colorado, where the family is skiing, a church spokesman said.

Lakewood Church members said there is no way that Victoria Osteen would have caused a scene with a flight attendant, reported KPRC-TV in Houston.

"We wouldn't be in a church with pastors that were mean or cruel in any way, and we've been here long enough to know them well," church member Shirley Kelly said.

"I know Victoria and I know Joel since he was a little boy. He's a great man. She's a great woman. And I stand with them, no matter what they say, because I love them dearly," church member Daniel Kelly said.