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June 8th, 2012
12:22 PM ET

Police arrest Georgia megachurch pastor after disturbance at home

By John Murgatroyd and John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN)– Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta for an alleged assault on his 15-year-old daughter, police said Friday.

Deputies in Georgia's Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance about 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar's daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, said Investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

The daughter says the argument got physical.

She told the deputies that her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe.

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Dollar's daughter was able to get away and dial 911, Rowan said.

Deputies noticed a scratch on the daughter's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty.

Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened.

Dollar was booked into the Fayette County jail early Friday. A judge set his bail at $5,000 during a morning hearing, and he was released.

Dollar said in a statement released to the media from his attorney, "As a father I love my children and I always have their best interest at heart at all times, and I would never use my hand to ever cause bodily harm to my children. The facts in this case will be handled privately to further protect my children. My family thanks you for your prayers and continued support."

Dollar is a senior pastor of World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta, which claims about 30,000 members and has an $18 million sanctuary that resembles a golden-domed spaceship atop a hill.

He built an international religious empire, with broadcasts of his sermons beamed worldwide and speaking engagements in Europe.

A barrel-chested man who favors impeccably tailored pinstripe suits in the pulpit, Dollar preaches the Prosperity Gospel, a message that says God will bless faithful Christians with wealth and debt-free living.

Since he started his ministry in an elementary school cafeteria in 1986, Dollar has earned both praise and criticism.

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Supporters say he has preached a message that's financially empowered his parishioners and challenged the idea that Christians should be ashamed to be rich.

Critics call him "Cash-Flow Dollar," a pulpit prima donna who once refused to allow parishioners to touch him. They say his message perverts the Gospel.

Dollar has had brushes with the law before, according to a lengthy 2000 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

He was once cited for contempt of court for refusing to give a deposition during the divorce proceedings of boxer Evander Holyfield, who attended his church, according to the AJC.

The AJC profile also said that 100 police officers were admonished for receiving $1,000 apiece from Dollar. Dollar sent the money to honor the officers' community service, but the act was criticized because it came a month after two traffic tickets Dollar received were downgraded to warnings, the profile said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime

soundoff (3,399 Responses)
  1. Alasdair Mackenzie

    I suggest his daughter read her father's book "Live Without Fear"

    June 9, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • JWT

      She would be better off reading to how to surive with an abuse parent and cowed mom.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • you say what?

      Perhaps he should read "How to be a father for idiots" and apply the basic principles of parenting before he wakes up looking down the barrel of a shotgun and his daughter asking him how it feels, just before she blows his brains out and gets to plead insanity.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  2. JOHN K DAVID

    I being a son of a pastor, our family underwent some significant turbulent situations. However, we held on together. As children we realized the importance of being a pastor's son, we respected our situation. Though we had our way in lot of situations, we also listened. After years pass by, we now realize how important were my parent's advice. If all the situation said is true, its true this is quite normal. The pastor and daughter will reconcile and will learn from this. Take it easy.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      Having an adult male choke a female child and beat her with a shoe is "normal"?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • you say what?

      "If all the situation said is true, its true this is quite normal" So you feel that it is normal for him to beat his child? He spoke to the media and basically said his two daughters were lying and he would "handle" the situation when he got home and had them alone.
      He has the personality that allows him to justify everything he does, and feels the "status" he has attained gives him the right to do as he feels is best... which may very well mean something much worse is going to happen in his household. Maybe when he wakes up in middle of the night looking down the barrel of a shotgun his daughter is pointing at him, he will be able to cry out to the Lord before dying.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  3. BWooster

    Wow; I've heard of framing your first dollar and hanging it on the wall, but this guy takes the cake. And if I may say, anyone (including his deluded followers) who pretends that preaching from a multi-million dollar edifice is the way a compassionate God would prefer that someone operate an organization, particularly in a world and a time when so many people have such measureable suffering in that department, is beyond laughable. One has images of pews populated by thousands of Opus-es half-listening to the preacher as they drum the tips of their flightless wings in neurotic anticipation of the arrival of truckloads of "as seen on TV" swag, and musing as they drool, "As long as I get MINE..."

    June 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • paris

      Amen, yo:-).

      June 9, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • weezy

      Why dont' you move to the poorest nation on the planet and help those with the greatest needs. In spite of everything, America is still a rich and prosperous nation. You seem to be against propsersity. Or are you ok with it as long as the "God" talk isn't being spoken in a multi-million dollor edifice?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Juanmom

      I agree, it's people like this pastor with his 30,000 followers (I bet he does NOT know most of these people), that give religion a bad name. I bet he considers himself a "Christian", but this is definitely not what Jesus preached. Jesus was a socialist who did not even own a donkey, and yet people listen more to these pulpit pimps than following the teachings of the one they claim they love!

      June 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  4. ion hurduc

    Shame for her and usa justice

    June 9, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  5. Trueletterson

    She needed a whooping! More parents need to whoop these unruly children behind then we want have so much youth murder, we want need so many jails and we want have to lock our doors al the time more a** whooping of unruly children mean a better society.

    June 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Edwardo

      Violence begets violence. Beating someone, so they won't beat others, makes no sense. Your logic is flawed. Glad you're not my parent!

      June 9, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • midwest rail

      I'm reasonably certain that an English as a Second Language course is offered near you.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • sleepytime

      I guarantee you most violent criminals received whoopings aplenty when they were growing up. It's one of the causes of bad behavior, not one of the solutions.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  6. Twal

    Next time she'll listen,Won't she !

    June 9, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • sam stone

      hopefully, next time she pulls out a 9mm

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Edwardo

      If anyone other than this pastor did this, you'd be ready to have the child removed. Because he's brain-washed sheeple, he gets away with assault.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      Agreed, Edwardo.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  7. Get Real

    15 years old and asking to go to a party at 1 am.......Not on her life! And she probably knew better.....but teenagers will test a situation as far as they can. Pray for his mercy as this has happened to many a parent that got caught up in the moment.

    God's love to you all

    June 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • JWT

      He, if he did it, is an abuser not a parent that got alittle carried away.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Edwardo

      Really? You think "he was caught up in the moment"? I went to parties, broke rules, and I was never assaulted by my parents... EVER. I got my car keys taken, grounded, and was told if I get myself in trouble, don't call home looking for a bail-out. Stop excusing this fairytale salesman's deplorable behavior.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • RIALgal

      It doesn't say the party was going on at the time. It may have been a "discussion" about one she wanted to go to at a later date.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      I think that you are reading something into the article that is not there–I strongly suspect that she wasn't LEAVING for the party at 1 a.m., but COMING HOME from the party. Oh, and its child abuse. With choking and shoe-beating. I hope that they prosecute this SOB to the fullest extent of the law.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  8. Dave

    Folks does God want you to be poor? Does he want you to beg for bread? Does he want you to lay awake at night and sweat over your bills and weather you can keep a roof over your head? Does he want you to fight with your spouse over finances?

    The answer to the above questions is NO!!!! Do you know 60% of marriages end in divorce and the majority is over finances. The stress that is caused by not being able to pay your bills is HUGE and caused many problems. God does not want you to live this way. All things on this earth are from God including money. The lord wants to bless his people that is the bottom line. Christians are to live in peace and prosperity and go from Mountain top to Mountain top.

    I refuse to believe that God wants people to live any other way. Do you know that you must first have something to give something. How can a poor person help another poor person? it can't be done. You must first have prosperity to help other people!!! These churches have helped more people than you can even imagine. They have donated to the poor...built orphanages....helped the homeless on and on.

    I would be VERY careful to not criticise these churches because you do not know the impact they have had in reaching people who need help. I would also be very careful to question and condemn the existence of God. It is really hard to believe a that this universe exists without being created by a divine creator. The universe is so incredibly complex it had to be created folks!

    June 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • just sayin

      Delusional slightly? your God doesn't exist and you can't prove he does...get mental health help quickly dummmy

      June 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • JWT

      The vast majority of churches do a wonderful job of helping people that need it. And are to be commended for it whether or not we believe in their version of god.

      That being said the tv evangelicals who are after cash have shown time after time they are a a bunch of greedy con-men. I might be wrong and theres been one thats not.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Edwardo

      You mean, god doesn't want something to happen (poverty), but it does anyway? He must not be all-powerful then, huh?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Edwardo

      @JWT – they only do it to prosyletize, to recruit. It's not out of the goodness of their hearts. They would like to murder gay people.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • JWT

      I have no personal experience with christians that hate gays or think they should be killed or silenced. All the christians I know personally are good people and do the good things they do because they are good.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Edwardo

      @JWT – the very fact they worship something that plans to send people to eternal punishment, makes them wolves in sheep's clothing. If I drowned people in great floods, destroyed cities (like Sodom and Gomorrah – yes there were innocent babies there), I would expect to be despised, not worshipped. I know atheists who are better people than most Xtians I know.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • BWooster

      Your post doesn't make any sense – if mankind could know God's will and make a statement such as "God doesn't want you to be poor" (which, if you've ever taken the time to read and study the life of a guy they call Jesus Christ, you'd find actually that God does want believers to be or at least experience poverty), then the same thinking would extend to every kind of affliction from Alzheimer's to spina bifida and then where would you get your basis for "God sends suffering to give us a way to exercise our faith"? Face it; if religion could be valid, it could only do so quietly and within the heart of an individual. The moment you pollute altruism with group dynamics, it becomes politics. This guy, Dollar, is a fraud.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Winston5

      So the wealthy (?) shall inherit the earth?!?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • RIALgal

      If he's preaching about taking responsibility for one's situation, fine. If he's saying the only way you can help is by being prosperous first, he's wrong. Some on the least of us are the most helpful. It does not take money to be a good person. It does not take money to be helpful. In fact, the poorest among us are often the most giving because they know what it's like to be poor. Too many "prosperous" people want simply to acquire more and lose track of what good they can do with their wealth if they would only look past their own little worlds.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • JWT

      Ed – the bible is a bunch of fairy tales. Even the christians I klnow know that. Religion and /or faith do not make the person. The person makes themselves. I've never heard a christian minister outside the baptist church preach about hell. The rest all preach love and kindness.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  9. Jo

    Will let courts decide what happened. Child abuse is wrong. However, child is 15. "Daddy, can I go to party?" "No." End of story. Child is not an adult and does not legally decide where and when she goes anywhere. Parents rule until she is 18–period.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      And if she turns around and tells the courts she no longer wishes to remain under his roof, they will not force her to return home. At 16 he can't stop her from leaving, so he can stop his actions and realize that there are more appropriate ways of handling what is a typical teenager or he can risk losing her totally.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • JWT

      At 15 it is still blatant child abuse.

      Children learn as they grow – they make more and more of their own descisions as well. It's not well now you are 18 and can make the choices – before that mommy and daddy control you like a little robot.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Lisa

      Hope you are not suggesting that physical abuse is acceptable means of dealing with a child who is acting out or being defiant.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  10. Dr Keith

    IT'S A TEST FROM GAWDDDD!

    You have to forgive him or you will go to hell.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  11. JoJo

    Did I say it was in MY guidebook? Reading comprehension. Look into it.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Winston5

      "Reading comprehension." is not a complete sentence, JoJo. Punctuation: use it correctly!

      June 9, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  12. Dave

    Folk does God want you to be poor? Does he want you to beg for bread? Does he want you to lay awake at night and sweat over your bills and weather you can keep a roof over your head? Does he want you to fight with your spouse over finances?

    June 9, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Edwardo

      Huh?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • RIALgal

      No, he would much prefer that we take responsibility for our own situation. However, there are some among us who are poor and we are charged with helping them.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      Franciscans take vows of poverty to do God's work and help the needy. If there is a God, I don't think he's seeing them as failures because they don't have good credit scores, do you?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  13. B2UX

    THERE ARE TO MANY BAD PARENTS AND NOT ENOUGH THAT WILL STAND UP TO THERE SNOTTY KIDS... WHILE BEATING THE CRAP OUT OF EM IS NOT A GOOD IDEA A BELT TO THE BUTT WOULDNT HAVE BEEN SUCH A BAD IDEA .... DOING NOTHING OR TALKING DOES NOT WORK WITH ALL KIDS. THOSE WHO DONT EVEN HIT THERE KIDS WHEN THEY DO SOMETHING COMPLETELY OUT OF LINE ARE JUST BRINGING SISSIES UP WHO PROBABLY WONT EVEN BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE MILITARY MORE OR LESS CONFRONTATION WITH OTHERS .... WE HAVE ENOUGH OF THOSE ALREADY....

    June 9, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You don't need to physically touch a child to raise a good child. The bad parents are those who use any form of physical punishment, the good parents have figured out how to discipline without it. Using a belt is child abuse and any parent who does should be locked away and never allowed near any child. Thankfully we have laws that prevent you form of thinking from being tolerated.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • JWT

      I was never beaten or hit by my parents and I handled the military just fine.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      Committing battery on a child to discipline is just like using obscene speech–It makes those who do it feel powerful, but its unnecessary and ignorant. If you want to raise a responsible child, you do it by showing them how to be a responsible adult.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Edwardo

      @Kelly – great post! So true!

      June 9, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  14. Antichrist

    I am an atheist. I have no debt and own my house, property, and all possessions outright. And I have about a half million in the bank. I wonder how that fits with Mr. Dollar's (fitting name) theology?

    June 9, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • shan

      Why r u sitting on so miuch cash?

      June 9, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Edwardo

      Same here! Atheist as well. minus the 1/2 million $ though (sigh). Good for you. People who spend their time praying, and wasting it going to church, miss out on the chance to study, earn, and work.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Pedro

      Read Ecclesiastes and you will know.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  15. Alkebu

    Guess who's going to be the new media poster guy for "Child Abuse".

    June 9, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  16. teremist

    Christ said "You shall know them by their fruits." ...........Don't think I want any part of this church.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • David

      How can you make that statement when you don't know what really happened

      June 9, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  17. VCU73

    teenage daughters are from Hell-end of story.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  18. Elizabeth

    Please do not allow this man and his actions to take away from the beautiful glory of God! The gospel this "pastor" preaches is nowhere listed in the Bible! His congregation is so consumed and lost in it! They need to pick up their own bibles and read for themselves. This prosperity gospel is a mockery and heretic! Now, for beating his daughter, that is just sad. True colors will come to light! Don't get so wrapped up in man and lose sight! Man will fail you 100 times over, but God is sufficient and NEVER fails us!

    June 9, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • weezy

      What's wrong with prosperity???? How can you help others if you don't have anything??? He doesn't just preach about financial prosperity. He wants us to be prosperous in love, peace, joy, contentment, encouragement, etc. Again, how can I give what I don't have??? God wants his people to be prosperous. God Bless America...America is a prosperous nation. Do you want it to be a poor, starving nation????

      June 9, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Richard

      "What's wrong with prosperity????"

      There's nothing wrong with prosperity, it's just human nature to stray from God once you do.

      Remember...

      "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil"

      June 9, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • NicPayne

      The problem with your logic is to my knowledge it is "man" who stands before "man" and preaches on behalf of God. How can you tell people don't trust man because they will fail you but expect us to believe the bible they wrote on behalf of God?????

      June 9, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • weezy

      To Richard..
      The operative word is "love" of money is the root of all evil. God wants us to have money, but not to put it (or anything else) above Him. There are evil poor nations, and good prosperous nations, and vice versa.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Elizabeth

      @Weezy: The prosperity gospel is not biblical. Point blank period! There is nothing wrong with prosperity but when it is preached over the glory of God, then there is a problem. Jesus did not come and die a horrendous death on the cross so we could be rich! He came to save us from our sinful nature! You can serve others without money as well. Invest your time and heart into people, don't just throw a few dollars at them and call it a day. I will pray that the Lord opens your eyes and sees that this prosperity gospel this man teaches is so far off. And, to say that I want a poor, starving nation is just absurd.

      @NicPayne: It is super important that we not rely just on preachers and pastors to learn of God. He gave us His word and yes I believe the bible is the word of God. I understand your apprehension with it written by man but it was written by inspiration of God.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • weezy

      Pray for yourself Elizabeth. Being impoverished is a horrible feeling. Christ came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. He wanted us to have abundance in everything (that is not sinful in the eyes of God).

      June 9, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  19. arthurrrr

    i ask Blessings over Creflo Dollar and his family. i rebuke all attacks of the enemy in him.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Beth

      And there you have it ... the blind followers mindset. When someone has the boldness to call wrong wrong THEY are attacking the poor perpetrator, THEY are wrong for taking a stand. So messed up.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Richard

      The enemy is himself, and Creflo's love of money

      June 9, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • HURLCO

      try rebuking yo mama instead

      June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • just sayin

      arthurrrr: dummy...you go straight to hell

      June 9, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  20. JoJo

    “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

    "For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him."

    There is it, in your guidebook.

    June 9, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • josh

      Hey jojo, catch up with society. This is 2012 where we actually have child abuse laws. Srry to dissapoint u.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Beth

      We are under grace now. Try to keep up.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • JoJo

      Reading comprehension. Look into it. I said 'your guidebook', not 'my'.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • NicPayne

      I think JoJo is pointing out how horrible the mindset of those who wrote the bible was. I don't think he was agreeing with it.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • JoJo

      @Beth maybe YOU should keep up? Not all Christians share that belief.

      June 9, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • KellyinBoston

      @Beth–I'm confused by your posting. Are you suggesting that, because we are "under grace now", that all parts of the Old Testament are moot? What about the Ten Commandments? Or do we just get to pick and choose to which parts of the Old Testament we pay attention? If so, I suggest that we ignore the Sodom and Gomorrah stuff, but insist that nobody eat shellfish (what do I care, I'm allergic).

      June 9, 2012 at 10:55 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.