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. jeff

    It's always amusing to read the athiests responses, in denial of the grand chess game that is being played exactly as predicted.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      You admit that god plays games with us?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • jeff

      It's obvious your understanding of scripture is = 0. If you did have any knowledge of scripture you would know exactly what I was talking about. Reading this news story is and should be no surprise to any practicing christian. A little hint, we are the chess board, not the pawns.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      That's a negative ghost rider. We do not need mistranslated scraps of ancient texts to tell us that people will be charlatans in the future or that we make decisions that lead us certain ways in life.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • jeff

      Again you reinforce my comment of having 0 understanding of scripture, nor do you care to. I wonder with all your hate towards a beliefe system that you realy give a damn about this guys daughter, but only care to spread your hate towards Christians?

      The game is nearing it's end, and you have freely chosen to be on the losing team.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  2. Blane

    I wish all the liberals posting on here would have gotten some stern punishment when they were young. Maybe they would have turned out to be better people. There is nothing worse than a bleeding heart liberal. They will take our country to hell.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Oakydoke

      It's really true. Everyone knows the root of conservatism is a good beating by your alcoholic father.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      Is strangling your child an appropriate way to keep them from becoming liberal later in life?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • Mirosal

      I am a liberal and Atheist in my mid-40's. If I bad-mouth my parents, I got span'ked. If I did something wrong, I got punished. My parents instilled the virtues, values, and meanings of right from wrong. I was raised in an Irish-Catholic family. There is discipline, and there's abu'se. The reason kids are so mouthy today is because of the fear from Child Sevices stepping in, and the kids have learned to use that fear to their adva'nta'ge. I do NOT condone what this idiot pastor did. He crossed the line. There are other ways to punish a rowdy teenager than to slap or smack them.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Jim

      The Bush Empire has already dragged this country through hell.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • seebs

      You know, it's not as though we don't have the ability to check these statements out.

      Turns out, reality says: bzzt! Violence towards kids does not make them better people. It makes them worse people. Facts is facts.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:41 am |
  3. winstonsmith

    Christians are such hypocrites. They don't listen to the word of Jesus Christ. They pick and choose what they want to listen to so it supports however they're living their lives.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • paris

      Although I agree that many call themselves "Christians" & live this way, true Followers of Christ are loving, broken, hopeful, and full of Grace.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • stayfree

      This is also true of any other religion.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  4. mishu

    Pastor Dollar was extremely right in his fatherly love...I wish my father who had seven daughter would have beaten all of us into his righteous indignation...we all would be married with "whole" families today...my father never hit any of us...and i resent that today...i am 61 yrs old, a cradle-Catholic, espouse Pastor Dollar and his wife Taffi, love them for their teachings on the fatherly, brotherly and whole love of our African-American family in this country.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Michael J.

      Wow, aren't we drinking the Pastor Dollar Kool-Aid! Moron.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      LOL, it is OK. We know you are joking.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  5. krehator

    The problem with the law is that there is no power given to parents to enforce their rules when the child refuses to obey. If a child decides to just not listen to his/her parent, CPS has no answer. Touch your kid, go to jail. Let them go, and they do something stupid, you still get held responsible.

    People think there is a magic method to raising children. Most of them have no children. You can raise all of them the same way, and they still turn out differently. There are too many factors and influences involved. Talking usually does not work with teenagers. The outside influences have more power than the words coming from a parent. I've rasied 3 of them, and still have 2 more to go. CPS is not the expert with my children. I AM!

    What is even more disgusting, is that CPS and Law Enforcement have the authority to physically punish your kids, and do things YOU AS A PARENT are not allowed to do. They lock them up, beat them, and give them drugs. You don't even have that power as a parent!

    What is better? Getting her butt kicked by her parents, or getting her way which may lead to something even worse? Sorry softies, but the butt kicking is the better way. Her parent is protecting her, even though it looks like the opposite.

    Granted, I would not have done the chocing thing, but he may have just been trying to put some fear into her. Dad's are very good at acting like they are crazy. We can put on a good show without doing harm. Mothers are typically the one's who let themselves get worked up emotionally, and then really snap.

    Welcome to the Police State of the USA. Your govt owns your kids.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Len

      You are absolutely spot on. Thank you.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Michael J.

      You know nothing. Go back to bed.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • seebs

      What is better is a father who can set an example of leadership that's more advanced than that of a forth-grader trying to take your lunch money.

      Turns out, competent parents do not need to resort to violence to make points. If you can't figure out how to make your points intelligently, don't blame your kids; swallow your pride and ask people who are able to do it for tips and advice.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • aintnotelling

      2 CHEST BUMPS TO THAT, KREHATOR AND LEN!!!...i find it sad that there are sooooooo few of us who share this same belief, which probably explains why our country is seeing fewer and fewer children who actually have respect for their parents! and their ultimate outcome?? jail or an early death sentence....

      June 10, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  6. sip termination

    Nice blog right here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    June 10, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • Michael J.

      Are you drunk?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:14 am |
  7. Hairbear

    There's a old saying that some kids need to hear! My mom and dad would tell us ,back in the day, I Bought You Here And I'll Take You Out! Kids now day think they can hide behind this child abuse stuff and call 911.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Michael J.

      Where were you bought. Were you sold wholesale? If I were your parents, I would have kept my receipt so that I could have returned you for some store credit, at least.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:15 am |
  8. Cruzader

    The Bible, a curious collection of absurd stories.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Randy Johnson

      Yup – you said it all!!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Michael J.

      Cruzader: An absurd collection — period.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  9. joels2000

    It's a christian belief that one's child is property. A christian father can beat his daugther if he very well feels like it.

    June 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • buddy

      Parents don't have the right to beat the crap out of their children, but I believe do have the right to punish them once in a while if they are disrespectful. A slap across the face is understandable in some cases where the kid is acting up, BUT what this guy did is criminal and I hope they put him in jail and he loses his wealth. he is a money hungry fake

      June 10, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  10. Randy Johnson

    Wow – this totally took me by surprise – I thought that beatings only took place in Islamic cultures leave alone a mega millions – oops I mean mega-church place

    June 10, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  11. aintnotelling

    i don't in anyway condone abuse. but i DO condone "whippings". she is a 15yr old who was probably being disrespectful and got "dealt with"................if daddy said she couldn't go to the party...she's a child, he's the parent, she is to OBEY...she has no opinion in the matter- end of discussion! disobedience and lack of respect for authority is one of the main reasons why we have troubled and out of control kids nowadays. if i whip my child for being disrespectful, i could get arrested and possibly do some jail time, but on the other hand a policeman can beat them down IN PUBLIC, and even "shoot and kill them if they fail to obey them and get a "paid leave of absence" pending further investigation. hmmmmmmm, what's wrong with that picture???

    June 10, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Len

      Everything is wrong with the picture. That's the upside-down society in which we live and it's particularly dangerous for minority children. As you rightly put it, the discipline we give as parents is nothing compared to the abuse heaped on them by the powers that be in the wider society.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  12. brian

    Wonder why this story doesn't surprise me.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  13. danthefisherman

    Any adult who smacks a mouthy 15 year old can't be all bad.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • An Atheist

      ya because teaching children that you solve problems by hitting things you dont like totally works

      June 10, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • aintnotelling

      HIGH FIVE!!!!!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  14. danthefisherman

    Let's see, 15 year old girl at the peak of the defiant years. Yep, she deserved it.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Ace


      June 10, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • sam stone

      it would have been amusing if the daughter had pulled a 9mm out and arranged a Creflo/Jesus meeting

      June 10, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • mema

      Child abuse?? She had a scr@tch! Sounds more like a br@tty teenager. But I guess it alright if the c©ps b€at her down when she is older eey!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:38 am |
  15. jone

    Amazing people have been giving money all these years to this self-ordained Quack

    June 10, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • sam stone

      well, chumps are chumps for a reason

      June 10, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  16. Pityu

    A crook is a crook is a crook ...

    June 10, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  17. Loyal Nothern Democrat

    If Obama had a son he would look and act like Creflo.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • sleepytime

      Really? Obama would have a son that was only a year younger than him?

      June 10, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  18. Loyal Nothern Democrat

    What is not mentioned here is that Michael Jackson was seriously considered for Pope due to his experience with young boys. However, after he died, a Nazi had to be selected.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • you are not funny

      just stop

      June 10, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • An Atheist

      thats hilarious!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  19. James in Miami

    Kindness, go proselytize elsewhere.

    June 10, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  20. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    June 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • James PDX Mostly Straight

      Kindness, I'm going to stone my child to death instead. After all, this pastor was only doing what the Bible(s) taught him; to kill your wayward children. Nothing but love and peace in God and Jesus.

      June 9, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Loyal Nothern Democrat

      God hates you. Jesus told me so.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • fsmgroupie

      He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. Exodus 21:17
      EEEHAA!! Good old christian family values.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • PhillySW

      What's interesting is how some of you on the 1 hand want to discredit the bible, and call it crazy. But then you turn around and write a comment that mentions something from the word of GOD in the BIBLE!

      If you want to stone your child to death, then you're just an idiot. Because the bible consists of an Old Testament & a New Testament. And if a person REALLY read the WHOLE bible from beginning to end, you would know that Jesus did away with some things, and kept some old things.

      Though shalt not steal is also in the old testament. Are you going to tell me that that is wrong also because you think the bible is crazy, or because that was in the old testament? See how things can be twisted without an educated understanding of what you're reading? Yes, the old hamarabi laws stated an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Jesus did away with that.

      But Jesus then came along and told children to obey your parents, and to honor thy mother and thy father, to have a long life. BUT, then Jesus also said to parents, not to provoke your children. But Jesus does say spare the rod, spoil the child. So there is a balance with you having the task of being a parent, but also not trying to purposely provoke your kids to hate you unnecessarily.

      But of course, when people have already made up in their minds what they want to believe, then no reasoning is going to make a bit of difference in your bias.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Pityu

      I pray that Satan continues to guid you to your final abode – hell , where I am sure you will find what you have been yearning for – eternal damnation .

      June 10, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • sleepytime

      Man, I wish I didn't have to share a city with someone as dense as PhillySW.

      June 10, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • sam stone

      kindness: god told me to tell you to stop diddling farm animals

      June 10, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • sam stone

      "But of course, when people have already made up in their minds what they want to believe, then no reasoning is going to make a bit of difference in your bias."

      Back atcha, Philly

      June 10, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • May God Bless You Kindness

      Thank you for that wonderful message. You are truly one after God's own heart!

      June 10, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • seriously

      Hey Philly, it's called sarcasm moron.

      June 10, 2012 at 1:46 am |
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About this blog

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.