June 10th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar on his daughter: 'She was not punched'

By Steve Almasy, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Telling thousands of parishioners that he should never have been arrested, Pastor Creflo Dollar said at his Sunday morning service he neither choked nor punched his 15-year-old daughter, as she claimed in a report to police.

Dollar, senior pastor of World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta, told congregants in the sprawling megachurch and listening at one of more than a dozen satellite churches that when the facts of the case come out, they will be "appalled."

"The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched," Dollar said.

On Friday, deputies responding to a 911 call photographed a scratch on the daughter's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. Dollar said the mark on his daughter's neck is more than 10 years old, the result of eczema, a skin condition.

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"I want the church family to know that all is well in the Dollar household," he said, in his first public comments since spending more than 12 hours in jail. He immediately addressed the issue upon taking the pulpit Sunday, speaking for nearly eight minutes about the challenge of raising children and denying he had hurt to his daughter.

After Dollar told the crowd about the skin abrasion, one man yelled, "Case dismissed!"

Dollar's daughter said she argued with her father over attending a party, investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office told CNN on Friday.

Rowan said the daughter 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.

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

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Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger.

Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual gifts. Pastors such as T.D. Jakes, Dollar and Joel Osteen have become the Prosperity Gospel's most well known preachers, building megachurches and business empires with a message equating piety with prosperity.

Dollar's church claims about 30,000 members and has an $18 million, 8,500-seat sanctuary about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Friday's incident was emotionally charged and escalated from an argument, Dollar said Sunday. But he never intended bodily harm to anyone, he assured the audience.

"I love her with all my heart," he said, shaking his head with conviction.

Creflo Dollar's Prosperity Gospel finds followers and critics

He cited a Bible verse from Psalms that talks about malicious witness against the good man, and evil men delighting when he stumbled.

He later, during his sermon, also joked about the arrest, saying that being a religious man sent to jail "upped my resume."

"Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo," he said to a huge cheer.

The pastor, known for his pinstriped suits, laughed at being clothed in a yellow jumpsuit and sandals while being handcuffed and being held in a cell.

For most of the service, Dollar spoke of the people being "the righteousness of God by faith," the third in a series of sermons he prepared weeks ago, he said.

"No weapon that forms against you shall prosper," he reminded the audience, citing scripture.

At the end of the more than hourlong appearance, he said that he was persevering thanks to God's love.

"And we couldn't do it without the love of you brothers and sisters."

After the service, congregants declined to comment on Dollar's appearance.

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

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," and say his message perverts the Gospel.

CNN's John Murgatroyd and John Blake contributed to this report.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,056 Responses)
  1. Doy

    I support Creflo 100% and those daughters might not know how truly blessed they are until they cannot ask for his oppinion anymore, but mind you ladies, the bible says to honor your mother and father, so that your days....might be long, if you want to live a long prosperous life, please obey your mother and father. You will be out there in that real world soon enough and if you ain't ready, taking heed from your parents, your saved , sanfitfed, Holy parents, baby you won't last long. Because the workd does not love you. All it wants to do is use, you, abuse you and send you straight to your death, and today young people are beating the old people to the grave. Sir Creflo, stay strong, just a blot to keep you from preaching Go'd word and you know Satin wants it to appear you do not know how to live it. This is only a test, keep in the word and live for Jesus.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • No Cents

      What a complete fool you are for supporting this money-grubbing charlatan.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • GAW

      Yup if you want to live a long prosperous life obey your parents or they might choke you.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey kids:
      Listen to your parents, unless they're abusive or try to dictate what you think. Go to college. Get a practical education. Think for yourselves, because if you can't think for yourself, you're not really an adult.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. GAW

    Of course all the evidence needs to be brought to bear on the event that happened before we can be 100% sure of what happened.. But even if the account of his daughter was exaggerated I still think that Dollar is not innocent of suckering thousands of people out of their hard earned money and proclaiming a message that does not work.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Doy

      Well, you have to be in for the good, bad and the ugly, not just because you feel it did not work for you. Jesus is for everybody except those that refuse. Praying you to come and stay in God's perfect will. Then you will have money in your pocket and the desires of your heart will be answered. Seek counseling....its free. Salvation is free.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • GAW

      No I'm free from the pompous message that you proclaim the perverts the message of Christianity. The gospel message you preach is of one of greed and easy easy-believism.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • GAW

      BTW Are you now living in a $7 million mansion with 2 planes, 3 BMWs and an additional house in Florida with 2 swimming pools?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Doy, you think that people who are poor are simply undeserving? They got what they earned?

      Wow. I hope you DO meet Jesus face-to-face so you can tell him He was wrong.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • GAW

      If that happens then Doy will have to change their name to Doh!

      June 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yup, Doy is a DOLT.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. carm

    I love the name Creflo "Dollar"'s church ... World "Changers". Change, as in money. lol
    Whether he choked her or not, only he & she know for sure. I certainly hope he didn't.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Doy

      No, Change as in coming out of the world (ignorant) into the marvelous light (Revelation of Jesus). See once you decide to live for Jesus a change (difference) comes about you in how you choose to do things and how you are able (smarter) in coming into money, it falls in your lap, if you understand the word. Write me, I'll help ya.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wow. Talk about 'spin'.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • GAW

      Money Changers Church

      June 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  4. cambeul41

    I am not religious and react negatively to the idea of mega-churches. To me they are an alien culture.

    I believe that in the great majority of cases there are better ways of enforcing discipline and parental rules - but not necessarily in all cases.

    That said, I try not to come to conclusions with insufficient evidence. I am not going to take sides in this until much more is known. Even if that means never.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Doy

      No disrespect, but please if you have anything plublished on disciplining children, I would be very interested to read it. What book store can I pick up a copy at? Are you a teacher, what studies vow you to know what might the best way, when?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Umm, care to translate your post into standard English, dear?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  5. LaughingAtYou

    Hey Claudia, most angered parents don't turn to criminal violence. Since you're so in tune with the psyche and emotions of this guy, you may want to use your amazing abilities to communicate to him that he isn't above the law. He has no more right to assault his child than a man on the street.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  6. dubrats

    yep....he did'nt attack his child and zimmerman did'nt profile.....ok....i got it.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's hard for a father when his beloved daughter of all people disrespects him and can bring about a shocking reaction from him. I pray that this family can heal and that his daughter knows, there is no one that loves her like her father and trust me, he is very hurt that this happen but it will never happen again.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Family


      June 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • dalewalk

      How is it you know that she's to blame for his mess and despising her father? Could it be that she's seen first hand what a deceitful man her father is? And how is it you know this will never happen again? Are you a victim of abuse and in denial?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey Claudia: Nice of you to make excuses for child abuse. If that's the kind of "love" a father has for a child, then she'd be better off an orphan.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  8. LaughingAtYou

    Who would really expect him to say "yes I choked and punched my teen daughter"? The day one of these preachers actually confesses outright to their guilt will be the day the world as we know it ends.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Jake L

      I would respect him a hell of a lot more if he just admitted it, said he was wrong, and apologized to his daughters–than using the tired old religious excuse of "it's devil's fault!" Guys like him are why christianity and other abrahamic religions are becoming less and less relevant to society. It won't be any of our lifetimes, but eventually our descendants will look back and shake their heads or treat them the same way treat Greek & Roman mythology now.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  9. GAW

    As expected he denied the details of the event ever happened and of course he blamed the devil for all the misunderstanding. This is so predictable not to mention it now makes him eligible to run for political office.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  10. SPW

    Yeah, I bet the devil inside of him did it or something crazy.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  11. LOL

    LOL. like lawyers, preachers & priest are all the same.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Hello

      interesting.. so if atheism is unhealthy, why are we all born atheists. along with other living things??
      Read Caesar's Messiah and learn what myths are made of.... lies...

      June 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • GAW

      So far many of the atheists have been more ethical about this issue that the Christians have.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • no one is ever born atheist

      all life comes direct from the throne of God and is given the opportunity to freely choose God in love and return to God to receive the amazing eternity God has prepared for them.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • no atheist is ethical

      By definition an atheist is an accomplished liar.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a crock of po0p. Everyone is born atheist, you moron. Infants don't spring out of the womb believing in anything. If they did, there'd be no need for VBS or Sunday School. What kind of special stupid are you?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • nope is a useless repulican word


      June 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • no one is ever born atheist

      The knowledge of God is born within every child. A child who grows in wisdom and stature observing the grace of God without knowing the Lord, because it has never heard of the Lord is still acceptable in Gods sight.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You dolt. You weren't even born with a brain cell.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • no one is ever born atheist

      every cell retains within itself the imprint and knowledge of God

      June 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Jake L

      @TomTom, don't bother with this person. As part of his "it's not my fault" sermon, Crud-flow probably told his flock of sheep to go out and defend his honor, or rather lack thereof.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  13. Sharice

    Something is definitely wrong in the household when both of his children lied on him or did they.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • dalewalk

      That young girl is either a liar or she truly was abused. How many daughters of a genuinely good 'pastor' and good man grow up to despise their father?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  14. LaughingAtYou

    Most people who tend to favor beatings and violence as a primary form of discipline tend to also be pretty uneducated. I'm just saying...

    June 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  15. Moby Schtick

    I thought he commented that this was a matter for his family to resolve. Now he shares his side with his entire congregation. hmm

    June 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Family

      The "church" is family.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  16. Alien Orifice

    When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." For example:

    • The Mormon religion contains the magical golden plates, the magical angel, the magical seer stones, the magical ascension of the plates into heaven, etc.

    • The Muslim faith contains the magical angel, the magical flying horse, the magical voices, the magical prophet, etc.

    • The Christian faith contains the magical insemination, the magical star, the magical dreams, the magical miracles, the magical resurrection, the magical ascension and so on.

    The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary." For example, how do we know that Santa is imaginary? Because (among other things) he has eight magical flying reindeer. How do we know that Jack and the Beanstalk is a fairy tale? Because (among other things) the story contains magical seeds. In the same way, how do we know that God is make believe? Because God is surrounded by magic.

    According to believers, God is an all-powerful being who has the divine, magical power to do anything. How do we know that this belief is a fairy tale? One way to know is to try to invoke God's magical power. For example, the Bible tells us in many places that God answers prayers. However, whenever we try to pray, we notice that nothing happens. That tells us that God is completely imaginary. The magical powers ascribed to him are a fairy tale.

    Another way to know is to read the stories of magical events in the Bible. There is the magical flood, yet we know with certainty that the flood never happened. There are the magical miracles of Jesus, but (predictably) none of these miracles left behind any tangible evidence. There is the magical resurrection, yet there is zero evidence that it ever occurred and no reason to believe it.

    God is identical to Leprechauns, mermaids and Santa. God is a magical fairy tale creature. The magic surrounding God tells us that God is imaginary.

    I did not even get into the magic underwear thing Republicans....

    June 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Hello

      Alien.. read Caesar's Messiah.... it takes the magic out and replaces it with a joke..

      June 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Ok, will do. Thanks.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  17. Asturiano

    Creflo Crook – jail em or hang em

    June 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  18. Name*nicole shaw

    I'm sorry to about the miss understanding. Our kids could be a hand full this world and the things kid want to do are way to much....I pray that all is good in your family and that you and your daughter works everything out

    June 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Ben

      Interesting how the posts supporting the pastor tend to have contain errors of spelling and grammar

      June 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Family

      Who cares about spelling or grammar? The value here ishould not be about "spelling and grammar" but about the lives or souls of the people. Sounds like someone is "book smart" but Christ ignorant! Spelling and grammar? What a joke!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Any moron who is too stupid to spell 'cat' without a dictionary is too stupid and/or ignorant to tell others who possess brains and educations how to interpret the Bible and think for themselves. If you are so friggin' stupid, ignorant, and lazy to bother with expressing yourself in a literate manner, you're too stupid, ignorant, and lazy to tell me what to believe.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  19. SoFunny

    "For Profit Preacher" Stomp out the devil which "Romney"

    June 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  20. Alien Orifice

    I hereby prommise knot to correct grammer and puncuation any more. Unleles I thinc sumone is drunk

    June 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Hello

      ROTFL...... I would spil it out, butt, I lost my spil chekr.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
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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.