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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. winstonsmith

    Religious nuts are more often than not hypocritical fools of the highest order. We live in a society that WORSHIPS money, so you'd think an actual house of worship might make room for the other stuff... you know, being a good person and having compassion for others. It's something both rich and poor people can have... empathy!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jesus C

      I like my religious nuts salted !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  2. sean

    Him being sent to jail just upped his cred with the congregation. Blacks don't look up to anybody that hasn't been to prison.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  3. sir_ken_g

    He lies all the time. Nothing new.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  4. erika

    And this is why I'm not having any children at all...don't need all the drama and nonsense in my life...teenagers are crazy these days!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Probably a good idea that you don't have children if you take this man's word without consideration for the girl, or for her sister who confirmed her story.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      Thanks, erika. I wish most potential child abusers would take your stance. I commend you for recognizing that you are incapable of raising a child without beating him/her. We all know how likely it is that a child will force you to violence.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • erika

      Hey guys, calm down...I was only stating that I know I would not be able to take on the responsibility of raising a child...has nothing to do with violent.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  5. ReligionKills

    Gotta train these kids up good an proper. If that means illegally assaulting them then so be it. There is nothing backwards about that. If all those thugs and criminals would've been beaten as kids....Oh wait, that can't be true.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Jesus C

      Accept me now or perish in hell with all the other infidels !!! The choice is yours !!!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  6. Susan

    Like most over the top religious people, this guy gives me the creeps. I don't know how so many can follow people who are so obviously hypocritical and whose message rings of such falsehood. How could you want to be part of a religion that promises you something so base (money) instead of just wanting to be a good person and do nice things for others? I believe that any man who preaches this way is certainly capable of manhandling that poor girl when she got "uppity" in his eyes.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • alumette

      He is a creepy liar and abuser. The irony is that his followers are likely doing the same thing in their homes. These people beat their kids...no wonder they grow up angry and violent. It was the life they knew as they grew up. More aggression and rebellion.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Maz

      I comletely agree with you on this one. Why would a 15 year old girl make up such a story and call the police if all is well in their home. Typical abuser...abuses the child and then denies they did anything wrong at all.
      And then to blame all of this on the devil? Why is he the one who got punched choked and hit?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Maz

      Christianity...the one that Jesus teaches is true and it is real ...I have been a Christian for many years and it has brought me so much peace with God...however the message of Creflo Dollar is not one that represents the Christ I know at all.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  7. John

    His claim is that the mark on her neck is a skin condition that's over 10 years old. OK, so if it heals up over the next couple of weeks, he will be known as a liar. Until then, he is claiming both his daughters are liars and there was no reason for his daughter to call the police, or the older daughter to claim she's also in fear.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  8. ReligionKills

    No more charity and volunteer work for me. Poor people are poor because they don't believe. It's that simple. Rich people are rich because they are blessed. According to prosperity gospel it's that simple. Black and white.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  9. Do not judge others

    If a father does not train his kids properly and they become public nuisanaces, we blame it on the lack of a father figure in their lives and yet we equip teenagers with strategies to evade discipline and exhibit tendencies undesired in society.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • JWT

      TRAIN? We are not raising dogs.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • sean

      And how very christian of him to call his own daughter a liar in front of the whole congregation. I'd expect nothing less from the holier than thou crowd.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There is a difference between discipline and abuse. I suggest you learn it before you have children of your own.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • what about justice

      we suggest tallulah wait for due process and resolution before declaring the pastor guilty. when he is found not guilty she is going to look awful foolish.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • GAW

      Do not judge others? Does that mean I shouldn't judge, rapists, murderers, terrorists, Hitler, Bin Ladin ect

      June 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Justice, I was speaking in general, not about the pastor. If you don't know the difference between discipline and abuse, you shouldn't have children.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Maz

      Can you envision Jesus ever treating children or teenagers that way>? I highly doubt it...as Christians we are to represent Christ...I dont think that is what was going on here.. Teens do not call the police on their fathers unless they have good reason to.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Angry parent

      Sorry, JWT, but Do not judge others has a point. We should all train our children to stringent standards of acceptable behavior and pure thoughts. Any deviation from this could ruin the parents reputation, especially if you are an 'important wealthy minister' who does not value dissent. Heaven knows, we did not create this country thru idiotic dissent. Parents reputation is more important than appropriate rearing of children.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Angry parent: hahahhahhahhaha. Good joke. Not.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  10. ReligionKills

    Biblical backing was also used to justify slavery. Is that okay too?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  11. fsmgroupie

    C'mon. Give the guy a break. He just wanted to be happy. Like it says in Psalm 137:9 - Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jesus C

      Amen !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Anthony

    If a girl wants to go out late and ho around she is actually looking to get choked out. Her dad just cut to the chase and saved her a trip. Dont see a problem here.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm sure you don't "see" much of anything, you moronic twerp.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jesus C

      I really think that's what Dad liked about my Mom Mary !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Janet

      I have the solution: Every married couple, of course they have to be male & female, will get a rod as a wedding gift, so that when she has the baby 8 months later, they can be sure not to waste a minute spearing the rod. However, one must spare the birth control & have lots & lots of children. They will all be blessed & live in a huge mansion & perhaps can travel about singing hymns like on The Sound of Music. That way if the government can't control the infidels, there will be plenty of 'good' folks around who have been thoroughly taught how to beat the hell out of someone to kill them. Just put a machine gun & some bombs in their hands.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  13. sean

    Well if it's really a 10 year old eczema mark that should be easily proven. I find his daughter to be completely believable. You don't say no or disagree with a religious nut in this country and get away with it, whether it's your father or not.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jesus C

      My dad says back in the day when people still obeyed his word, she would have had her head bashed in with a rock, Praise GOD !!!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Jesus C

    He should have followed the Bible's word, even my Dad says he should have stoned her to death !

    June 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Janet

      Actually Jesus taught not to stone people, but to love & pray for them. That's why the bible was banned by so-called Christian leaders in Europe all those years. One could be burned at the stake for publishing it.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then why are you still an idiot?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Jesus Cannabis

      bring me the children, our preachers love your kids !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      prayer changes things

      June 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Proven that you'e a pedophile.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Jesus C

      I love men !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      like rain dances change the weather .

      June 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • find an atheist

      find a liar obsessed with filth

      June 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're a troll obsessed with me. So?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • nope

      @tom tom

      June 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • GAW

      Is atheism unhealthy for blue whales and giant squids?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Yep

      @nope the mope: Yep.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  16. BO Stinks

    Religion is a fake.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Jesus C

      prove i am fake !

      June 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  17. Jesus Cannabis

    praise the lard praise the lard

    June 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Maz

      How rude and offensive for you to blaspheme my Lord...why dont you just stick to the subject at hand and save your rudeness for yourself.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  18. hawkechik

    Well of course he's going to deny it! Do you *really* think he's going to come out and say "Yeah, I kicked and choked my daughter"?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  19. LaughingAtYou

    If you need a book to tell you that physically beating teenagers is a sign of bad parenting then you really can't be helped. I know that idea probably contradicts your Bible, but then so do the general moral ideas that slavery and violence are wrong.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  20. BO Stinnks

    Niqqats always believe the worst

    June 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41
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.