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. Puzzled in Peoria

    To list himself alongside Jesus and Paul is an even greater blasphemy than the Prosperity Gospel. Shame on him.

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

    We have a preacher in the Northwest named Casey Treat the preaches it's ok to be wealthy and god wants you to do well but before you get that new car or new Tv make sure you give to the church. He drives a Mercedes and wears 700.00 silk suits with real gold cuff links. Has his aid take his families clothes to the cleaners. A real piece of sh$t in my book.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Eric

      A $700 suit is cheap

      June 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Maz

      Yes...and it is not the gospel Jesus preached. The bible says He did not even have a placed to lay His head...he was all about the people and helping, heaing and saving them instead. He came to give us life and life more abundantly but I dont believe He was primarily talking about money.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  3. Get Real

    The Pope says ....."Give me 10 percent, a bullet proof car, a gold plated vest and a diamond encrusted hat.....AND my own city/state. And Catholic Church has more real estate holdings than anyone on the planet...yet no questioning about his prosperity. Yet a brother from Atlanta who actually has a minuscule amount by comparison, builds habitats around the world, and feeds the poor with what he does take in.....you have the nerve to say is a charlatan! Say it ain't so.....Please!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • chuck

      The vatican sucks alright. We should dismantle it and give back the treasures they've stolen in the name of the church.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • GAW

      Sorry we wont question Dollar anymore in the same way that Jim Jones' followers were never supposed to question him.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Maz

      He is not preaching the gospel of Christ....Mother Teresa did all of the above and so much more to help the poor but she didnt need a jet or a mansion while on this earth..to do it....she was waiting for her mansion in heaven. The bible says if we are rich while on this earth...we have already received our reward. I think i would rather wait.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Get Real

      MAZ.....Joh_10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Even Jesus had a treasury and a treasurer (Judas). You don't need a treasurer when you are broke.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  4. Jon Audette

    Comparing yourself to Paul and Jesus? So we're side-stepping the humility thing, then?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  5. PDJ in So. CA

    "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

    Martin Luther King Jr

    June 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • John

      2 daughters claiming he's an abusive monster looks like a good adversity to measure him with.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  6. Blair B

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

    Seriously? I feel sorry for his two daughters.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  7. GAW

    Creflo Dollar and others like him use the Bible to justify their ideology. But then the Bible can be made to say anything one want's it say. It's a lot like a magician's trick. With a few proof texts followed with some well placed questions and explanations you can get anyone to believe anything.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • chuck

      Not me I've never believed in the old fairy tale book. 😉

      June 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  8. Blair B

    "All is well in the Dollar household." Seriously? This guy can't be serious, can he?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • nisroc00

      Given the near same thing happened between me and my nephew i would say it could be. I do not know know what it is with kids today, they get bumped accidentally or disciplined properly and they cry wolf. I do question how many teachers, parents, guardians are lock up cause of these little twits lies. Next time my nephew claims I hit him im going to ensure the claim is true.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  9. Iceman6161

    Why didn't he just pray about it?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  10. BendTheTreeWhileItsYoung

    He should allow his 15 year old daughter to go to a party at 1:00 am. Then the cops would praise his parenting skills and not charge him with negligence.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you're so damn stupid you can't even imagine something other than two extremes? You are so lacking in parenting skills that you can't figure out something other than choking your progeny to assert authority?

      Note to you: Don't EVER have children.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Or perhaps he could use a non-violent form of discipline - something that doesn't involve abuse. But I guess it's just easier to hit or choke a kid than to be a good parent, especially if you know that Jesus will forgive you.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • BendTheTreeWhileItsYoung

      Tom Tom the Pipers Son
      He Stole a pig and away he run
      The pig was eat and Tom was beat
      And went hollering up the street!

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son is so lacking in moral skills that he can't figure out something other than stealing a pig and running away to satisfy his hunger! Then after tasting justice he claims abuse.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  11. Nitalynn

    "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." Um.....NO!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      That's extremely disappointing. I was withholding judgment on his character until I read that. It's amazing how often christian ministers let down fair-minded atheists willing to give them a fair chance. Looks like the folks who rushed to judgment were right again.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • GAW

      Dollar's response was pure ego.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  12. Beavis

    To anyone who believes the kid (given the physical evidence and age), I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn..

    June 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Katja

      Amen lol!

      June 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Maz

      I believe her...15 year old girls dont call the police on their dads...when there is proper parenting going on in the home. I dont believe him...he seems to only want to cover his own butt.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • fred

      To anyone who believes the tall tales in the bible (given the lack of evidence and the age and the general wackiness of the often-conflicting stories), I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn..

      June 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  13. mharris2012

    Right now we really don't know what happened all we have is his word an her's So if she was tryin to go out late at night at 15 years old I would have a problem with that too I hope he did'nt choke her but hey if dad say's no it's no get grown get your own house an you can do what ever you want simple as that but hey she is under his roof.But here lately Creflo does not preach the same he seems to be getting soft He is taking up for Joel Osteen He know this man is a motivational speaker but he will talk about other preachers hollering but he takes up for this man who talks for 20 minutes saying the same thang each week.I think this was not the first time him an his daughters have had it out and it's odd I never see them at church maybe he needs to get his house in order?

    June 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Maz

      Yes and 15 year old girls dont call the police on ther dads unless they have good reason too. I dont believe him..I believe her story. I highly doubt she would call them just to go to a party.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • swell_swell

      Actually, her 19-year old sister backed up the 15-year old's story to the police. Just because this man claims to be righteous doesn't mean he is. He's forgotten significant portions of the Gospel, such as the admonition that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      Who here said he should let his kid go out late at night? Can any of you apologists actually put together an argument that doesn't involve intellectual dishonesty? Saying that a person shouldn't assault a child is not the same as condoning late night partying for minors. There is no justification for choking and punching children. You can't even put together a coherent argument without arguing a point no one made.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Erwin

      2:03pm, 07.May.09I'm actually a litlte embarrassed that I spaced the Greenman book. I knew it was coming out and that it fit, and then. . . Have you read that Amplified collection yet? Worthy of my attention?{}

      August 1, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  14. K

    I am a Follower of Christ and I do not support this notion of Prosperity Preaching.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  15. Mr Chihuahua

    Pops was trippin! He been known to raise a lil ruckus when he on that cognac and cocaine lol!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tiago

      marketing and list building. Stop by Matthew Meyer's blog where you can find out all about email mnitekrag and what having a big list can do for you. Tags: Email, email mnitekrag, list

      July 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  16. PhilG

    Very bluntly,if you let your kids "do their own thing" you do not love them.

    I support Mr. Dollars attempts at trying to convince his duagther she was doing really bad things that could ruin her life very quickly.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Maz

      Teaching her right from wrong and having discernement is one thins but to use physcial force and violence is out of control behavior on his part.. He should know better then to try and do this to a 15 year old girl. So when she goes to find a husband...should she pick someone who beats her too?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Brilliant!!

      Amazing!! This man has found the connection between love, and violent assault!! Is that what you tell your wife as you shove her down the stairs, or punch her around the house? 'I'm doing this because I love you!!'?

      June 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • PhilG

      Maz,you don't know anything about why Mr.Dollar did what he did or just how close his daughter was to doing some really stupid things that could ruin her life for the rest fof it.

      You can't hug a kid into adulthood when the world tries to tempt them into doing just stupid stuff.

      We are not talking about husband beating a wife-we are talking about a parent correcting a child here.

      Get back on the subject.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • PhilG

      Brilliant-apparently you atre not too brilliant-we are talking about a parent correcting a child here-not a husband beating a wife.

      Get back on the subject.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • chuck

      Prayer changes nothing. Getting up off your knees and doing something changes things.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      A good man prays
      A great man acts on prayer
      Prayer changes things

      June 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  18. PDJ in So. CA

    Innocent until proven "Guilty"!

    June 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • what about justice


      June 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • PDJ in So. CA

      I hope that Creflo Dollar will accept Don Lemon's CNN invitation to be on the air about this issue!

      June 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  19. What if?

    If we're all just highly evolved apes what difference does it make if he choked and neat his daugthers. Remember there is no God so there is no ultimate accountability.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Try reading some books

      That's been explained countless times.
      p.s.--–i know you're a troll

      June 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      What if?

      Is that how YOU would act without the threats from a book about a supernatural boogeyman?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      What if?:

      It's truly tragic that you need supernatural threats to be a decent person. I hope that you learn how to think for yourself before you end up in prison.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If god will forgive your actions, no matter how vile, what's to stop believers from doing any horrible thing?

      June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a complete asshat you are. You need a god to tell you it's morally wrong to assault your own child? You need commandments to tell you what is right?

      You need a padded room and a heavy dose of Thorazine, you nut-job.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  20. Philojazz

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

    What a total crock of s–t this guy is.

    June 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      THis moop would be a crock of sh!t even if he'd never had kids or lifted a finger against anyone.

      June 10, 2012 at 6:31 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.