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. kookooman

    God is evolution and evolution is God , Jesus did not give a due date on return, but the due date on given money to the church is given. Go figure it out. There is no end thats why it's called evolution infinity infinity......

    June 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  2. romaestlux

    The daughter must have gotten that bit about him choking her from old episodes of the Simpsons. Homer would do that all the time to Bart.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Gianluca

      Dear Lauren,My deepest coelednncos for your loss. It is such a tragedy and there is no getting over it. We would love to talk to you about sharing your story but don't know how to reach you. If you could e-mail your contact information to me, we will give you a call. Thank you for posting what you posted.Becky

      July 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Mike

      It does allow one to have enough friends that they don't troll the CNN belief blogs for hours posting the same thing again and again seeking to get into arguments with people.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • truth be told

      I do not see the argument. I see two truths but no argument.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  4. usastillgr8t

    Let's remember that in the USA a man is innocent until proven guilty. Time and justice will bring the truth.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  5. LovetheMostHigh

    If you can justify violence as a means of discipling your child then you certainly do not have a spiritual center. Sitting in a church pew hanging onto the every word of a man doesn't make you closer to God. It is certainly possible Mr. Dollar is lying. Using the rare case of children crying wolf to minimize the fact that the vast majority of abuse victims are both real and under- reported is a sure sign of how far from God our society has gone. So many here angry at teens and children. Look in the mirror. They are merely reflections of our failures.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  6. bhs

    If you put your grubby hands on another individual, no matter the age, in an effort to inflict pain or intimidate, YOU ARE A CRIMINAL!!! If you don't have betgter parenting skills than that, DON"T HAVE CHILDREN. If you already have them, GET HELP!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  7. Do not judge others

    If a father does not train his kids properly and they become public nuisances, 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 7:44 pm |
    • SafeJourney


      June 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • LovetheMostHigh

      Training your kids should never include a beating or a choking. I'm very scared for children around you if you think that's appropriate.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps you blame the father, but I hold both parents accountable. I also hold parents accountable when they abuse children and pretend it's discipline.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • DaniaMom

      You can "train kids properly" without laying a hand on them.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  8. truth

    Paul and Jesus were not arrested because a loved one made an emergency call against them!!!! They were arrested for speaking the truth. And did not preach the devil's prosperity so called gospel. What a devil Creflo is, what an idiot of a false preacher.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  9. Jose M. Pulido

    Only a fool would continue giving 10 per cent of his/her income and expensive offerings to this con artist and potential killer.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  10. bhs

    this guy is so dirty it's disgusting. Prosecute him...his flock should abandon his worthless teaching. Run from these people!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • arthurrrr

      if this guy was GUILTY of this, it clearly would have manifested itself LONG before this. grow up people.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  11. SafeJourney


    June 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  12. C. Dollar

    She wasn't choked, just sort of partially strangled.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  13. C. Dollar

    She wasn't choked, just sort of strangled.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  14. LovetheMostHigh

    Religious nuts are about as spiritual as their atheist counterparts. They see a human man, worship him, and worship his interpretation of the whatever book they're "reading". The only "God" they recognize is religious dogma. Being religious isn't the same as being a spiritual person. If you are caught up in religion you cannot truly love the Creator. Religion is man's divisive word. If you are confused by this statement you do not know God.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  15. satanlovesvulva

    Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger. So the Devil chocked his daughter, slammed her to the floor and beat her with a shoe. That's one mean Devil. This is was frightening about this whole deal, if the Devil is able to cause so much controversy – girls being beating up – then what chance does the Mega-Church pastor have against this Devil of his. How can we trust this Pastor is not going to go on a killing spree and then blame it on the Devil. This Pastor needs to be kept within eyesight at all time, otherwise he is going to blame the killing of innocent people to the Devil

    June 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  16. Takes faith to know God doesnt exist

    Case closed!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  17. Mary Jane

    "This hoe was not choked"..... "She was not wacked upside the head"....... "She was not thrown to the ground"......"This is just another example of the white man keepin a good brother down!!!" Yeah.....you go pastor– you go!! How dare someone tell you how to treat that hoe!! Let me get a "Yeah Lord!!"......"One Time Y'All"

    June 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  18. ReligionKills

    Yea I know the drill. Pick and choose what you want to believe. Read and interpret as it fits your life. The bottom line is that these so called followers of these so called "holy" books are hypocritical and inconsistent. Everyone wants to quote when things justify their own bad decisions. Everyone wants to quote when they want to condemn others. I respect nothing any religious nutcase says.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  19. HFM17

    what an arrogant greedy putz....Creflo "Show me Da Money' Dollar....what a buffoon

    June 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  20. Freebird (Teri)


    June 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • PDJ in So. CA

      Same here! 🙂

      June 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • truefreedom

      same here. thankyou creflo. prayers for you and your whole family. God will bring you all through revealing His purpose and Glory to those with eyes willing to see and ears willing to hear.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Robert Martin

      Dear LooneyBird: I think you've been brain washed by by the almighty Dollar.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Joe Plumber

      You should definitely send him all you money. He needs it to fuel his private jet. What a sucker!

      June 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
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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.