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. 100milliondeadbecauseofatheism

    Case closed!

    June 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  2. Wow

    What an idiot.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  3. truth

    Ja ja ja ja this idiot compares himself with Paul and Jesus??? What a mistake. Paul and Jesus were arrested for speaking the truth, and not becauuse a loved one called for help. I just hate it when serpents like this so called preacher twists the truth!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Marc


      I am curious, have you ever heard him preach? Second, do you have a relationship with Christ? If yes to both of these, what is it exactly that you disagree with about Pastor Creflo Dollar's preaching? And is your stance supported by the Bible? Or could it be that the devil is real and has discredited the message and gospel in your eyes? In that case, you may have been duped by Satan himself.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  4. HFM17

    'Freebird' obviously has the brains of a used tampon.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • midogs2

      You give him too much credit, HFM17.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  5. truth

    His last name should be "Million" ..his first name "Cunning" his middle name "Loves"
    Paator Cunning Loves Million.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  6. Christian


    June 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  7. kookooman

    Fisrt Rev pervert long, Child abuser Dollar, Joel ass is next I can see right through them all.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  8. Luke

    Most of his donations come from welfare checks. I wonder how many in his congregations are millionaires now , instead of being on welfare? Funny thing about the prosperity "Gospel." It only makes the so called "Clergy" rich.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Christian

      He drives a Bentley... he is only in it for the money

      June 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      Luke, don't you know that those in the congregation who are poor are only poor because they don't believe hard enough? Pastor Dollar isn't rich because of the tax free church money. He is rich because he believes.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  9. A Serpents Dump

    Strip that girl naked and beat her supple firm booty with a shoe! .....i just skeeted

    June 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  10. Jessica

    Teenage girls are extremely challenging to parent. The more parents try to protect them, from themselves, the more challenging the become;. At the end of the day, these kids are still the parents' responsibility. When our kids mess up the whole family is impacted. My prayers go out to Pastor and Mrs. Dollar, and entire family. In all these things you are more than conquerors (sp).

    June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      Teenage boys are equally challenging. I know our paternalistic society teaches us that girls are such a huge problem, but the fact of the matter is no teen should be choked or punched as a form of discipline. Why is that so hard for Dollar fans to grasp?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  11. kookooman

    People i belive his daughters of what happen he is a lair like the books.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  12. ReligionKills

    You're right arthurrr. Just like those 60 plus year old priests who don't get caught late in life. If a person is truly guilty, it will manifest itself very early. Secrets can't be kept for years. I love your logic. Did you go to school to learn how to think that way or is it natural?

    June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  13. Leo

    More concerned about his image then his daughter.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Christian

      So typical

      June 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  14. truth

    what in the world? Does this guy likes money so much that he had to have his last name
    " Dollar"? Thats weird. What an idiot of a man. I would love to punch him in the brains just one time.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Christian

      Me too

      June 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  15. Mr Poe

    So the logic of Mr Dollar's position is that his 15 year old daughter concocted a fairly elaborate tale which was at least in part (according to police) joined in by his 19 year old daughter. Therefore, both his juvenile and adult daughters were willing to lie to the authorities about the conduct of their father. I'm sure then that Mr Dollar would have no problem with the authorities prosecuting both for making false statements to police and reimbursing the jurisdiction for any expenses. Wow, what disdain that not one but two of his daughters must have for him to attempt to tarnish this very public figure in this way!

    June 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  16. oldguy

    Is Dollar really his name?

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

    Prayer changes things .

    June 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  18. kookooman

    Did the other daughter lie about what happen ? She is a wittness.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  19. truth

    Why in the world did his daughter called 911 if she didn't feel it was not neccesary to do so?? This devil of a so called preacher is so false and cunning as the rest of his congration. Its ok Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Luke


      June 10, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  20. Jose M. Pulido

    He needs to attend Anger Management classes to prevent Hulking out.

    June 10, 2012 at 7:49 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.