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. albert

    This pathetic excuse for a man has the nerve to compare himself to Jesus? This man is far removed from anything Jesus ever taught. You should be ashamed!

    June 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  2. Rob

    I feel that anyone who believes only one side of a story is bound to be fooled or tricked. To beleive his side of the story and not be given the chance to hear hers is just downright dangerous. Listen to both side and witnesses and then decide. It is no more crazy to congregate a lynch mob on a possible lie than it is to believe innocence just because of he preaches it from ther pulpit. Just consider this. What do you say if it truly happened?

    June 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Jim

    When you have to stand in front of your congregation and say, "She was not choked," it's time to go. No matter what the issue is or who is right or wrong, it's time to pack the boxes and move on or retire.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Boooskoo

      Treat your family with respect and love at all times.

      All you folks out there should remember that if you are convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault, you can never again purchase a firearm without committing a Federal Felony.

      You can keep what guns you have at the time of your crime, but if they are lost stolen, you will never be armed again without being a serious criminal.

      Check the BATF website if you don't believe it.

      Women, use the law to keep an abusive partner in check.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  4. Troy


    June 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Boooskoo

      So, your heros must be PolPot, Hitler, Jeffrey Dahlmer, Attlia the Hun, Stalin, Mao, and Castro.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, those would be YOUR heroes, since they valued blind faith, stupidity, and lack of education among their sycophants.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Frank

      And for the ump-teenth time....Hitler was one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. He did more for the Christian cause than anyone for the past 400 years.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  5. Moby Schtick

    I don't really care that much if he did or did not do what he has been charged with. I care that he claimed to want to keep this as a private family matter yesterday, and today he explained it to his congregation. I care that he compared himself to Jesus and Paul to his congregation because of his few hours of jail time. I'm judging him as a person, not as a criminal. And my judgment is none to favorable.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  6. Katrina

    There is no reason for ANY man on Earth to equate himself to Jesus. If Dollar was a TRUE preacher and only interested in saving souls and NOT enriching them, he would know that. Any person who blindly follows this man and believes everything that comes out of his mouth is a fool, plain and simple. While there is nothing wrong with being financially stable, the church should have nothing to do with increasing finances or preaching a gospel that only encourages people to think about money. Creflo Dollar will answer for what he is preaching, because God judges those who profess themselves "profits" (and yes, I know the proper word is prophet, but the other spelling seems more appropriate) more harshly because they are preaching something that completely goes against what Christians are supposed to do – evangelize and try to plant seeds of salvation in others. That's it, plain and simple.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Believer

      The bible says we are joint heirs in Christ...we can compare ourselves with Jesus. Also we(believers)are told that we will do greater miracles than the ones we read about in the bible. Not for our glory, but for the glory of God. There is more to this Christian life than salvation. As I have said before...would he have been arrested if he would have let her go to a party and something terrible happened to her there? I could easily see myself in his position to keep my kids safe. Because of today's culture, they sensationalize most things. Discipline us not abuse...our culture has interpreted it that way!

      June 11, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  7. PhilG

    Let's all save the daughter from her mean old daddy so she can go party hopping at fifteen and get venereal disease and pregnant.

    Thanks Creflo for at least -trying- to raise your daughter.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • skeptic in the country

      Amen Doc Phil, my scanner resonates this very act virtually every day; however, the actors are not the pastor of a super church so I suppose CNN does not deem it news worthy... My point is this really news? Or, is another way for CNN to slam religion?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Frank

      Yes, you sheep must find it embarassing when your delusions are publicized for the rational world to see. We all do laugh and scoff at you. Grow a brain!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Rob Newman

      While the facts of Mr. Dollar's attack on his child are not competely clear; one thing that is abundantly clear is that the gross misinterpretation of Jesus's word by this self serving opportunistic "minister" is truly disturbing.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  8. swohio

    A. I'm not impressed by anything this man says. But then again, I'm not impressed by anything ANY prosperity gospel preacher says.

    B. He says he never choked his daughter. His daughter said he did. His OTHER daughter apparently corroborated the story.

    C. It would SEEM that somebody is lying.

    D. If Creflo is lying, how can anyone ever trust anything he says about ANYTHING?

    E. If his daughters are lying, what kind of values did he teach those girls?

    F. If no one is lying, then what is this all about?

    June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  9. heloise8

    Reblogged this on The Trough.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  10. hiruu

    Religion is so wonderful...

    June 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Bob from Cali

      Isn't it? It allows me to feel superior to everyone I hate. I can threaten them all with eternal damnation and tell them they're lost if they don't believe exactly as I deem fit. It's wonderful!!! I can consign all gays, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists to hell for eternity, based only on my ridiculous interpretation of the Bible. And I never even made it past high school!

      Religion is wonderful!!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  11. Guest

    How dare he compare himself to Jesus and Paul – who both preached sacrifice and service to others. The only one this charlatan serves is himself!!

    June 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  12. Larry

    CNN ratings are at a 20 year low. Is it any wonder when they delete the comments of anyone that does not follow their left-wing, liberal, socialist agenda? If they continue with their un-American views and censorship, the few Americans that still read/watch them will quickly fade. Maybe they should move from Atlanta to Moscow. They may fit in better there.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • viva_roma

      I would think that if your assertion about CNN's deleting comments is true, then CNN would have deleted your comment as well.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  13. Dougster

    Sounds like it should be an old Eddie Murphy comedy routine:

    "I love her with all my heart"

    "...and the sole of my shoe!"

    June 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  14. 2oong9yce

    Next time pastor just whoop her for real that will at least make the 12 hours spent in jail worthwhile. That child is demented. Whats real sad is how everyone elseccan tell a parent how best to raise their child. So long as its discipline please go right ahead, next time grab a belt and whoop her silly.

    Bunch of hypocrites on here.... Its ok to discipline a child else they bevome a liability to the nation, just look around us..

    June 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Try reading some books

      Um, yeah.........wonder how many violent criminals were "whooped silly" when they were kids. (Pretty much all of them........really seems to work great, huh?)
      Great thinking, genius.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  15. Mastodonrocks

    So I guess the daughters felt great being called liars in front of the whole church. Meanwhile lies continue from the pool pit.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  16. Lone Wanderer

    Since when is College Park suburban Atlanta?

    June 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Yeah last I checked there was NOTHING suburban about College Park.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
      • Lone Wanderer

        I've been gone for a few years in the Army so I was just making sure. That place was a sh** hole last I saw it.

        June 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  17. tom e

    What a lying piece of crap. No wonder Christianity is always taking a hit because of arrogant money grabbing losers. He is a disgrace standing up there in his thousand dollar suit.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • 2oong9yce

      You sound very angry and judgemental. You need Jesus and love in your heart

      June 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • albert

      Jesus was also angry at those who mad a mockery of God and used the church to make money. Creflo Dollar is NOT a Christian!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  18. sula

    Remember the song? Money money money mooooney. That is what this guy relates to. Beating his daughter-that's just for a little extra attention.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  19. JJ

    And the losers at the church will yell "amen!" and move on to abuse their own children, because this play-ah zed so. Sheeit.

    June 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  20. airwad999

    and if his daughter is telling the truth?
    oh, who cares- right? sounds to me like theres a bunch of people that support child abuse and cruelty in this crowd...
    but he's a pastor- he can't tell lies!!... riiiiiight.....

    June 10, 2012 at 8:55 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.