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. marg

    You ALL are forgetting the FACT of the matter is the CHILD is 15 yrs old. UNDER THE LAW she is a minor in the custody of her parents. If she was forbidden to go to a party and she became disobedient. THE BIBLE SAYS SPARE THE ROD SPOIL THE CHILD. His technic of DISCIPLINE didn't have to be carried out like that IF that was how it was done.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Blane

      There is no excuse for that girl's behavior. Totally unacceptable. I am sure that Creflo will come through this stronger than ever.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Will it matter to you if he's found to be a child abuser, Blane? I doubt it. You'll probably worship his ass if he IS.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Also, UNDER THE LAW choking your child is considered abuse.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      what the bible says is of no consequence under the law

      June 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Portland tony

      The Bible says a lot. Some good. Some bad. Beating a 15 year old is not one of the better ones. Remember the child was raised by this man of God. Maybe if he and the Mrs had payed more attention to their own kids instead of preaching greed, this discipline problem wouldn't have happened!

      June 10, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      There is no excuse or justification for choking and punching your child. You are a failure of a parent if that's what you resort to.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  2. FedUpwithLA

    Someone new to play with . . .

    June 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Newmoon2

    Strange... I don't recall Jesus saying you should be ashamed to be rich. Likewise, I don't recall Jesus preaching that God rewards the faithful with wealth. The folks who buy this load of garbage are making these guys rich, not God, not Jesus... those lost lambs are being fleeced and they're too stupid to realize it.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  4. fuerza00

    Memo to Dollar: You had my benefit of the doubt as the situation was a family one within the confines of your home.

    In this instance, you make a statement and preach the Word ... but when you spiritualize this ordeal as part of your Sunday sermon, compare yourself to Jesus, blame this all on the devil and publicly speak of "malicious witness" ... You failed to protect your daughter - and that may very well alienate her more than anything that did or didn't transpire this weekend.

    A woman who does not feel protected by the man/men in her life, is a woman scorned.

    Potentially lethal.


    June 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Bob

    Mathew 12:25

    June 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  6. Jimmy Swaggart

    B.S. Cash-Flow!

    June 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  7. RaSheila

    I was sitting in church today and your reporter's statements of some of the facts in today's service are grossly incorrect. Pastor Dollar never blamed the incident on the devil, nor did he say the devil was trying to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel", as if it were a direct quote. What Pastor Dollar DID say was that in order to discredit "THIS MESSAGE OF GRACE, the enemy must discredit the messenger." CNN, please don't try to use your platform for news reporting to report erroneous, biased news stories. If you're going to tell it and especially if you're going to QUOTE IT, do so correctly.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Frank

      Lol...you're actually one of his sheep?!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • swohio

      So did he say if his daughter lied and that his OTHER daughter lied by corroborating her story...? Or was that not brought up at all? I mean, if his daughter says he did it, and he says he didn't, isn't someone lying?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • albert

      Well who do you think the messenger is? (Dollar), and who is the enemy? (the Devi). Of course CNN got the story right. Are you so blind that you can't see that this guy is a liar?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HA HA, hey watch out RaSheila (really?), Daddy Dolla' is gettin' his pimp hand right! Better give and give generously or he may have to choke a biitch!

      June 10, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Pat D


      June 11, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  8. JAS

    (sigh) it's such a shame that some people still bash religion and Christians as a whole because of a few bad apples. There are plenty of Christians that are very laid back, un-pretentious people. I don't follow Creflo's teachings and I couldn't care less what goes on in his household. It's just a shame that stories like this continue to cause some folks to post negative comments towards an entire faith. No different than saying all black people are corrupt because on occasion, a few may make the news for committing a crime. Prejudice is still alive and well in the world.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Um, yeah, but

      The bible itself is a bad apple.
      people that believe in it and insist a god that slaughters babies is loving,
      and his son jesus who fully supports everything the father does, including killing babies, is also wise and loving,
      and refuse to listen to sense or reason........
      fully deserve to be bashed.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Frank

      sigh...it's just that delusional people like yourself and your fellow flat Earthers should be ridiculed and deleted from the gene pool.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I agree, Christians are very prejudiced.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      (sigh) it's such a shame that the whole belief system revolves around blaming all of mankind based on a myth of a woman eating a piece of fruit after being conned by a talking serpent

      June 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • jas

      Nice. Thanks for helping me make my point. Seems people have to be insulting instead of just allowing others to state a position in a non hostile way. Does this now give me license to say all non-believers in the world are insensitive and mean spirited? Naaaah. I won't stoop to that level.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  9. James

    Its amazing after 26 years he is still doing good. All you people that say mean things will continue to add to his minstry.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • albert

      Satan is still around too, so what is your point?

      June 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Saying true (mean in your vernacular) is my right as an intelligent human being.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  10. Bayousara

    This jerk's last name says it all. I can't believe with all the phony thieves who have been caught cheating and lying (Tammy Fae and her hubby for example) that people still don't get it. They should be tarred and feathered in public. Toss Joel Olsteen and his bimbo in the same pot.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  11. P.P.

    Only god knows. I for one have a hard time believing him. Men lie every day.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • P.P.


      June 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Frank

      You had it right the first time...."god".

      June 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  12. Dave

    Paul laid it out pretty clearly that if a man wanted to be an "elder" in the church his children had to be in submission to his authority and he has to manage his own household well. I'm sorry for any part of the story that was taken out of proportion but if his daughter did call the police on him then this disqualifies him from being in a public position like head Pastor until the situation is resolved. He needs to step down and work things out with his daughter. God calls men to care for there family FIRST and scriptures like this were written so men in church leadership would also be held accountable. here's the scripture I was referring to. 1 Timothy 3:1-7: "This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a elder, he desires a good work. An elder then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)"

    June 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • albert

      True Christians follow the scriptures. Mr. Dollar is obviously not a true Christian. Especially when you consider what the scriptures have to say.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  13. Ricardo Williams

    This is an unfortunate situation that parents have to deal with when parenting teenagers. I don't know all the facts, but I believe if Creflo can you the church platform to tell his side of the story then he should give his daughter the opportunity to tell her side. He has made this a public matter due to the shame it has brought on him. His daughter must be feeling like an unloved victim with no one to turn to.

    Creflo is a pastor that gives good advice on how individuals can better his life. He had made his wealth from it and good luck to him and his fortunes. Is he a good Christian? I'm not the one to judge that.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  14. mdonnel34

    What's bad is the writer/producer (Steve Almasy) stated Pastor Dollar said "the devil did this to discredit his prosperity message." Which is a tremendous lie I watched the whole service on line and Dr. Dollar never said that! Just a way for the media to sensationalize the truth, CNN you are going way out there to get "viewers" your ship is sinking fast and with this type of lies being told by your producers and writers no wonder your viewership is at an all time low!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Ummm that was supposedly said a few days ago, not at this Sundays service.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Frank

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death."

    I don't know what everyone is all upset about. The pastor didn't follow God's word and is the one in the wrong for not killing his daughter per the above commandment. The little harlot is lucky in this instance. But then again...the commandment is about sons, not daughters so.....

    June 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Newmoon2

      According to Dollar, his daughter wasn't choked, wasn't punched... but he didn't deny beating her with a shoe, now did he?!

      June 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  16. snodog

    Just another of the false prophets. What was that thing about a camel and the eye of needle?

    June 10, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  17. sportreform

    he's seriously f'd up

    June 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  18. albert

    This man is a liar. Satan was the father of the lie, so we all know who this man really worships. He actually has the nerve to call his daughters liars in front of the church? What kind of man does that? God has called you out Mr. Dollar. Hopefully the eyes of your blind sheep will be opened.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      I doubt any of his followers believe he did anything wrong. They are the truly blind ones, Dollar is just a venomous liar out for his own gain. If he truly loved god he would turn everything he doesn't need to those who do need. THAT is christian, not fancy suits and a fistful of gold.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  19. David Somers

    1. If what HE says is true the daughter should be on the platform explaining it NOT him.

    2. If the mark had been there 10 years SURELY the congregation would recognize that immediatley and anyone could stand and testify. DIDNT HAPPEN.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  20. Disgusted

    Ya can't fix stupid.

    June 10, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Disgusted

      This guy represents what it means to be a Christian?

      No thanks.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
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