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. Art Granados

    Mr. Dollar's dollar making machine is now in jeopardy.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Jose M. Pulido

      Yes but he will tell the judge "Let's Make a Deal" because it was just a "Family Feud."

      June 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  2. Mrs. KATZ

    Katherine Kuhlman is turning over in her grave..........

    June 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • trey

      Who's she?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Mrs. KATZ

      Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907–February 20, 1976) was an American faith healer and evangelist.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • trey

      oh thanks didn't know the reference

      June 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  3. Christian Love

    Uncle Tom!! Jesus was white!! Go back to Africa. Keep Heaven white!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Hold on now....

      All of us real Christians however, know that The Savior was born as a Jew, and that Heaven knows no color, or any one particular religion, for that matter.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Krista

      Rank stupidity raises its ugly head.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Yeah all white people have "hair like wool". Jesus would have been and the very least a brown shade.

      June 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • pam

      How fascinating that someone posting with that name displays neither thing.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Mori

      How cute. The reality is...he looked Middle-Eastern. He was born in that part of the world, so the chance of him with blue eyes and honey-colored hair is severely unlikely.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Janet

      Jesus was NOT white. He was an Middle-Eastern Jew from what is now called Palestine. He didn't have a drop of European blood in Him. The Europeans were not following His teaching throughout most of their history, but rather did the opposite from His teaching.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  4. Jimmy Swaggart

    ....totally appalling!!! I would never!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Sally

      Ha ha ha...

      June 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  5. Alien Orifice

    I don't know who his daughter is, but she's cool in my book.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  6. Kirk Cameron

    Tim Tebow is my boyfriend.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  7. Matt

    Keep in mind, this is in Georgia – the sort of backwards quasi-Taliban place where you can still beat kids IN SCHOOL:


    June 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Ken

      Spoken like a true idiot who knows nothing about this place.. Corporal punishment is not used anywhere in schools anymore.. although it probably should be.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  8. skyking

    Another TV preacher bites the dust. At the rate their falling we won't have to listen to their bs on every available TV/Radio channel much longer. AMF Creflow Dollarsigns.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Ken

      Unfortunately, they are a dime a dozen.. so when one falls another two or three come crawling into the lime light.. But I'm with ya.. one more down is one more out of the way...

      June 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  9. GP

    This guy is all about money and power....the poor people who fall for these orators....stay with your local church...there you will receive the real truth. I challenge Creflo and his over dressed wife to prove to me otherwise.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Ken

      uhhh,. I think the people who go here would call it their 'local church'... And we all now you get the 'truth' from the locals...

      June 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Praying for you people

      Sad that all these racist people, want to talk trash about Creflo only because he is black, sad...What about all these white
      tv evangalist I guest they are all perfect, I hope white people think they are going to be in a all white heaven opps forgot
      If that is the case, their wouldn't be any white mothers their because all their husband are black...ha ha

      June 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  10. Everything's fine

    Bush's fault!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  11. Mrs. KATZ

    This guy is a real dirt bag.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  12. no excuse

    Daddy's who beat their daughters, make it easier for the next man in her life to do the same. I don't believe both girls are lying.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  13. hal

    christians are very dumb

    June 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • MuyGuapo

      Really? Any reason for the negative comments? Apart from the fact that you might be anti-Christians (which is just as bad as being anti-Semitic).

      June 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • MalB

      Christians were sinners before they chose everlasting life through the true and living God, In other words if hal who is known to be a sinner can look at a Christian who have the promise of the almighty creator of everlasting life and call them dumb he have not a clue what dumb is but then again they are on the right track because God heals the dumb

      June 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Ken

      Hal didn't mean dumb, he meant narrow minded.. Christians are not dumb, they are just fixated on making everything in life applicable to some biblical notion. The world is a little different now.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  14. Jesus Christ

    I believe I said in Delusions 69:69 "If the child don't behave choke the little brat."

    June 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks


      June 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • In the Shadow of the Cross

      Finally! Jesus has spoken again! He brings forth truth! Now bring me that spoiled brat so I can choke her and show her that it is not a woman's place to even fathom opening her mouth against a man, or she shall be choked and punched!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Hello Dolly@Jesus Christ

      LM GD AO! Thanks for the great laugh!

      June 12, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  15. He ain't no man of god

    I would fall on a bomb to protect my daugthers honor and reputation, this man just stabbed both his daughters in the back, all to save his precious money making church.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  16. midogs2

    You beat your daughter up, dude?

    June 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  17. Tom

    If he didn't slap her silly she would be coming home pregnant from that party she wanted to go to. Either that or with stained dress and runny make up.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Ken

      Well gosh.. this makes it all better now.. I'm glad you woke me up to the realization....I never thought of it this way... Ok folkes.. its official now. To eliminate teen pregnancy, choke em...

      June 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Runny make up? Yeah I know how that happens! Good times! Take it all for JC baby!

      June 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • smw0813

      You know, I might say you have a point about a father needing to protect his daughter, except for the fact that I went to a lot of parties as a teenager (which wasn't that long ago) and never once came home drunk, high, with runny makeup, with a stained dress, or pregnant. There are a lot of us out there who know how to have a good time with our friends and still make good choices, and "slapping us silly" would not have been a solution to anything.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      So we can gather from this that Tom is a bully who enjoys hitting girls "for their own good."

      June 11, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Janet

      The time to raise your children to be goody-goody & make safe decisions is when they are young. At 15, if they haven't been raised a certain way, it's near impossible to change them. She was apparently raised to talk back to her daddy & demand her 'rights'. At this point he may have to let her do the partying all hours & run buck-wild if she chooses. She's getting to that age where she can make her own decisions & can't blame mommy & daddy for the outcome.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  18. CantBeSerious

    "But to come and take a picture of a mark that’s been there for 10 years, and not have enough intelligence to at least ask the parent what it is, is appalling."

    You're right, the police should ask a parent accused of child abuse about the origin of a mark on his or child because said parent would definitely give an honest answer. Let's err on the side of keeping a child in a potentially dangerous situation. Yes, because THAT apparently would be the "intelligent" thing to do.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Janet

      Has he been abusing her for ten years? Hmmm! I like his teaching, but I don't know the man, don't live with him, not positive that he's not an abuser. It will all come out in time.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  19. disgustedvet

    I may have slapped da ho around,buts i didnt choke da beetch. I'se a man of god.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Ken

      You didn't pass hooked on phonics did you??

      June 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  20. Dennis

    Without all the money coming into his church,he may have to change his name to "Freeflow Dollar"

    June 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Laura

      Hahaha...his real name was Michael Smith.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
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