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. Epidi

    "I want the church family to know that all is well in the Dollar household," he said. Uh hmmm....then why is your daughter telling the police you did that to her? Not saying he did it, but that comment is ridiculous!

    June 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • BFG

      Not just the victim reporting the assault, but verification from an older daughter. All is seriously UNwell in that household. Creflo should man up and get treatment.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  2. davismom

    How are you so quick to jump to a conclusion that Pastor Dollar is guilty. Is it because he is a man of the cloth or because is a wealth black man. Have any of you raised teens. They have not changed. There was clearly so altercation, but the complete truth has not been revealed. Be careful how you try to discredit the man of God so quickly. Remember he is not only a man of God, but a parent trying to raise a strong willed teen. God help us to not be so critcal and hurtful.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Is it because he is a con-man, a snake-oil salesman, a charlatan, a predator and an all around bad guy? Who knows?

      June 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • ReligionKills

      Him being black has nothing to do with it. Him being a hypocritical liar is the issue.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  3. Allen

    God damn it, Creflo! There you go fudging with the bottom line again!

    June 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  4. robert van hevel

    I find it shame full that a man claiming to be a preacher does not live his life to what he sermons about every week. If both his daughters say what happened and he cannot admit to his bad decision or action then he needs to look deep down and ask for forgiveness.The truth is what sets you free. His flock should see through that or they don't want to believe it .

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

      I don't believe a word what those harlots say.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • gmad

      i would have to agree with you. the fact that sheeple believe this guy irks me to no end.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |

    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....HE LAUGHED...DADDY OF THE YEAR..

    June 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No no no, you minunderstand. He was filled with the spirit of the Lord and he was "gettin' happy" as he Lord's grece filled him joy!

      June 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I meant grace, but somehow grease seems to work better...

      June 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  6. t3chn0ph0b3

    Use of passive voice (i.e., "...she was not choked. She was not punched." instead of "I did not choke her. I did not punch her.") is an example of something called "distancing language." Liars use this kind of speech to sound more authoritative than they feel they actually are and to distance themselves from the verbs used in the sentences. Also, the expression "The truth is" is called an unnecessary qualifier. Liars use this kind of speech to shore up falsifications to which they're attempting to lend additional credence. This man's veracity is highly questionable just on those two sentences alone.

    Also, police questioned both daughters separately and for an extended period of time. If this were simply a 15 year-old getting back at her dad with the help of her 19 year-old sister, the interrogators would have sniffed out the deception of children by exploiting inconsistencies in their stories and emotional incongruities. They're highly trained and experienced in this kind of investigation. Both children must have been obviously shocked and terrified through the entire episode or the cops would not have pressed charges.

    No, the child did not have any broken bones. No, she was not killed. No, she was not seriously injured. All those things are true. I can also understand trying to restrain your daughter physically to prevent her from leaving the house at 1:00 A.M. If accurate, however, the children's description of what happened goes beyond the pale of acceptable force and should be prosecuted.

    A word to the wise. Don't beat on your kid. If they get out of control and you fear for their safety outside of the house due to their irresponsible actions, call the cops on them. That's what the police are there for, to protect you and your children.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  7. Marvin Whaley

    You got it half "write". According your report, "Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of 'prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger." It was NOT about prosperity (money) that he has been teaching on the last few weeks, it was about righteousness. You missied that part.

    Have you not heard? He has been teaching on grace, faith and righteousness since the beginning of the year.
    If you would come to our church, you would realize that we teach more than "the prosperity gospel" as you put it. There is more to the Bible than that.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • sonny

      If we are Bible believers and true Christians, we should adhere to what the Bible teaches. Romans 10:15 declares that ONLY those who are sent can preach the pure gospel. What many people believe that it is easy to understand what is there in the Bible is against its teachings as well because the Bible is hidden in mystery to a non-commissioned preacher (Romans 16:25) Even it is studied everyday its mystery will not be discovered if one is not given to know its mystery (II Tim. 3:7) It is very dangerous for anyone to just not care whether or not a preacher whom he is listening is sent by God for it is his or her soul is what is at stake (II Peter 1:16) JUST SHARING – PEACE TO ALL.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • gmad

      There is nothing more to it because it is all nonsense. Can't you see?, or are you just too ignorant and cowardly to see it? Either way, i laugh at your stupid prosperity gospel and you sheeple with a cynicism and a distrust that resonates throughout my entire being!

      June 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  8. Alien Orifice

    Human walks by worm and does not notice it. Even if human does notice it, the two have no way to communicate.

    Human walks by worm but worm but does not even recognize the human’s presence.

    Human and Worm share 98% DNA.

    In that 2% that is different, we are rendered completely alien to each other.

    Consider how this might affect other forms of life, aliens, even “God” relative to our meager faculties to perceive them.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  9. Mary Mary

    Sad day in the Dollar family. Praying this incident will help other families in crisis. God bless the Dollars.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Fuk the dollars. Maybe this will help the people they have been fleecing all these years.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Rob Mitchem

      What a Joke. This guy wears a $1500 suit to preach in the day after he's arrested? I can't believe people give him their money

      June 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • davismom

      I agree. No one complains about the head of a corporation. What business is it of ours how much his suits cost. God bless and heal his family.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Not too bright are you. Poor little Davis.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  10. Alien Orifice

    There is no scientific evidence indicating that God exists. We all know that. For example:

    • God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth.

    • None of Jesus' "miracles" left any physical evidence either.

    • God has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone.

    • The resurrected Jesus has never appeared to anyone.

    • The Bible we have is provably incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God. Or even more likely the Romans to keep the Jews quiet.

    • When we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is "answering prayers."

    • Huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God.

    • And so on…

    There is no empirical evidence showing that God exists.

    If you think about it as a rational person, this lack of evidence is startling. There is not one bit of empirical evidence indicating that today's "God", nor any other contemporary god, nor any god of the past, exists. In addition we know that:

    1. If we had scientific proof of God's existence, we would talk about the "science of God" rather than "faith in God".

    2. If we had scientific proof of God's existence, the study of God would be a scientific endeavor rather than a theological one.

    3. If we had scientific proof of God's existence, all religious people would be aligning on the God that had been scientifically proven to exist. Instead there are thousands of gods and religions.

    The reason for this lack of evidence is easy for any unbiased observer to see. The reason why there is no empirical evidence for God is because God is imaginary.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Bill Jones

      And you created yourself. You made the rivers, elevated the mountains, hung the moon and the stars. I guess YOU are your own god and money is your idol.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • JMG

      Well, you may say that there is not scientific proof of existence of God, which really, if you think about it, SHOULDN'T be conceptually doable. Who are WE as Humans to believe we have the resources to "expose" God. That sounds dumb actually. But that is CONCEPTUALLY. Secondly, why are there just as many SCIENTIFIC inconsistencies that prove that SCIENCE itself is just as flawed, so why are we citing science as our know all, be all??? And lastly, if YOU don't believe in God, why is it such a driving force within you to share your information of their NOT being proof? There is a reason why you feel condemned to play that role in religious thread. Because for what it's worth, one belief should not affect yours and shouldn't really matter to you. Because you can NOT go to Church, NOT read a Bible, and NOT believe in God and be ok while others are....so....

      June 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • jas

      I won't bash your opinions, but just really look up the word faith. I mean what the actual definition is. I have my own personal experience of what faith and prayer has done in my life. It shouldn't be such an issue to anyone else what I believe and no one will make me second guess it, even though there are those that will try (for whatever reason). There is tangible proof and evidence of events that have occurred and places that are described in the Bible, but people will still believe what they believe (no other faith based book even comes close, not to mention the prophecies outlined). There are way too many complexities of life to explain it all away as a random big bang out of nothing, and of evolution. There's no real proof of any of those theories either. Where is the so called missing link and why aren't we still evolving? I've had the courage to ask myself what happens if I'm wrong. I wonder how many others have. Still, I won't convince you and you won't convince me. What's to gain from even trying? We'll all know for sure when our time is up. In the meantime, it's not such a bad life having something to believe in.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Alien Orifice


      June 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • gmad

      you speak the truth my friend

      June 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Your ignorance is staggering and embarrassing. It is no wonder the U.S is a laughing stock around the world.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      My statement was for Billy and the J boys. Aren't you boys late for huntin' some squirrels or something? Learn to read,it really opens doors.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Christine

      Is there scientific evidence that he doesn't exist? I don't know all the answers nor do you. What I do know is we live on a planet where life "is". Everything – the sun, moon, oceans, ozone layer, plants, oxygen....it's all perfected for us to survive. And you think this just happened because it just happened? Why can't we find life and/or intelligence on other planets? Also, if there are aliens and UFOs, why don't they ever visit us in person? Why just fly by the skies with weird lights? If they came all those light years away to check out Earth and humans, why not meet us face to face? Stop acting like a know it all. You KNOW nothing; none of us do. It's all a guess, an opinion – and how do you know science is a fact? Prove it. Show me proof that science is real.

      June 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Christine

      And why the name calling, bashing, and mocking towards others who try to share their opinions with you? Where is that getting you?

      June 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  11. 1Comment

    He did it. He can blame the devil and keep hiding behind bible quotes, but bottom line he did it. He is destroying his relationship with his daughters and damaging them psychologically. He should have been spending his Sunday with his family, and preserve the unity of his family. Instead he is trying to convince the public he is innocent. It is now clear he cares more about making money than the love of his daughter. People like him are the devil and the bible warns the faithful of these types of people.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  12. ComeOnMan9

    Pimp on Cash Flow. Lookahere if you was being a daddy not wanting your young girl daughter to go out to a party and you had to tell her what's up, I aint got a problem with that. Now about your theology........

    June 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  13. Sconce

    I wanted to be 900 oh well 901 works.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  14. 3at m0r3 m34t

    pew pew games are the best. Why don't they allow games like this? I love steak.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  15. WubWubStep

    I'm not sure why this is on the religion blog? Why not just post it in the front page of cnn.com?

    June 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  16. Joey

    So, BOTH his daughters were making it up? Liar.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  17. Obviously

    No matter how you feel about this, it shows how the reverend solves stubborn solutions. With a violent stroke of his hands.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  18. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Will you morons desist in braying "Spare the rod and spoil the child"? You are clueless as to what the phrase means or where it even originated. Stop pretending it is an excuse to beat your kid, you lame-azz dolts.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Answer

      They're too stupid to even think for themselves..how could they even understand that statement.

      June 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  19. Queen Barbara

    Thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for releasing my friend from the image of punishment and imprisonment.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Answer


      Delusional people are so funny.

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

      AND your a nut job...

      June 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Answer


      Oh just because I reject your ridiculous religion? Did I hurt you that bad you poor fool? XD

      June 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  20. Frank

    ROFLMAO....With the name Dollar he's sticking it right in the face of his sheep. It's no longer a challenge for him to sneak it past the gullible so he's right out front with them and they still give up their cash. What idiots! More power to him. They deserve to be taken to the cleaners.

    June 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • WubWubStep

      Not just the cleaners but hung out to dry on the drying rack. ^ ^

      June 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Boooskoo

      Except that his first name should be Cretin

      June 10, 2012 at 10:19 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.