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. Zil

    That is why I don't believe most of these so called EVANGELICALS. I'd rather pray directly to God.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  2. Raptor Jesus

    Can't wait for naked pics of his daughter to surface on the web after she rebels against daddy some more. Hooorah for the almighta dolla, praaaase da laaawrd!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  3. jim

    Leave Dollar alone. He's sucking money out of people who are so stupid they would be dangerous if they kept it. He's doing a public service.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Raptor Jesus

      Ahhh, uneducated people with wealth is terrible huh Jim?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • SoljaGurl

      I LOVE IT......

      June 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • sam stone

      It is not terrible. They are easy to fleece.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  4. Mykelb

    These so called christians abuse their children the very first day they walk into the church. Mental and emotional abuse is the order of the day for religionists and adding physical abuse to the list of abuses is not a big deal for them.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  5. Rocky

    "Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo," he said to a huge cheer." This man is an outrageous fraud..and black people are so stupid and gullible to blindly follow him. They are an easily led people. How dare he compare his arrest to Jesus Christ and Paul. This is blasphemous!! He is a liar, fraud, and a thief. he is one of the false prophets that the bible talks about. He is living proof that a fool and his money soon part.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • mista411

      It's all kind of people following the prosperity gospel Rocky – whites, latinos, asians, and blacks. While most of Creflo's TV audience may be black, don't make the racist assumption that it's just a bunch of stupid black people following the Dollar. Greed and stupidity know neither racial nor ethnic boundaries.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Double R

      I agree with you about how he compared himself to Jesus, but to say that black people are an easily led people... really? That they are stupid and gullible? Are you a Christian? Do you preach Christ and spew hatred in the same breath? If so than you are no better than the preacher you condemn. The tounge is a wicked thing and please believe that we will all be held accountable for the words we say.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  6. Dark Knight

    Let's have a moment of clarity without deep emotions. The situation was 15 year old daughter was prevented or told "No" about going to a party at 1 AM. The 15 year old daughter became enraged and was disrespectful. We can easily speculate that this exchnage was heated; thus with a emotionally charged confrontation things happened. She was not abused; the family has no history of abuse; this was controlled discipline. Our society is faultering due to the lack of discipline and ease to deflect responsibilities. I am amazed at all the outrage. Better enforce rules in your house now than have law enforceful arrest your children later.

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

      She was not abused
      Were you a witness? Unless you were, stop drawing your own conclusions.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Patricia

      AMEN to Dark Knight –

      June 11, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Dark Knight

      @ Madtown. The question is valid. I was not there yet neither were you. I raised three boys and the later one on my own. Had she been truly abused, law enforcement and CPS would have removed all children from the house. Instead the parent was charged with a "PC violation" in the domestic arena. Again....step away from the emotional charge and see clearly.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Madtown

      Dark Knight
      @ Madtown. The question is valid.
      Think what you want. However, unless you were there, park your arrogance and don't make statements of definitiveness, because you don't know.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dark Knight

      @ Madtown. And you point is what? I base my opinion on the facts known; not on his occupation; racial profile; nor financial means...facts dictate deduction. I failed to attack you personally with name calling, because that's a sign of a losing argument. Critical thinking 101.

      June 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  7. jeff mcnary

    If anybody thinks for one second that Creflo Dollar's daughter is lying and that the police and media are sensationalizing the police report, then you are as DUMB as a bag of rocks. Shame on you, Creflo...you are a liar, and now you're on the pulpit waving your nasty, dirty personal "laundry" in the face of the idiots who continue to listen to your spew each week. Your fall is coming, and very soon...get ready for a hard landing...it's been in the making for quite sometime.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  8. Madtown

    Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy
    But of course. Standard script, and all too easy. What an f-ing criminal.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  9. Mach00man

    I worked in the juvenile justice system for 17 years and I saw this story unfold everyday. Kids will often tell authorities that they have been abused when they can't get their way. Or as soon as one of their parents lay hands on them as a form of punishment. It happens more than most people would believe. But when the facts begin to unfold, the child breaks down and eventually tells the truth. As far as corporal punishment goes...it is completely legal to physically discipline your child in your home within the limits of the law.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • MK

      The point is, though, is that there is a reason that kids would do this. I'm sure experts would say it's a cry for attention because they're not getting the attention they need to begin with. This girl MAY have lied, but there was some mitigating factor that led up to that incident. As far as physical punishment being "completely legal to physically discipline your child in your home within the limits of the law", why is it okay to hit your child but not your wife? It's ineffective anyway.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Mach00man

      I don't write the laws so I can't answer that. I do agree with you however that it could have been a cry for attention. This is a very busy man. He may not even see his daughter as often as he should. Maybe this was her way of lashing out.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  10. Eddie O.

    Didn't choke her? Bet you a "Dollar" he did!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • TheOne

      He was chocking the 'devil' out of her. It was a religious ritual at that church.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • TheOne

      OOps: choking the 'devil'. Damn spell check didn't work.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  11. Barry G.

    The Apostle Paul wrote in his New Testament epistle, Romans, "As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed…because of you.”

    And Jesus said: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

    Jesus said ": …woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort." (Luke 6:24)

    June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Double R

      Well said, Barry G. Well said.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  12. Chris

    Case solved...except that BOTH of his daughters testified that he did beat her. How people can be so ridiculously blind by giving that guy their money and listening to his sermons is beyond me. At least let the facts come out before you scream out "case dismissed".

    June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  13. Annie Geter

    I agree with creflo ,when A child disobey his parent ,they are to be disaplented as long as there is not aperanted scar ,the bible also say bring up a child in the way they should go .Peoples should read the bible ,in Ephesian6 chapter,childrens obey youre prants .

    June 11, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Primewonk

      I pray to Amma and Bumba that you are a Poe. Or that you are a foreigner and English isn't you first (or second or third) language.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • cwv

      Your comment is a joke, right? Nobody is that illiterate.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Bob

      Annie, you be busy with lots of other violence too if you follow what the bible says. Fine instructions are there for you like these, from your Christian book of horrors:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.


      June 11, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • TheOne

      I tried to obey my 'prants', but they weren't around.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • sam stone

      "A child disobey his parent ,they are to be disaplented as long as there is not aperanted scar ,the bible also say bring up a child in the way they should go .Peoples should read the bible ,in Ephesian6"

      Thank you. That is all we need to know

      June 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  14. More Christian Hypocrisy

    Same Hypocrisy – Different Flavor.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  15. What is a "Spiritual Gift"?

    Is it like a door prize? Does it come with a gift receipt so you can return it for the $$?

    How can I tell if it's been re-gifted?

    June 11, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • notanymore

      A spiritual gift can be any of 19 or 20 (I forget) gifts given to the believer by God at the time of conversion. All authentic Christians have at least one spiritual gift and probably several. Examples of spiritual gifts given by God follow:

      Word of wisdom
      Word of knowledge
      Gifts of healings
      Distinguishing between spirits
      Interpretation of tongues

      People, "doing hair" is NOT a spiritual gift!

      June 11, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      @ What:

      For my spiritual birthday, I would like a spiritual pony.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      I find it interesting that Faith is considered a gift from God, given how much people get chastised for not having it. If God didn't grant me the gift of faith, then no amount of earthly knowledge, skill, or browbeating can change that.Wouldn't an atheist doctor just be someone who was gifted with healing but not faith? Is he somehow less because he didn't receive that gift? Why don't you take it up with the Giver of Gifts rather than that poor sod?

      Or, like most things religious, is there faith and then there's Faith?

      June 11, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Raptor Jesus

      I gotta gift for you.....THERE IS NO GOD! Stop worrying and enjoy life.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  16. Sidprejean

    Stikes me that one can follow the "Prosperity Gospel" OR one can be a Christian. Not both.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  17. Hdtexan

    Amazing how many sheeple will stand behind this sheister grifter child abuser. There's a fool born every minute....and apparently they all support this monster.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Bob


      June 11, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  18. diane

    Just another one of the Black Pack: Rev. Jackson, Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Obama, Rev Holder and Rev. Dollar.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • smw0813

      Race has nothing to do with this, and President Obama is not a reverend. Why do you lump Creflo Dollar in with those men? He is a preacher of "Prosperity Gospel" and you should be comparing him to Joel Osteen.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  19. Shocker!

    When the real story unfolds, many accusers will be in disbelief at how they rallied to support a 15 yr old who wanted to get revenge by falsifying info. The fact that she implicated her father in such a lie speaks to her maturity. Wonder what was going to really happen at the party. Nothing good! Kids are very deceitful just as adults are.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • MK

      "The fact that she implicated her father in such a lie speaks to her maturity." She's 15, he's an adult. Who is the mature one?

      June 11, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • What a HORRIBLE father - can't keep daughter in line

      What a horrible father! If he was raising his daughter correctly, she wouldn't be wanting to run off to some hussy party. She'd be a good girl who wanted to stay at home and fold laundry. This is the type of daughter you get when you discipline inconsistently.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • TheOne

      Children just overreact sometimes. And, so do parents. I'm sure the situation just got out of control on both sides.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  20. R. Mathis

    Having raised a teen aged daughter, I can relate to Mr. Dollar's delimma. I was raised in the old school church of "spare the rod, and spoil in the child", also in the bible. If mine were fighting with me about going to a party at 1 am, I would still be whipping that a–! And why didn't the older sister tell her that this was not a good Idea? When children can pay thier own bills, then they have a say. Since we dont have all the facts, I side with the pastor. To much happening to kids these days.!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • MK

      So in order for a child to avoid physical punishment and "have a say", she has to be able to pay the bills. A child who is not even old enough to get a minimum wage job should be treated like a dog if she can't pay the bills. Oh, I know. Maybe she can take up a collection from the congregants just like her dad does.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • What a HORRIBLE father - can't keep daughter in line

      Which is exactly my point. YOUR daughter wouldn't have done something like this because YOUR daughter was disciplined.

      Blame the pastor for not raising her correctly.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • DamianKnight

      I think what he's trying to say is, children are not small adults. Other than being human, they are in no-way, shape or form, like adults. They are training to be an adult. That said, I am not promoting child abuse. What I am promoting is stern, swift, correction and discipline. The ultimate goal of any parent should be to bring their children up to be respectful, forthright, conscientious, independent members of society.

      Every person must submit to some authority, whether that be their teacher, boss, the government or whatever else. Every person comes under some authority and has to learn to operate beneath it. Children have to learn this at an early age or else they will come to all sorts of trouble. Too many parents are trying to be their kids' "friend." Children don't need more friends. They need someone who has their best interest at heart, guiding them. That doesn't mean you can't get along with your kids and have fun. It just means that when the time comes to draw a line in the sand, a parent needs to love that child enough not to stand on the "friend" side and stand on the "parent" side.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:09 am |
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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.