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. Patricia

    As someone who has been watching and listening to Creflo Dollar for years, I'd like to add my own personal opinion here (for what it's worth) – I do not believe for ONE second that Creflo Dollar punched nor choked his daughter. I do believe things may have gotten heated, but I think the press is blowing this story way out of proportion (gee, what a shock!) And with regard to Pastor Dollar's preaching on the abundant life – I've never felt he preached that meaning only material things – when I hear him preach on it, I interpret it to mean emotionally and spiritually. Pastor Dollar has been a tremendous blessing in my life and I, personally, believe he is a man filled with the Holy Spirit. I will pray for him and his family – Pastor Dollar, stay strong!!!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Christian

      you are unfortunately one of those sheep followers. Look what he drives, a Bentely, and if you don't think he is doing what he does just for the money, you need help lady

      June 11, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Madtown

      believe he is a man filled with the Holy Spirit
      Well, we can certainly see what he's filled with: Money. Lot's of it. All because he speaks man's word about God, and it's what some people want to hear. He's an exceptional businessman.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Lisa

      Jesus did not have a foxhole to live in. Does that mean he was not blessed by his father? Creflo is a hypocrite. He does not believe in God or he would not be able to scam people without conscience.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • pattysboi

      Patricia, it's obvious that you have been brainwashed by this wolf in sheep's clothing. This is NOT the first time daddy dollar signs has run afoul of the law, apparently. He needs to come clean about this, as his older daughter corroborated the 15 year old victim's story.

      June 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  2. SAVING FACE...not saving grace.

    If I had a "Dollar" for every time an abuser deneid a beating, I would have as much money as Mr. Mega Church.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  3. Amy lee

    I 'm a single mom of 2 teens and a believer. "spare the rod spoil the child"...did you think God put in his Word to hear Himself talk?....That's the problem with the world today to many children thinking they can disrespect.....I support Pastor and as far as his daughter...Well, let just say your lucky you weren't in my face.....

    June 11, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • MK

      And how's that working for you, Amy? Is your physical punishment causing your teens to act better?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • steve

      thats quite interesting amy because my i have one sibling and a 4 in-laws that work for their living and actually make an effort and you know what? neither myself, my wife, nor any of them were ever beaten. so no, sparing the rod does not spoil the child you empty-threated joke

      June 11, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Madtown

      did you think God put in his Word to hear Himself talk?
      Are you referring to the bible? God didn't put anything into the bible, those are the words of men. Written by men, edited by men, offered in new versions with different words by men.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • C'mon

      Amy lee,
      "Well, let just say your lucky you weren't in my face"

      Ooooh, a toughie, eh? Plenty of folks would like to beat you down, I'll bet. You poor thing.

      Your kids will not respect you in the final outcome... fear, cower like beaten puppies, maybe; and perhaps they will take it out on those who are weaker than they are. Nice.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • sam stone

      No, Amy....god did not talk at all. However, Iron Age sheep mounters did, and now their edited, translated hearsay is deified

      June 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      Also, Amy, how does a being without a mouth and without ears "hear himself talk"?

      June 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      My husband is in his 50's. His parents beat him with extension cords, hands, shoes, pop bottles, what ever was in reach. He was a drug addict at 13 years of age for 26 years. Beating does not work. The bible is speaking of discipline which is teaching, not beating. That is slave mentality.

      June 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  4. Leslie

    I bet when this child grows up to a more mature age and look back to realise the shame she has caused his father and family, she will live in a perpetual remorse.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • MK

      OR she'll thank her lucky stars he wasn't able to choke the life out of her.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • John

      She will live as a powerful woman, one that does not let a man beat her to death on a whim. The next time pastor dumbazz feels like using her for a punching back, I hope she dials 911 and leave it on so they can record it, or she gets a video of it so he can be put away for years to come. She should walk down the street with a bullhorn telling any and all how horrible this beat freak is.

      In this instance, I agree with NOW, he is a horrible monster, a repulsive man to be beating a crying 15 year old girl.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • sam stone

      Or, she will despise him forever and wish that he dies soon and leaves her a huge inheritence

      June 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      I hope that the next time Creflo attempts this, she pulls out a 9mm and arrranges a meeting between daddy and Jesus

      June 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  5. Justin

    If "all was well in the Dollar household" your kid wouldn't have to be calling 911 ...

    June 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  6. JLS

    There isn't a word that Creflo Dollar preaches that perverts the Gospel. Those critics need to read the Word & get understanding because he is exactly right. If you critics want to live like mice because you are un-teachable feel free.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Ahhhhhhh

      I don't think it's his words critics complain about.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Dw

      He wasn't choking her, he was just trying to squeeze the demons out of her neck.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      "There isn't a word that Creflo Dollar preaches that perverts the Gospel." ... That's the problem!!

      June 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Charlotte

      HA HA HA HA HAHAHAAAAA!!!! What an agent of the Devil YOU are!!! "Prosperity Gospel" is just another craven attempt to twist the Bible to self-serving ends – this time by the vulgar, greedy monsters who in other guises are called money-grubbing wh0res. Shame on you for using the Bible to achieve your own evil ends, and shame on this fake "pastor" for leading the mindless, greedy sheep (more like goats) who follow him. These people are the fecal matter of spirituality, make no mistake.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Lilith

      It's NOT his preaching, it's his ACTIONS that are the problem.
      You followers need to stay focused on the issue & stop deflecting from the reality you don't want to see. Followers are the Un-Teachable here, or you woldn't be followers.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • sam stone

      And you followers want to live like subservient little punks

      June 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm |


    June 11, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  8. False Hope

    God is real. The people who perpetuate what is right and wrong, good or bad, and continue to cast the first stone are not. False prophets. False puppets.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Ahhhhhhh

      Oh good, so it doesn't mean anything if he choked and beat his daughter, because he isn't real. Thank goodness!

      June 11, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  9. Hypatia

    Un huh. And when does his nose start growing?

    June 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  10. The truth

    Kids are the most dangerous things a man can have in his life in this day and age.
    Schools teach them to rule the house under treat of saying something to the authorities.

    You are at the mercy of a child that is taught no charactor and the liberal mind set.

    I've seen lots of men ruined from a childs mouth. Hitting a kid isn't the solution, giving them back to the society that perverted thier mind and letting them raise them is.

    Trying to be a parent now adays is a dangerous thing and a bad joke.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Justin

      Funny, my kids don't do that .... most kids i know don't do that .... most kids aren't up for dialing 911 unless thier dad is beating them like a bad scene from the color purple and trying to "choke the sin from their evil souls ...."

      June 11, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • steve

      i dont know what schools you know or go to or whos kids you know but that is certainly not the case at all. and if the child is not behaved no, giving them "back to society" is not the best solution either. the solution is to be a parent who gives a damn and actually keeps trying. quitting and "throwing them to the wolves" makes you no better than the one that swings the first hand.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  11. Michael

    Didn't choke her too much is probably more accurate.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  12. Larry O

    She took some of his multi-millions he has taken from followers of him....

    June 11, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  13. Rick Springfield

    I hereby release and command my personal Angels to go out and collect my riches on Earth.
    Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  14. D. Evil

    I had a pastor one time trying to sell me his self rightious B.S. I told him it is just a business transaction...wonder what ever happened to him.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  15. cherrypieguy

    just yer typical religious nut that has the financial support of the naive sheep he milks every week from his bully pulpit. Wake up citizens and give to organizations that help American children with math and science labs in our out moded classrooms

    June 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Excellent point. Stop spending money on selfishly buying your salvation and actually use it to help those who need it. This whole situation proves the hypocrisy of prosperity gospel.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  16. Keel Hauler

    Another lying rich basterd with a flock of fools showering him with money and appraise. You deserve the weekly skrewing he gives you for being stupid.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  17. Alex

    Wow, he refers to himself in the third person when denying HE did it. That's usually an indication of lying. Additionally, excema does not appear in the same place for 10 years.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Hypatia

      Using the 'royal we' is he? Who does he think he is? the Pope?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  18. Will

    And the sheep give him a standing ovation for beating his daughter...nice one

    June 11, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      They're actually applauding themselves ... if they didn't, that would mean THEY were wrong in who they choose to follow. Followers will never admit to being wrong, it's too scary.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      What got me was the CBS news report from yesterday morning. They spoke to a member of his congregation as she and her daughter were going to one of Dollar's services and said something to the effect – so what if he beat her. If she (her daughter) acted up, she would do the same.

      Dollar can only be politely referred to as a megalomaniac control freak. He must be in charge of EVERYTHING associated with his family, his congregation, etc. Those who attempt to oppose him are ridiculed and ostracized. I only hope that he slips up enough one day to allow the IRS to come down on him, Osteen, Jakes and their ilk for milking their congregations for every penny that they cannot afford.

      Bad enough that he equated himself with the arrests of Jesus (by the Sanhedrin Guard – for Blasphemy) and Paul (by the Praetorians for Sedition) for his simple case of battery. At least Dollar did not mention Dr. King or Ralph Abernathy when talking about his arrest. There is a difference between being arrested for what you believe in, and being arrested for acting like a thug. Dollar acted like a thug.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  19. scoto

    Obscene, simply obscene

    June 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  20. CARRIE


    June 11, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Alex


      June 11, 2012 at 11:14 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.