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. phoodphite

    How can it not be choking. I'm pretty sure my parents had a '58 Creflo, and that was the only way to get it started.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      LOL phoodphite

      June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  2. billythebigbone

    " Book 'em, Danno."

    June 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  3. Truth

    People from the south are dumb, poor, lazy, hypocritical and genuinely ugly. The north should bomb it back to the bronze ages, which is about how socially advanced they are as a whole.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Hold on now....

      Come down here and say that.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Let me know when you have paved roads and I will come on down.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Ken

      I'm from the north and this is the exact kind of thing that makes my skin crawl. You obviously haven't left the comfort of your lazy boy to get a real education. Although I live in the south now and don't typically defend many attributes here, I loathe those who make irrational judgements. You're the very reason the south still hates the north

      June 10, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      You sir are bigger moron than the racist that lives down the hill in an old school bus. Feel free to keep thinking your awesome though if thats what gets you through the day.

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

      And some of the Islamic people are thinking the same thing about you. Severe ignorance dictates that one be prejudice & judge an entire group of people.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  4. Writer Girl

    Oh and what a terrible Father trying to protect his 15 year old from a party with who knows? Sounds like a true Father rather than some jerk who could care less what his kids do!! But according to pop culture -he has to be bad because he is a preacher who grew a ministry!!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • GP

      Scolding your kids because they are defiant and what is is stated to have happened here are two very different things. Stop trying to protect a man who has had a history of behavior that does not follow with what true Christians believe.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Living in Denial

      I too, call raking in millions, untaxed, to line my pockets and build gaudy buildings furnished with upscale amenities, "building ministry."

      June 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      What is a "true christian"?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Alien Orifice

    The Mystery of Rabbit Poop

    Unlike most other mammals, lagomorphs (including domestic rabbits) produce two types of droppings, fecal pellets (the round, dry ones you usually see in the litter box) and cecotropes. The latter are produced in a region of the rabbit's digestive tract called the cec.um, a blind-end pouch located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The cec.um contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and may even protect the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens.

    How does the rabbit get those essential nutrients? She eats the cecotropes as they exit the anus. The rabbits blissful expression when she's engaging in cecotrophy (the ingestion of cecotropes) will tell you that she finds this anything but disgusting. In fact, rabbits deprived of their cecotropes will eventually succ.umb to malnutrition. Cecotropes are not feces. They are nutrient-packed dietary items essential to your companion rabbit's good health.

    A rabbit may produce cecotropes at various times during the day, and this periodicity may vary from rabbit to rabbit. Some produce cecotropes in the late morning, some in the late afternoon, and some at night. In any case, they usually do this when you're not watching (quite polite of them). This might be why some people refer to cecotropes as "night droppings," though cecotropes are not always produced at night. A human face is apparently an excellent and refreshing palate-cleanser, as a favorite activity immediately post-cecotrophy often seems to be "kiss the caregiver". Mmmmmm.

    Now THAT is intelligent. A mammal having to eat tasty morsels that come out of it’s butt (an evolutionary trait passed on from the fish digestive system many millions of years ago).

    Next week: Cows and that crazy “cud” double tummy thing. Intelligent Design!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ken

      WOW.. Wiki came in handy for you tonight.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Janet

      Eating tasty parasites that come out of your ass to nourish you. Hah! One could suggest these two types of poop represent human society. Some nourish & build up, others are simply stinky & behave in a wasteful manner.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  6. slrman

    Another hypocirtical "christian" reveals his true values, money and control.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Solitairedog

    I never had to call 911 on my father. Try a little tenderness "reverend". Or try an anger management class.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  8. Reen Door

    Nobody knows but I will say this the child knows he told her not to go to that party. She was being defiant. He should have whooped her tail she mad and just want to make him a public spectacle. We endured correction as a child and turned out just fine. One day she will realize that parents ultimately want the best for our children.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • GP

      Moron....physical abuse....no wonder you have to keep hitting your kids...you have taught then there is no other way....put your head back in the hole and inhale.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  9. LEPsun

    Where is the story about the black teenagers stabbing a Domino's Pizza driver 50 times in Georgia?

    June 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • GP

      Where is the NAACP???? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.....amazing the double standard of these "preachers"....all about money and fame......never about disciplining one of their own

      June 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  10. Seeker of Truth

    As a woman who has been in music ministry for years, I watch various TV ministry programs, including Creflo Dollar, at times. I have two comments, though not about what happened between Creflo and his daughter, as all the evidence is not in for viewers. However, some weeks back I was completely turned off by a comment in one of his sermons which said something like: The difference between a musician and an artist is that artists are only in it for the money. This really was painful to hear, and seemed to reflect ignorance as well as lack of respect for people in the arts. Most artists including myself, do not make much money in their work, and especially in churches.. The second incident was just a week ago, after I ventured to tune in again. Toward the end of the sermon he began to get really an angry look on his face as he that women didn't know how to do anything anymore as wives (such as cook, clean, pick up his socks, etc.) This was another example of someone being totally out of touch with reality and maybe with hidden anger toward women. His church audience seemed shocked at this also, and he quickly smiled to appease what was a rising sound of booing and oohing coming from his listeners, though it remained restrained. Creflo may be a good preacher but perhaps he needs some counseling to speak more with knowledge and respect, along with anger management. Where there's smoke there's fire, as the saying goes.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • say what??

      if he's about preaching financial empowerment, why would he care if the artist were making money. I agree with you. Artists are not paid well. My son is an artist and he sure couldn't raise his family on it. This guy sounds like he needs some anger management classes. I have issues with churches that are "megachurches". One could say there are Pastors, and then there are money sucking Preachers.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  11. Candace Jones

    God . . . forgive them for they know not what they do.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Praying for you people


      June 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • mary

      Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess....SOON

      June 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  12. Bill

    I hope he goes to hell and the devil beats him with a shoe

    But he'll just rot in the ground cause LMAO @ religions

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  13. nolongerarepublican

    Even if he did not actually choke her, he definitely choked his chicken.
    What a fake preacher.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  14. bresson

    The Sunday after youre arrested for something like this is when you resign and start to put your life back together, not go in front of your congregation and put up a defense. Egomaniac is an understatement here.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • MalB

      Bresson I guess for you it should be spoil the child while you hid the rod, See thats the problem with America The child can be as rude as hell and you should not beat the child because its child abuse but when the child does wrong you want to know what kind of parents raised the child as a matter of fact you go as far as to sue the parents. What is it should parents do to instill in the child the right morals the bible says spare the rod spoil the child, its interpreted as beat the child to correct it not abuse the child as it also goes on to say parents do not bring your child to wrath. You should come to the Caribbean, there you will learn the correct way to bring up a child because they can call the police up there not here as the police will stand will you correct the child even if it mean the belt

      June 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  15. Kashbmaryd

    Hopefully they will get through this time of pain. Just goes to show you that there are issues on our lives that are deep whether or not we have money. Perhaps they can handle this one out of court. It just depends on the evidence.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  16. Writer Girl

    Why is it that nobody has cited small town deputy sheriffs. I have seen so many locals inept at understanding and handling situations. Come on people!! Punched?? No marks ?? Choked?? Slight superficial mark?? God doesnt want his people to have money so we become haters of all TV Preachers ? Why don't we start judging situations without our prejudiced blinders on?? Its like me saying my husband had an affair with someone from Alabama now I hate every woman from Alabama? Really people time to grow out of your small minds!! By the way God isn't against money so if you truly believe that you haven't studied well. You might as well quit your jobs and pursuits and live like the desolate!! So ridiculous how you believe every thing propaganda based sysyem we live in tells you to believe!!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • atroy

      What was that you said about small minds? A mirror might do you wonders.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Writer Girl

      Oh small minds who can not jusge as anyone who thinks differently! I am not right or left ..This or that.. I have a sense that we need to start seeing without bias..Your losing your individuality sir!! Think like the flock and act like them!!

      June 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • say what??

      and you believe everything your preacher tells you?

      June 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • S53

      Maybe you should judge the situation without you prejudged binders on. Neither you nor I know what happened. To rail against local police with no information is just plain stupid. Let the police and family work through the details.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  17. IRONHAND75

    Most police departments have a policy that when they respond to a domestic violence call someone has to go to jail..(yes, a cop told me that). They no longer investigate and simply choose the path of least resistance to end the call and move on. If a situation has the mere appearance of impropriety the cuffs come out and baseless charges are leveled against what usually turns out to be an innocent person. Groups such as the ACLU have all but rendered parents helpless when it comes to disciplining a child. As a father of daughters I can tell you that if one of them attended a party after I had forbidden it would get lit up like a Christmas tree. Discipline MUST be maintained by the parent....not the state.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • raw28

      I guess you'll have no problems when their boyfriend or husband beat them also.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Juanmom

      I agree raw28!

      June 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Ken

      Yea you're cop friend is lying to you. Police judge based on what they see at the moment and testimony from an investigation. If they need to arrest someone, they will. If not they won't. Just because they come out to a call, doesn't mean they 'have' to arrest someone. Just for the record, discipline does not include domestic abuse on a child. They were probably both out of control, but the parent is the more responsibly party. Preacher or not, they are human and the police acted on their best judgement.

      June 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  18. Laura

    Liar, liar pants of fire, so is the place where lying pastors go! Witnesses say otherwise pastor, stop lying and free yourself by telling the truth. If you think that being the pastor of a mega-church will get you off of battery charges you got something coming to you.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • MalB

      Laura if your child of fifteen years old want to go out to a party after 1.00 am will you let him or her go, put your foot in the shoes before you can say how they fit

      June 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Sam

      So the appropriate response to sassy children is choke slamming them, MalB?

      June 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      MalB just believes in beating children as often as possible, since her pastor told her the bible says it is OK!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  19. Jayzers

    Lexus Jesus approves of this message.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  20. xponential

    Police in the US have arrested two teenagers in connection with the murder of a Domino's Pizza worker who was stabbed 50 times and bludgeoned as she delivered an order to them.

    The stabbing took place on Thursday evening as the victim, 27-year-old mother-of-one Elizabeth Hutcheson, was delivering pizza to an address in the small city of Cedartown in Georgia.

    Only reported overseas. And the MSM is still massaging itself about Z-man

    June 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • LEPsun

      The black murderers killed a 27 year old working white mom by stabbing her 50 times.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Ken

      And the point is???

      June 10, 2012 at 8:39 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.