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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. Unite34Ahunter

    A hateful, money-hustling self-appointed claimant as god's mouthpiece on Earth named "Dollar?" Sometimes reality is funnier than good fiction!

    June 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Sally

      Tee-hee-hee. You're right!

      June 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  2. MudRunner

    Maybe he's just angry because his parents named him Creflo.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  3. naji

    Think about this...They argued about her going to a party. He didn't want her to go. Meaning he clearly cared for his daughter. Its obvious that she didn't like that and began an argument with her father. That also means she was likely the person in the wrong and the person who provoked the entire situation. LIke a lot of teenagers have been over the course of history. I can't say he did or did not hurt his daughter. If he choked her or punched her...that will be investigated privately as it should be. But don't call the man evil just because he got into with his teenage daughter. She a rich pastor's daughterl and we all know they can been handfulls at times.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • MudRunner

      So maybe she deserved to be punched?

      June 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • John

      No girl of any age should let a grown man slap their face, strangle them, throw them to the ground, or hit them with a shoe.

      Paster Dumbazz should be ashamed of himself. Both daughters were in fear for their lives as the one was beaten for
      simply having lower than average grades at school, being grounded because of it, and crying because she wanted to
      be happy with friends at a party during the summer. This man is an ignorant lying jerk beating his daughters. He is sick.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • MK

      "Meaning he clearly cared for his daughter." That's not what that means. It means he was exerting his all-powerful grasp on his daughter like he does his congregation and couldn't contain himself when she defied him.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Lisa

      Really Naji,

      Creflo claims he has God's spirit and is blessed with the material things he has. Jesus did not have a foxhole to live in. Does that mean he was not blessed by his father or did he not have God's holy spirit? Creflo is a hypocrite. He does not believe in God or he would not be able to lie and scam people without conscience.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • naji

      No its doesn't give him license to hit her, specifically why I said it will be investigated privately. However, common sense tells you that he didn't start this. He is her father meaning he has the right to tell her if she can or can not go to parties. She is still a minor. So she is to obey him....Period. Plus this is Atlanta...How many shootings this year happened at parties full on teens and young adults? Would you rather he gave in and just roll the dice with his daughter? No.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • pattysboi

      Naji, your ridiculous comment "...That also means she was likely the person in the wrong and the person who provoked the entire situation...." is a load of garbage. She did NOT "provoke" anything, and daddy dollar signs took his childish anger out on a younger, smaller person. That is ABUSE, and he needs to face facts. He is in a LOT of trouble for ABUSE, and I understand that it is not the first time daddy dollar signs has run afoul of the law.

      June 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  4. Lynn

    Here is a man that can TALK MILLION$ FROM HIS FOLLOWERS but yet can NOT talk reason into one 15 year old?

    June 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • haww

      Sometimes it is easier... I remember my teenage daughter, and also being a teenager.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  5. MudRunner

    He told us he didn't do it, so we believed him....he is the pastor after all.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Notso Sheep

      Goo, goo, tah, tah

      June 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  6. New Gawker

    He got carried away disciplining his child, but being a preacher he can't help but lie. If he would have just said yes I got carried away and I'm sorry. it's tough raising children, all his brain dead followers would have praised him anyway.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Notso Sheep

      Right on!

      June 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  7. SoSueMe

    No, all is not well in the Dollar household. If your children will call the police on you, it is a sign of deep dysfunction in the Dollar household. This is what happens when your life is guided by delusions rather than reason.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  8. Notso Sheep

    Yeah, blame the devil. You had nothing to do with it right?
    That's just going to get you so far, and only works in your mind and with the ignorant. You should change that old scratched record. You had enough freebies. Assume your responsibilities like a real man, and stop acting like a religious coward.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  9. yannaes

    This is not about religion it is about another dude of whom is wielding his power struggles.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  10. C.c

    She was not chocked! Her air was cut off while hugging her neck to tight ! She was not slapped! There was a mosquito on her face! He save her from west Nile disease ! You can bet a dollar on that!

    June 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  11. Michael

    If you buy into these guys like Dollar and O'Steen you have crap for brains.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  12. ProperVillain

    What a total charlatan. I can't believe anyone with an ounce of adult intelligence can buy into things like:

    "Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy, saying that to discredit his message of "prosperity gospel," the enemy must discredit the messenger."

    Riiiiigggghhhtttt....so it's the devil to blame now, eh? That's convenient.
    "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."

    He must be reading a very unusual translation of the bible. Paul was arrested for preaching the gospel/sedition. Jesus was most likely arrested by Rome for sedition. To my knowledge they weren't taken into custody for assault.

    It makes me angry that charlatans like this guy abuse what is sacred to me in order to absolve themselves of any personal responsibility for their actions. It makes me sad that naive congregants, who are supposedly mature thinking adults, buy into his self delusion and hypocrisy....

    June 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Madtown

      with an ounce of adult intelligence
      You hit on the key notion. The statement often quoted to PT Barnum about a fool and his money, is true for a very good reason.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  13. M'an

    I'm sorry, but as I read it, I thought to myself, she probably said something disrespectful and slick and he dived on her behind before he knew it. An old school beat down! That's what's wrong with these kids these days! They all are disrespectful and it's been put in their heads about calling 911. Kudos to you Mr. Dollar for disciplining your child who probably NEEDED to be disciplined! I don't condone beating a child senselessly, but a good old butt whooping has never hurt anybody. It just makes you think twice before you disrespect your parents. I got them and turned out pretty well; I know my children KNOW they better not get flip at the mouth and not suffer the consequences of it.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Madtown

      Why don't you show your appreciation, and cut him a check? He'll bless you for it.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Don't spare the belt

      I agree with you M/'an. A good ole fashion butt whipping is needed every once in a while for these kids. It teaches them to respect their parents and that their parents make the rules that they must follow. His daughter is a child that can not take care of herself, but she has the nerve to argue with her father? excuse me!! I bet she will not do that again.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • SoSueMe

      Respectful behavior is NORMAL for children who have been raised in homes where respect is the norm. This means that they are treated with respect and integrity, and parents treat each other with respect and integrity, and the clerk at the grocery store and every other person that interacts with the family is treated with respect and integrity. Children who are bullied or frightened into being "respectful" go on to pull the same baloney with their own children. It is a sad excuse for true respect.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  14. Matt-Mark-John-Jesus

    "Woe to those suckling babies (offspring) in the last days".

    June 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  15. paula

    lots of "good" people abuse children and all of them claim to be innocent.

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

      There is a difference between verbal discipline, physical punishment, verbal abuse and physical abuse. Parents who truly love their children will not abuse them, though they might at times use physcial contact as a means of punishment for an offense. There are lots of parents abusing children daily, and they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Our culture has become so laxed and lazy when it comes to our children that we jump the gun too quickly when loving parents discipline children. I don't know the entire truth nor all the facts pertaining to the Dollars.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  16. KEVIN

    A rich preacher is like a bald barber, they have no respect for their clients. But then its easy to loose your sense of responsiblity when you put the accountablility on someone else. I think these guys like Roberts, Dollar and everyone on TV have no clue or care about anything except the dollar.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Christian

      He drives a Bentely, nough said

      June 11, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Derrick

      He also drives a Rolls Royce. He said he's church gave it to him! What a jerk!!

      June 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  17. Christian


    June 11, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  18. okcvsmiami

    Umm Hmm! Talk back and defy daddy and get *** whooped. Old school. Modern society calls it abuse, I call it discipline. What happened to the belt and switches? What happens in house STAYS in house. Im out.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  19. Mari H

    I must admit I've been a bit skeptical of "Prosperity Preachers" since Jim and Tammy Faye. The preachers seem to be the ones doing the most "prospering". I'm still working at the same job and living in the same house. Fortunately I do not need any contributions from any of you to continue doing this.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  20. Leslie

    Ministers of the word oftentimes forget to pray and deliver their immediate families from evil. They dwell on praying for other people, casting out demons forgetting that they demons they cast out will look for another comfortable environment to hide in. Most times, they run into the minister's wive or children thereby bringing the downfall of that minister. Ministers of the word, watch and pray. Do not think that you are standing because you may fall. Mans' greatest enemy are the members of his own household. Do not forget family deliverance, it is important.

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

      Since when did man ever need help? Mankind can get into more than enough trouble all on its own, without any help from some mythological evil being.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41
About this blog

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.