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. The Devil made me do it

    Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy LOL

    June 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Hawk

      Of course! Because it *can't* be his own fault! That would make him less than almost perfect!

      June 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom the Piper's Son

      Last year I attended a church after several years of avoiding such places. The entire sermon was the same kind of copout as Dollar is using. Everything bad in your life was the devil. From finances to your own ‘wicked’ desires all of it was the devil! These people had absolutely no sense of self responsibility. It was all very disturbing.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  2. QS

    Blame the victim – check
    Blame the devil – check
    Cite some scripture that apparently exonerates your actions – check
    Shake your head with conviction – check
    Make sure to wait until everybody is gone to laugh at their gullibility – check

    The results of somebody questioning men in positions of power, who are accustomed to nobody questioning what they say, can often be very ugly.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  3. ivan

    Mega "pastors" are now showing their REAL NATURE.

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

    commenters: be careful who you talk about... don't put your mouth on the man of God. Just a note.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Scott

      I'd like to put a foot on him.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      He needs a foot in him... which hopefully he will get if he does any time...

      June 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      He is as much a man of God as Hitler was a humanitarian...

      June 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • blahblahblah

      This man is hardly a man of God. The same is true of any other "prosperity gospel" preachers. If only the apostle Paul knew about this prosperity gospel. Perhaps after his 2nd imprisonment and 4th flogging, he might have something to say about its validity.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • DennyRicky

      This is a man of God? Please! It's time you remove your blindfold.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • BosMonkey

      Heh. You're funny. That guy is no closer to God than any of us. It sounds like he has quite the racket going – a large audience of 'sheeple' willing to throw money at him. It's like mass hypnosis. So sad.

      "Deputies also spoke with another daughter, 19, who corroborated her sister's account of what happened." My money is on the daughter.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Hawk

      I don't believe in your god, any more than I believe in Isis, Baal, Odin or Zeus. As to this preacher being a "man of (his) god"...wasn't there something about a camel and the eye of a needle in those scriptures? Or did he skip that part?

      June 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Trust me, I'm not about to put my mouth on him. He's really not my type.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • MK

      Why is he more of a "man of god" than you? Because he has your money?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Dee

    Thats a shame. If my daughter called the police cause she thinks she is grown at 15yrs old!!... What 15yr old needs to go to a party at 1am????? and she had nerve enough to argue back, and god only knows what else. Prolly, threw a temper tantrum, and all that. She wouldnt get anything else from Mommy & Daddy, if it were me ...and let the State come get her too, since she want to call the police. They can take her to the group home and they could find a nice foster home for her (cause that is what they do) and then they can pay for her clothes, give her money, cook her food, and wash her clothes, etc.....considering, Daddy is paying for all her expenses. That would be the last time Ms. Growny would get anything from me.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Scott

      Very intelligent post Dee. Don't quit your church job. Strangling kids is fine, if they are late. How dare anyone call the police. Next time perhaps he murders her... who cares, its God's will.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • BosMonkey

      Maybe at 15 she doesn't need to go to a party, but he doesn't need to choke and beat his daughter either – if that was the case. Kinda looking like it was.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  6. dewayne

    hey Lemon...you were beat as a child and turned out Gay! Must not work

    June 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  7. Cane


    June 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Me

    Some people should never become parents. One who has built a business on religion, certainly would not have time for parenting.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  9. bxgrrl

    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. This guy needs a remedial course in humility, if not psychiatric treatment.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  10. Spidey-Man

    oh WELL then... If he said he didn't do it then that's different...

    June 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  11. grassisbrown

    Say nothing against the man of God or you will endure the wrath... Touch not my least anointed one and do my prophet no harm. Watch what you say people.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Scott

      LOL – The man of an imaginary being... you mean the man who figured out how to dupe the ignorant into making him a millionaire. Pastor = con man.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Hawk

      If this god of your exists, and he is the god portrayed in the old testament (and he would be – remember, god is unchanging), then he is a god that I would not respect, much less worship.

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

      See this is exactly what he has you believe, that you are not to say anything against him. See how he's got you brainwashed?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  12. rad666

    "She was only mildly garroted." said Pastor Dollar.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  13. blondie


    June 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  14. Robert

    "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."

    Why does christianity and hypocrisy go hand in hand so very often?
    How do these people reconcile that notion with the words from their bibles stating "it is easier for a camel to pass throuugh the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven"?

    Cherry pickers, that's what christians are.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Sally

      Right on, Robert.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • DennyRicky

      Amen, Robert. Rev. Creflo has learned his child rearing skills from Joan Crawford.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • David

      That is the funny thing about Christians they always want to tell you that God isn't being literal when it is contrarian to their beliefs. But man if it is something they don't like, like gays, then the word of the bible has no other interpretation. I always say for someone who is suppose to be the inventor of language, God sure has a hard time being clear.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  15. longshot

    It's the devil, of course, against a man of god....what a bunch of looney tunes. Prosperity Gospel, seriously? These people are all nuts.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  16. Decima

    "Dollar blamed the devil for causing the controversy"

    And the majority of morons in his "flock" probably believe this.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Sally

      Ah, yes such sheep.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  17. mrsroyal

    You people have to be smoking crack to criticize this man for not allowing his 15 year old to leave home at 1 a.m. I don't have a problem with WHAT he did, nor HOW he did it. He should have slapped the taste out of her mouth for "arguing" with him in the first place. I tell you what, she'd better be glad she didn't live in a lot households I know, and they're not abusers either. She would think long and hard about calling the police on me. I’d take away the cell phone that I pay for, take away every credit card she had, take all the designer clothes and give them to the goodwill, and she would have a “kitchen” hairdo, cause the weave is out of the question, cost too much money. If I decided to let her stay, as opposed to turning her over to foster care, she would only be allowed to leave the house for school, and since it’s summer, she would have to spend the entire summer inside, reading books or something. And for the 19 year old, she’d have to go, no questions asked, nothing. Just leave. Then, and only then, would she realize that she is a CHILD. You see, this is what is missing in our homes today. This is why children are ruling their parents, because parents won’t stand up to those monsters. I’m glad he did what he did. She might have proponents who say good for her, but these are the same proponents who lash out and spew hatred about black kids being bad, and teenage pregnancy, and black on black crime, etc. Like it or not, she is part of a black family. Black children need their fathers, and society needs to step aside and let these men raise their children. What Creflo Dollar did was be a father. Kudos to you Mr. Dollar.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Floyd from Ilinois

      The best of luck to your kids, mrsroyal – especially after they are lucky enough to grow up and move out.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • S53

      I did not realize that you were allowed to post messages from prison.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Robert

      You'd have to do all that from a cell. After you "slapped the taste out of her mouth" you'd be arrested.
      Children have rights now, we've also invented the TV, telephone and automobile since you last crawled out from under your rock.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Gina

      You obviously have no children.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Hawk

      I take it that you hold to the old testament laws of stoning children that show their parents disrespect?

      June 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • larry

      i agree with some of what u said. I've seen this time and time again we reward our kids for bad behaviour.But it's Mr.and Mrs. Dollar who went wrong here by showering this child with the best of whatever a 16 yr old should receive, The most important ministry the dollars have is the family.Bible says if your not in charge at home you'll not be with the things of God.

      I don't agree woth the prosperity message we are followers of JC whether he prospers us or not. I don't believe God minds a nice home/cars, but prosperity is not the emphasis.

      June 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      " Like it or not, she is part of a black family."

      "Black children need their fathers,"

      "What Creflo Dollar did was be a father."

      "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."

      "18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die:" Deut 21:18-21

      So I guess he isn't a very good Christian father because if he was he would have killed her, right? He can use his bible to defend his materialism and child abuse, what a great book!! Just like ministers and pastors were using it for years to defend their continued ownership of Pastor Dollars ancestors...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Sharice

      You are absolutely right Ms Royal! and to those calling it abuse.......your parents, grandparents and great granparents would be in jail today. That's whats wrong with the youth today, they think they are in control of your household.....

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

      You are NOT absolutely right Ms Royal. If you're calling kids "monsters", I'm hoping you never, ever have the privilege of raising any.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • think4yaself

      I agree with you msroyal. Without knowing exactly what happened it sounds like his 15 yr old "child" wanted to go to a party that he did NOT agree with. That is called "being a parent". Once she decides to tell him how to run his household then what is he supposed to do? What should he have done if she just said "screw you dad, I'm going to the party"? I am NOT for a parent abusing his children BUT this does not sound like abuse. This sounds like discipline. Everyone who says that msroyal would be in jail needs to check themselves. If he did not try to discipline her then his daughter might find herself in jail when she steps into the real world and finds out that there are rules in it.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Elmeaux

    He said, "I want the church family to know that all is well in the Dollar household." If this is so, why would his daughter make allegations against him? If his house is in order, his daughter would not have made a police report.

    "The daughter told the deputies that her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe."

    An accusation of this kind would not happen in a household where all was well.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Hawk

      And as I recall, didn't the 19-year old daughter verify that account?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  19. Robert

    If I'm not mistaken it's called Bearing false witness. So to save youur own skin you'll get up in front of thousands and call your daughters both liars? the only thing worse than this piece of trash are the blind sheep that support him.
    But that's religion for ya.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • ljh

      AMEN !!

      June 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  20. LadyMac

    This may or not be true, but he should not be driving such expensive vehicles, so many people need help, you could sponsor an entire family for at least a year on the money it would take to buy half of his car. Maybe this will be a revelation to this man to reassess his life.

    June 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Madtown

      Unfortunately, I'd guess he's living exactly how he wants to live. He justifies it by falsely suggesting God wants him to live this way, and I seriously doubt he'll reassess anything in the wake of this, and nothing will change.

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

      thats not really fair to say. i guess that would also mean that the person that just has a regular car should trade their car in for a bus pass and sponsor a couple families with the difference. pastor dollar is on record as giving millions to the less fortunate. how much have you given?

      June 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • JeffJ

      Chris the problem is he is using the word of God and JC to get wealthy. Wasn't it Jesus that said the rich should give everything to the poor, or something to that? By the way does anyone know how many of his followers are struggling and living paycheck to paycheck?

      June 11, 2012 at 1:22 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.