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. Fritz Hohenheim

    There the statement of the 15 year old and the 19 year old sister. With that, I take it he did choke her.
    That aside, what does it say about this "servant of god" if he goes before his congregation and calls his daughters liars and by extension, based on his claims that the devil will try to bring forth false witnesses against the righteous ones and yadida, that his daughter is basically in liege with the devil? What kind of father would screw up his daughters like that, destroy their reputations? I
    I guess only one for whom money means more than his daughters. If I didn't like the man before, I despise him now

    June 12, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  2. Vance

    Ah yes... The truth comes out. Can we all sit back and look at this objectively? Man roughs up daughter, other daughter backs up story. Hmmmmmm... Logic would dictate two possibilities.

    1. The Reverend has raised two liars.

    2. He just got caught with his hands around his kids throat.

    Either way it goes... Something is amiss in that household.

    I don't think prayer is the answer here.

    June 12, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      he's a dirtbag in numerous ways...

      June 12, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  3. Bootyfunk

    Bible Fun Fact:
    Are you female? Have you ever engaged in premarital s.ex? Even if you're married now, did you have s.ex even once before you were married? 98% of American women have. Do you know what the bible says is the punishment for such wh.orish behavior? Let's check and see:

    "But if this thing be true, and the tokens of v.irginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the wh.ore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you." (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

    Well, looks like we must drag the non-virgin woman to her father's doorstep and there, with help from the whole town, stone her to death. Sorry 98% of women, Yahweh says you have to die. I'm guessing you're going to Hell, too.
    (Please note this punishment does not apply to men who do the exact same thing.)

    *** Reckon the last 2% of women left alive after we stone the rest to death sure will be popular. with the fellas.

    June 12, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Amber

      just to let you know they still do that in some parts of the middle east so its not too funny.

      June 12, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      i know they do. and yes, it's terrible. islam is no better than christianity. but sometimes it's good to use humor/satire/sarcasm to deal with a serious topic. otherwise hard to read/watch the news and keep from going mad...

      June 12, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  4. phoodphite

    All that money can't provide a decent upbringing. I do feel sorry for a child that has to live with such a pompous egotistical swindler as their father.

    June 12, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  5. Wow

    I think you are dead on. Take away daughter's cell phone, credit cards, shopping priveledges, etc. and send her to her room. Is bread and water illegal for dinner?

    June 12, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  6. Rick James

    God's murder count: 20 million plus
    Satan murder count: 7.....designed as a test by God on Job

    Who's the bad guy here?

    June 12, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • hillbillytools

      So ignorant, not even worthy of a hillbilly comment. Please......

      June 12, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Rick James

      Not a very pretty picture of God, isn't it? Yet most preachers won't talk about it.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • jayman419

      You say it's not worthy of a comment, yet leave a comment.

      I think what you meant to say is that you can't refute the fact that people, mortal human beings, have been twisting and manipulating the bible's message for their own ends for a thousand years.

      This man is intentionally leading his followers astray for his own benefit.

      Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

      No one can serve two masters.... You cannot serve both God and Money.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      actually, he's telling the exact truth. christians may not like it, but that's exactly true. it's not a distortion of the facts, so don't make excuses. Yahweh kills the first born children of egypt, sends a bear to kill 42 children because one made fun of a bald man, killed millions in the great flood, including children and pregnant women, as well as all animals/pets. the only people the devil kills in the bible are Job's family, and that was after he got permission to murder them from God.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • fintastic

      They'll tell you.... "oh no no no... you're taking that out of context" yea right!...

      Hail to the book of pick-n-choose!

      June 12, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  7. Brian

    "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."............

    What a joke. I get sick of Osteen's saccharine smile. He must stand in front of a mirror every day practicing his phony smile.

    June 12, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • hillbillytools

      Well if you don't like his "smile" then go be a sourpuss! Grumpy is such a great religion – if you are going to have one why not just be a negative sarcastic depressed indolent.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  8. WachetAuf

    Leave this man alone to settle his issues with his family.

    The one and only issue which is relevant and subject of "reasoned" public conversation is his publically expressed "faith". I have heard him speak on television. While I do not buy into any part of his philosophy which I have not witnessed, I do believe, based upon what I have heard from him, he is a gifted and insightful interpreter of the Bible's message. Again, I urge you to listen to his message and leave his family to work out their family issues.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      And you can find that link at http://www.creflodollarministries.org

      June 11, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      And maybe everyone should start with the "Live" rebroadcast of his statement from Sunday 6/10 AM service where he addresses thoroughly the matter and what did and did not occur with his wife sitting supportively in the front row. He even admonishes people "not to blame his daughter" and Jesus doesn't point blame to any man and then further offers the message of Jesus' grace as a reason he loves his daughter and supports her future and success in life.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • fintastic

      Yea, leave the child abuse to the family........ he should be able to abuse his daughter in private without all this outside interference..... unbelievable...

      June 12, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  9. stop emotional eating

    Excellent points altogether, you simply won a new reader. What may you suggest about your submit that you just made some days in the past? Any positive?

    June 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  10. cb

    "Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual gifts."

    A quote from a megachurch paster with the last name "Dollar." these religious nutjobs in the south make me sick.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      So do you believe the bible if so then how do you answer Ecc 10:19 and Ps. 35:27 and 3 John 2

      June 11, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      And if you don't believe in prosperity then quit your job and become a socialist. They'll take care of you; of course, until you reach an age they no longer decide to spend healthcare dollars and send your case to the "death panel" who weighs out the fact that the value of your life is no longer worth the investment. Sounds like some policies we've heard before.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Get Over It

      hillbilly, "So do you believe the bible...?"


      June 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  11. Bertha59

    The original story was about "dollar" choking and punching his daughter. There were of course witnesses to this. Despite this "dollar" denies coking or punching his daughter. Since my mother beat me almost daily and denied the beatings toall who questioned who questioned the black eyes, cuts, and bruises, I do believe "dollar's" daughter. The man is a pretentious maniac. I will never understand people who idolize people like "dollar".

    June 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • John

      Thank you for standing up for the daughters. Maybe this violent lunatic can be stopped before he kills a crying child.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Nostradamus

      Well, may be I'm the exception, but I love the "dollars"....A lot.....Give me one million and I will follow you....LOL

      June 12, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  12. Reality

    Dear "Rev" Dollar,

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    June 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Bertha59

      What has anything you said have anything to do with "dollar" choking and punching his fifteen year old daughter?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      Again – what does that have to do with anything in this story? And, furthermore are you saying teenagers never lie or exaggerate?

      June 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reality

      The "rev" Dollar's actions would simply be a police report if were not for his flawed preaching about Christianity.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  13. hillbillytools

    I posted the same comment twice – here it is again if you want it:

    So tell me when we are going to put as much emphasis on the scandals of Ted Turner and the elite media as we do on "Prosperity" preachers. I don't want to learn a "broke" theology and I don't believe most people want to live "broke"; otherwise we should just quit our jobs and go on welfare – but then that would be what socialism would prefer anyway. Listen, people are people and they all have faults – that's why we need God and the purpose of religion to address those faults. It's amazing how the "allegation" of one preacher has turned into the re-hash and trash digging of the past 25 years scandals in "Pentecostalism". Why only the emphasis on this "one type of reglious views". There are plenty of Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, atheists and media elite who have their fair share of scandals. Rather than trash digging a 25 year media span. Start with addressing issues that are of merit and quit using your platform as a smear campaign against pentecostal religious groups. Clean your own house first – TED!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Get Over It

      Ted Turner doesn't own or run CNN anymore... and hasn't for several years. He doesn't even own stock in it or Time Warner.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • hillbillytools

      Technically Time Warner is the "official" owner but Ted still has influences. And furthermore, it is the point! The point that this type of religious view (Pentecostalism/Prosperity Doctorine) is singled out and attacked. That's my issue. Trust me this is not a group of people CNN wants to get on a global fit because they far out number the Catholics and that is a political nightmare for them and I will personally tell you we (speaking of many in that religious view) are about sick of the portrayls and bias we are getting from CNN. And we VOTE! So my point was to report the news fine – but distort the news – not fine. To report the incident is understandable (whether we like it or not), to report the facts is understandable (whether we like it or not), to over emphasis the issue of a "misdemeanor" as if it were a greater incident and to use it as a bashing opportunity to rehash 25 years of biased intrepretation of our history is beyond slanderous and unethical. I can personally attest that hundreds of millions of people were also fed, orphans were sheltered, communities were helped by these same "babbling prosperity preachers" CNN wants to blast. When Katrina happened who was there? These tongue talkers not Washington, not CNN Relief trucks just a bunch of celebrity reports wading in water taking pictures and watching. IT WAS this very group of people that sit back and take your bias that reached out in open arms bringing the first semi trucks of relief. And we do it disaster after disaster. Community response team use our facilities when a crisis comes; but God forbid one of our vessels or messengers gets in a brush with the law and we are painted like a bunch of ignorant tongue talking "Jim Jones" cronians. Give me the break mister! The next time you pass a food pantry, outreach center, teen / youth center or one of these "mega-churches" you better thank God we are there because the socialists wouldn't do that for you!

      June 12, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  14. stormsun

    Pitiful. Quit being used, people. Think for yourself, use reason and logic to guide you, have respect and compassion for your fellow human, and don't lie or cheat to get ahead. And certainly don't admire or follow those who do. End of sermon.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  15. hillbillytools

    And then to remove my original comment addressing this issue – truly a manipulation of this so called "free speech" response system.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Huh?

      I don't think it was removed. There are no live moderators on this blog.

      June 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  16. hillbillytools

    I'm most offended that it is "politically correct" to trash dig 25 years of "Pentecostal" history (which by number is now larger than the Catholic church globally) and because it is "christian" there is a "free reign to attack". If we are going to really be a transparent broadcasting source then why is this type of religous view singled out among the many known scandals among many other regilions etc. I'm sure we wouldn't see an article like this blasting "islam" or "atheism". WHAT BIAS! No longer the most reliable source and definitely clean the clost of Ted Turner's scandals before you start pointing fingers. Sad! Let the justice system deal with, report the fact that it happened – but digging 25 years of history up to distort – APPALLINGLY PATHETIC!!

    June 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Huh?

      Yeah, that's what you said at June 11, 2012 at 7:13 pm on page 1 of the other "Creflo Dollar Latest in Long Line..." article

      June 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  17. hillbillytools

    Or this – http://www.divorcesaloon.com/2010/10/30/why-did-jane-fonda-really-divorce-ted-turner/

    Maybe Mr. Turner could benefit from some of that "holiness" those Pentecostals preach. Instead of trash digging 25 years of scandals he should focus on cleaning up his own house.

    June 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  18. hillbillytools

    Or this – http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1-meet-ted-turner-thanks-id-rather-not

    June 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  19. hillbillytools

    No I mean like this – http://www.thejanedough.com/tag/ted-turner-hacking-scandal/

    June 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Huh?

      Are you sure that you posted it on *this* article? There are several Creflo pieces here.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  20. hillbillytools

    Interesting my previous comments addressing the digging of the past 25 years of pentecostal scandals and it's bias while noting indescretions in Ted Turner's life got "removed". FUNNY!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Huh?

      Do you mean this one?:


      It's still there.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:51 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.