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. IndyNC

    "All is well in his househould"
    yet an arguement that he agreed occured was intensified, and he won't say what he DID do, but swears he didn't choke or punch his daughter.

    Daughter called it into the police and sister verified the account... now... hitting with a show ain't punching... and maybe he didn't choke her... but obiviously everything IS NOT alright in his hosehold cause kids shouldn't have to testify against daddy.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • mema

      When y©u have teenagers, its never going to be smooth sailing. Sh€ made some hefty accusations but as of now all thats been reported is a scr@tch. So I will reserve judgement for more evidence. It does appear for now anyway to be an exaggeration of events.

      June 12, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  2. Mrs. KATZ

    Now he claims his daughter's bruised and battered body is the result of eczema.....

    June 12, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  3. DYBO

    It is not his fault- the devil made him do it. No one takes responsibility for their actions anymore.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  4. Bernice

    I guess his christian example caused his children to become liars. I know children lie. But call the police, something happen and his wife is not saying anything.

    June 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  5. iceload9

    "Prosperity ministers preach that God rewards the faithful with wealth and spiritual gifts." It's now proven, money can buy anything.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  6. jj

    What he says must be true...a pastor wouldn't lie. But seriously folks...if he says all is well in his household, then I'm baffled.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  7. Tracy

    Really? Paul....Jesus......Creflo?? Creflo is following in the footsteps of Jesus, eh? I can't imagine Jesus would drive a Bentley or live in a mega mansion. "Forgive them for they know not what they do...................."

    June 12, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  8. Pastor $ Dollar

    I did not choke they lying little hoe. I taught her the way to God.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  9. teamnegtweet

    Being a minister the first people you have to convinve that your belief in god is true is your immediately family. How are you a minsiter and your daughter wants to go to parties and do things that you as her father do not agree with,. If goinig to parties and drinking is the devils work than you should be able to convince your daughter better than you can convince your followers. SMH. His daughter knows he is a fake that is why she is not following him.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Mikeyboy

      That's just your opinion. You really don't know what his daughter was or is thinking. Also, it sounds like you have no experience raising a teenaged girl. Blaming parents for the rebellious behavior of a child while not knowing the dynamics in that household is reckless. We all need to mind our own business and keep our opinions to ourselves.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • IAM

      MIKEYBOY: We use this forum to express opinions.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • OTOH

      There is hope for the daughter to get a grip on reality, but also just as much chance that she will go on to be another Tammy Bakker or Joyce Meyer or a Holy Roller... just a different flavor of delusion than dear ol' dad.

      June 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • JWT

      It would be hard to have less of a grip on reality than her father has.

      June 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  10. shadowdiver

    "Paul ... Jesus ... and Creflo," he said to a huge cheer.

    Ah the humility of Jesus freaks.

    June 12, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  11. Guess what?

    Do not spare the rod even if the rod is a fist to the face. It is the parents right to decide punishment.

    June 12, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • JWT

      Buzzz. You guessed wrong.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Robert

      Contact your local sherrif's office and ask them to prep a cell for ya.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • shadowdiver

      You are a thug who belongs in jail.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Joann

      @Guess What? I am going to choose to believe that your comment is in jest. Otherwise, you are a bully, and a child abuser. You should not have children.

      June 12, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  12. cj

    yea he would never lie right!!!

    June 12, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  13. gary

    religion is dangerous, makes people whacky, sick

    June 12, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • pfc4jc

      spoken like a genuine libtard

      June 12, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • lalose

      It also makes them intellectually stunted with a propensity for using school yard insults like "libtard" whenever people don't agree with them. Often makes people conservative.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • WASP

      @pfc: word of advice, read your bible. learn what your mythology has to teach you to make a decent human. notice what it saids about the seventh one.
      "In the Book of Proverbs (Mishlai), King Solomon stated that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth." namely:
      1.A proud look.
      2.A lying tongue.
      3.Hands that shed innocent blood.
      4.A heart that devises wicked plots.
      5.Feet that are swift to run into mischief.
      6.A deceitful witness that uttereth lies.
      7.Him that soweth discord among brethren.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • JWT

      Religion can be good for people too. Like most things in life, take the good from it and leave the bad behind.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Robert

      Religion is like narcotics, it has some good uses but is more often than not the cause of great evil. Strange that one is illegal and the other a source of civic pride.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • shadowdiver

      How christian to call someone a libertard. Typical christain. Filled with hate and bigotry. Never acts like christ.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • TR6

      @pfc4jc:”spoken like a genuine libtard”

      Jim Jones, David Koresh, Howard Camping, Jim and Tamy Baker….

      June 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  14. Daniel Hoffman

    If he really was following the Bible he would have taken her to the center of town and stoned her to death. Really, that's in there.

    June 12, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  15. mslisac363

    I would not care if he choked her... Some of the kids need to be choked and stop running all over their parents.

    June 12, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • gary

      It is never OK to hit (or choke) a child. Children are only as good as their parents make them. Want to know why a kids acts as she does? Look at her parents.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Robert

      The fact is some parents don't get respect because they aren't deserving of respect. This guy is a con artist dressed up as a preacher. (sorry for the redundancy)

      June 12, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • shadowdiver

      Another freak, perverted christian.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  16. Fladabosco

    Anyone who believes a 'prosperity gospel' is living a fantasy. Please tell me where Jesus said 'God wants you to be rich.'

    The only person Jesus said he would meet in heaven was a robber on the cross next to him.

    He specifically told a rich man that to gain entrance in heaven he had to give all his riches away. It's as specific as anything he said. He didn't say 'if you want to' or 'if the slick looking pastor tells you it's OK.

    It would be like a rabbi saying 'you can ignore the 10 commandments if you want to.'

    June 12, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • Get Real

      The first things we read about Jesus life is that he became a wealthy kid, when wise men from the East brought him Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. very expensive gifts. And forget the little cute figurines you see. They traveled by caravan and had camel loaded with the stuff, as they were coming to honor a King. Jesus ministry was so well financed that his Treasurer (Judas) could steal from him and not hurt his ministry. See even Jesus knew that "Yes I can perform miracles"....but people need to develop a giving heart and spirit to sustain the earthly work presented by him."

      People need to back down just a bit when they call Pastor Dollar a money hungered man. The Pope has a bullet proof car, Gold encrusted robe, Diamond studded hat and lives in his own city/state on the Italian Riviera. Is he a money hungered baron also.

      Housing is not free, Food is not free...Traveling to inspire others is not free. Jesus knew that and paid his way, due to the donations of his flock.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • WASP

      @get real: "Housing is not free, Food is not free...Traveling to inspire others is not free. Jesus knew that and paid his way, due to the donations of his flock."

      the only reason any of those things cost anything is because someone is looking to make a profit. everyone is looking for compensation for their "work". religious folks pay preachers to say what they want to hear, and just like on a different articule; a preacher spoke in favor of same gender marriage, almost everyone left his church.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Get Real

      @WASP Sound to me like that pastor had no clue as to who he was preaching to. Not a good Shepard in my book. Even in the pulpit.....know your audience.

      June 12, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  17. Jude

    No one has the right to judge him lest he be judged...giving your own daughter a whooping is not bad...but battering your kid is out of line. But it was not wise for the girl to have called the police on this...from the looks of it, Pastor Dollar gave his family a shock cos it did not look like it was a trait he's always had!

    June 12, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Fladabosco

      She shouldn't have called the police? I have a daughter and I can't imagine what I would have to do for her to call the police on me.

      I think choking her, pushing her to the ground and hitting her with a shoe might do it.

      Even if the devil made me do it.

      June 12, 2012 at 6:50 am |
  18. J.D.

    After reading this article, curiosity led me to watch the video of Rev. Dollar's explanation. It would seem that the reporter here was a little disingenuous in an attempt to make the story even more controversial. The article claims Dollar said, "that to discredit his message of the 'prosperity gospel', the enemy must discredit the messenger". In fact this is almost a direct quote, save for the fact that he makes no mention of prosperity, but rather speaks of the "message of grace", which would certainly seem to fit more with the fact that he was preaching on righteousness by faith.

    It's a little troubling that CNN would be so anxious to spark further debate that they would change a quote, ironically putting the one word he didn't say in quotations. I am not passing judgement either way on the incident in question, I'm merely disturbed by the feeling that I'm being manipulated. I encourage other readers to watch the video in question and come to your own conclusions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcgKDPeDt0Y&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    June 12, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • setnommarih

      No, just watch this guy on TV, if anyone believes this as religion, god save us. And this is coming from an atheist, but religion should be practiced not used for profit.

      June 12, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  19. scotonfire

    A liar and a charlatan!

    June 12, 2012 at 5:49 am |
  20. Ken

    His shoe will come back to haunt him.
    Dollar is lieing and his daughters integrity is being twisted. Money has gone to his head.
    He should be called Gehazi Dollar. It is obvious he cares more about appearances than truth and honesty.

    Shame on him.

    June 12, 2012 at 5:47 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.