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. Sheep

    Any bets on how many in the congregation will turn on the children? Thinking they are liars or sinners? Surely the pastor is a man of god and can do no wrong, why don't we side with him and outcast everyone else based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Except his sermon next week talking of trials and tribulations, how god is testing him, probably even bring up civil rights and give you some more emotional distractions to misguide your feeble minds. Yay Jesus:-))

    June 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  2. what next?

    Daddy dearest has all the power, and this will just make it worse. WHERE ARE YOU MOMMA???? You know the truth, and what this man is capable of. Do the right thing... forget the mega bucks...and get those kids out of that house .Both your daughters were not lying. Where there is smoke, there is fire.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  3. GP

    Don't see Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton weighing in.....what a double standard these guys have. Too bad because t kills any credibility and believability.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Jon O

      I'm glad that's what you're concerned with.

      Their credibility is about as low as your integrity, stupid partisan goober.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • GP

      "partisan goober".....educated in the forest? Seems you are as intelligent as a tree.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jon O

      Hey, glad you responded to the actual point.

      Enjoy being just another idiot too stupid too stay on topic and instead has to push his ignorant agenda.

      Let me know when you find time in the day to weigh in on every white issue.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  4. anti

    Ever notice how the more christians lie, the more followers they have? It's sickening. So when the police release the details of the daughters condition after a medical examination, and when we all find out that this guy is an obnoxious liar who should be thrown in jail and locked up for as long as possible, will his congregation sill follow him? YES THEY WILL! Why? Because the more christians lie, deceive, slander, and malign others, the more followers they have. It is this way with all religions that have come from the middle east. The more dishonest and untruthful it is, the more followers it has. And I understand why: people that are dishonest need something dishonest to believe in, because it makes them feel better.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      lets be honest, it doesn't take a large share of intelligence to have someone (who has no clue themselves) spend 2 hours every Sunday telling you what to think, feel, and believe. Most of these people are troglodytes with no inner moral compass, no sense of proportion, and a warped view of reality that has been filtered through the lens of a 1500 year old book written by misogynists, con men, and child rapists to cow the masses. Evolutionary dead ends, almost without exception.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  5. Bill

    The fact that he's a "preacher" isn't the point...girls everywhere often do this stuff to play get-even games. False accusations and calls to authorties done knowing that an adult male's credibility nowadays is poor in such matters and laws favor the minors report over anything the accused presents in his defense.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Break

      Oh yes, ALLLLLLL the time this happens. Why, I know of twelve times this past week just from the neighbors!! In fact, my daughter did it to me!! So naturally I choked and punched her!!

      June 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  6. Mr. Reason

    He was just disciplining his daughter. Its what any loving father would do.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Jake L

      I love my wife. You think maybe I should slap her and hit her with a shoe or a belt next time she overdrafts our checking account?

      June 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Writer Girl

    BTW Small mind ..I am a published prolific writer..LOL You have no idea!!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • GP

      oooohhhh....that scares me and makes you sooooo smart

      June 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jon O

      I can claim things on the anonymous internet too.

      I'm a space ninja.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Matt

      If that is true state your name. BTW, anyone can get published and the fact that you have written a lot does not make you something special. In your attempt to make yourself seem important, you made yourself look foolish. LMAO.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      honestly, even if that is true (which I doubt)...NOBODY CARES.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  8. MysteriaKiito

    I had a cousin who called cops and lied about being beaten before. This sounds exactly like that situation. If she really was beat to that degree there would be a lot of bruises. Not a small scratch.

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

    All religious organizations should be taxed.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  10. Writer Girl

    Oh small minds who judge as anyone who thinks differently! You lump and categorize me from one statement! You don't know me or how I believe as a whole! 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 2:52 pm |
    • Matt

      You need to come up with a new theme. We already heard this thought from you.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  11. Tina

    we as parents know when we grew up if u were disrespectful to our parents we got a belt or whatever taken to us, but if u try to punish children now they threatn u with the police and u get charged with child abuse, well i look at it like this...he is still not gulity until he is proven gulity thats the law, and if children wanna disrepect ther parents well ther is such a thing is parent abuse as well....and if the law thinks they can do a better job in raisin them well have at it, parents go threw alot these days tryn to raise children but yet they think they know it all, i wouldnt let my children go to parties at all, we all know what happens at parties

    June 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • say what??

      perhaps if your parents had spent a little less time slapping you around and focusing on your spelling, you'd be a better person

      June 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Jodi

      You know what beating your kid creates? Fear, not respect. I had parents like the ones you described, and to this day I hate them for it. I want to laugh when I buy them father's day and mother's day cards, but I do it anyway, because if I didn't then they would want to know what was wrong and try to talk, and as far as I'm concerned it's just easier to send them a cheap card and then ignore them. I am so grateful we don't live in the same state.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • MS

      Really? I am truly shocked at the pettiness of some people. Our country is going to crap and all you can think to do is judge an individual on their spelling. Wow.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • In the Shadow of the Cross

      I fully agree with OP. While I hated that my father would hit me when I misbehaved, I appreciate now what I learned from it. My mother tried to stop him, yet I have more respect for him than her. I learned boundaries and behavior from him. He passed away many years ago, and I still never deny the wonderful influence that he was. Children are too these days. They control their parents, it's a shame. Love is teaching your child how to grow up and be a happy, successful individual. Hate is teaching them that everything is handed to them.

      Also, I'm not a Christian, so don't try to accuse me of following some BS Biblical agenda.

      June 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  12. thomas

    of course he didn't do anything wrong – child abusers never do, especially if they are a minister of a church – they are perfect. Let me go puke now.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  13. Writer Girl

    Oh small minds who judge 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 you will act like them!!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • He ain't no man of god

      you need to give up writing and try for some logic. CNN is not the place to become known as a prolific writer, but it is a good way to show people you don't have any skills.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      your (*ahem*) "writing" dishonors both my eyes and any of your ancestors who ever put a pen to paper. Perhaps coloring is more your speed, otherwise you may need to break out a copy of Strunk & White's "Elements of style" and read it.

      June 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  14. Name*bill

    This country is 16 trillion dollars in debt. Washington dc is ripping off the tax payers left and right the communists and Muslim party have infiltrated the us government and this is the headline they put up. Are you kidding me. CNN. No wonder your ratings stink

    June 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Janet

      But everyone has been thoroughly medicated from something they saw on t.v. They all feel good now, so let's not talk about anything that's true or actually significant to our nation because that will make the citizens feel too uncomfortable & their insurance doesn't cover anymore meds.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  15. Mrs. KATZ

    I'd just like to see him raise a hand to me!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  16. SandyStorm

    only a scratch? if she was beaten in the manner described, she should have bruises and marks head to toe. Hope the police are smart enough to know that teenages don't always tell the truth.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Mrs. KATZ

      Right. Because when you become an adult you always tell the truth...........

      June 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @SandyStorm –

      Really Sandy? A scratch or a fractured skull...assault and battery are both crimes.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • MS

      I think Sandy was simply making the point that without any evidence of a BEATING/CHOKING (no bumps, bruises, shoe marks), as claimed by the teenager, it is highly unlikely that any physical abuse took place at all. They need to look into the scratch on her neck that Creflo stated is from eczema, but if she was "beaten" she would have much more than a scratch on her body. As far as him being arrested, it is the law that any DV suspect must be arrested- period.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  17. Shamara

    HE should of beat her tail,thats whats wrong with most of this new generation.No respect.!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • JB

      @Shamara. Blacks beat their kids the most, and yet their kids get into the most trouble. Somehow the whole "beat her tail" method doesn't seem to be working. Maybe if you weren't constantly committing violence against your kids, your kids wouldn't grow up as violent.

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

      What is wrong with this generation is that they have abusive parents like you! Kids who are abused grow up with all kinds of problems including being violent. As a black woman, I agree with JB... there are way more fights at a black school because black kids are getting their tails beat.

      June 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • MalB

      Shamara thats why white kids kill their parents and black kids don't

      June 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Kevin W. Clark

      Mel B with IGNORANT RACIST COMMENT OF THE DAY! Keep those "Christian Values" strong, Mel! Good to know that Jesus was hammered to a hunk of wood so idiots like yourself could be saved...

      June 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  18. Andrew

    As someone who bellowed for Zimmerman's arrest: Arrest his ass!

    June 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  19. Billy

    I think he is lying. Not because he is a pastor. Because domestic violence often goes on among people who are least likely to be suspect. I think he is lying.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Sam

    Christianity and Islam, two most dangerous and violent religions in the world.

    June 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Kenny Kiklar

      Yeah, because no one else of any other belief system ever commits any violent acts, right? Careful, your bigotry is showing.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:01 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.