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. HFM17

    How do you spell M O R O N S? Those who pony up to Creflo Dollar....how stupid could a person be to hand over cash to this charlatan? Sadly, our trailerparks are filled to the brim with fools.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  2. KC

    With a name like "Dollar", being a pastor is a perfect fit

    June 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  3. me

    I don't know what Bible you are reading, Jon O. You obviously have a serious problem the Christianity, Judaism as well as the Bible. It is unfortunate, but we can not help you on these postings. I recommend you see a shrink!

    June 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  4. anti

    Has he pulled the race card yet? He's wont bring in Jesse Jackson or Sharpton in until he sees that his story isn't holding. When that happens, it will be that same old tale often told about the white establishment doing everything it can to keep a good brother down, etc.

    There will be lots of tension, sensationalism, accusations of bigotry, alleged abuses by the police, violation of human rights and a so called "witch hunt" against this pastor. This will go on for a while, and we will lose all sight of the original story, which is that a young girl was maliciously abused by her father who claims to represent god.

    And I think thats exactly the tactic that Jackson and Sharpton may try to pull: distract the media from the real issue, and then out of nowhere, Money Dollar is going to leap up and apologize! But when he does, he won't admit any guilt. I think we've seen this all before.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  5. WG

    This is very overblown – if the parents doesn't then the prisons will.

    The daughters is a home now chatting on her cell phone ungrateful as ever.

    A real parent will go to jail rather than their kids being there or strung out on drugs.

    Handle your business Dads.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Balloon knot

      Dropped out huh?

      June 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Excellent grammar WG. Maybe another spin through Junior High will help you and then you can come back and make whatever point you are attempting??

      June 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • me

      Speaking of Grammar, Alien Orifice.....

      June 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Alien Orifice


      June 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  6. darte

    The bible does say you can kill your disobedient childern.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Balloon knot

      So how did you survive?

      June 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I think if you are a "real" Christian you are commanded to kill your disobedient children...and a lot of other folks too, it is a long list. It is a good thing Christians are such hypocrites or it would be a real blood bath in the streets!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Ted

      Well, darte, let's just hope you never have any!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • The Nerd


      June 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • darte

      The bible said you can kill women who are not virgins on their wedding night may he should of just remind her about that.

      " But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)"

      June 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Sam

      Bible is a fantasy and Jesus the main character. Bible is a man made fiction which has nothing to do with God. You
      brainwash Christians will never understand God. Christianity and Islam has harmed this world so much it is beyond repair.
      Both Islam and Christianity are the most dangerous and violent religions in the world. Both religions are based on fantasy
      books written by nomads of that time.

      June 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Janet

      I, having been a virgin when I got married at 35 who is now very submissive to her husband & doesn't speak in church, think that all of you devil people need to...Shhh! I have to go now. One of the sister wives might tell on me & then I'll get doused with cooking oil & tossed out into the dirt & I won't be able to let my children out of the 4×4 room they're locked in when my husband goes to work, cooking devil people in the sticks.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  7. Welled

    Oh our Sunday religous puzzle. These are fun. Hold on I'll turn the Ghetto blaster down. Wha happened. Mrs. Sushis pencil box shaking like rabbit in the antartic? lol

    June 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Mother2012

    I did not realize how many ignorant people follow CNN and have no respect. No wonder why this country is such a MESS!

    June 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Howard

      Amen.... Thinking the same thing...

      June 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • anti

      Define what you mean by "ignorant people". Do you mean the folks who are non-religious who also happen to be highly educated sharing their views openly here? Are the ideas of Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech too American for you to handle? Maybe you should move to the middle east and trying living over there for a while. You can kill your children there for any number of reasons, perhaps you would fit right in.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  9. Jose M. Pulido

    "'The truth is, she was not choked. She was not punched,' Dollar said." He talks like a Republican in passive voice instead of saying: "The truth is, I did not chocke her. I did not punch her." Statements made in passive voice makes it sound as if it had been someone else who attacked his daughter.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  10. Nii

    Selling everything to follow Jesus is not just about giving up finances. It is about sacrificial giving. You can give up ur cash to buy a place in Heaven or out of genuine love and concern for the poor. It is the latter which pleases him! Out of context the verses u quoted mean we shud be poor

    June 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You can cherry pick however you want Nii. That is the Christian way.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  11. anti

    When all else fails, blame it on the evil white people. Black folks sure must be powerful to have every single white blue eyed devil in America trying their damnedest to keep the good brothers down.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  12. ug

    Oh of course not he didn't do anything wrong...liar.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  13. Robin

    I was reading somewhere that the kind of smirkyness in the mouth (sideways speaking) that he did in this video can be an indication of lying. In addition, I find it interesting that he says the "truth is she was not choked, she was not punched." That's may only be PART of a truth. The truth would be him saying, "*** I *** didn't choke her. ** I ** didn't punch her. Here is what I did do...." If he is innocent then THAT would be the truth. As it is his statement of 'the truth' completely depersonlizes the situation and he doesn't say at all what he did do which is another indication that he is possibly being deceptive. And he did do something...whether it was just screaming, slamming things around or whatever...some kind of interaction did happen, but he makes no mention of what he did do. And apparently he thinks more of himself than of his daughter because he just nationally broadcasted that he thinks she is a liar. "Anything else is an exaggeration...blah blah blah"...he's saying she's a liar...nice dad.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Old Timer

      If she is a liar then she is a liar!!!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  14. Adrian

    II greatly enjoy to deep, secular bias in media reporting of stories involving religious figures. The size, and most certainly the shape, of the church are not relevant to the story. This makes at least of two CNN articles on the same story that over-emphasize details about the church, told from a decidedly non-parishoner point of view. The icing though is the random explanations and rants in the comments section about religion. I won't waste time telling you why you're wrong, I'll only encourage to learn more about the Bible - not some secular individual's interpretation, but actually study the actual Bible, then come and post.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  15. blessedgeek

    Clinton: I smoked but I did not inhale.
    Lewinsky: I suxd but I did not imbibe.
    Pastor: I strangled but I did not choke her.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • shut_up

      blessedgeek: i am ugly, broke and mad at the world but i will take welfare.
      obama: the economy is do great
      biden: charlie walk up here and lets give charlie a hand, too bad charlie is cripple and in a wheelchair.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  16. TaintedBibleTales

    So, Ham was turned black for punishnent and now blacks love pork, the 'other' white meat? And all girls aren't liars. This wouldn't even be an issue if Creflo and Taffi were poor. Anyway, go work in your own community's poverty programs....why would God WANT anyone to be so dependant? Besides all this mess, his riches began years ago. Why all of a sudden this daughter begins to holler about a party. Watch your own bones unravel in your own closet. And that 'I said in Delusions 69:69.....' that was some funny shizit.!!!

    June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  17. Krista

    What really disgusts me is not the people who hesitating to condemn because they believe the guilt must be proven in court, but those who believe he Did commit this atrocious abuse / crime, and support him anyway.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Way to step out on a limb Krista, impressive!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • shut_up

      you sound like his daughter, bend over you need whacked!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  18. Oh no you din't

    If the bible was really fact and Adam and Eve really were the first two people on earth then everyone is inbred. Just sayin'

    June 10, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Topher

      Well, it certainly makes us all related.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • shut_up

      only you are inbred. if you believe in evolution have at it as i think alot of non belivers came from apes and monkies. especially scientist..

      June 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Oh my

      Really tough to make a point against evolution when you write like a monkey. Back to school "shut_up".

      June 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  19. Alien Orifice

    Christians ignore Jesus

    Christians are Liars

    Jesus made a number of very clear statements about money and wealth in the Bible. For example:

    Matthew 6:19
    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Luke 14:33
    Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

    Matthew 6:24
    No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

    Matthew 19:21-24
    Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

    Matthew 19:28-29
    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

    Luke 9:23-25
    Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

    Matt 13: 22
    The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

    Hebrews 13:5
    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

    Phil 2:3
    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

    Acts 2:44-45
    All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

    The message is clear. If you want to follow Jesus, you need to "sell your possessions and give to the poor." It is a very simple message, and easy to do. Have you done it? The fact that you are reading this page would indicate that you have not. Chances are you own a computer, pay for an Internet connection every month, live in a home or apartment, have a car, etc. In other words, you live a life at a level of wealth unimaginable in Jesus' time. Meanwhile, billions of people on the planet live in startling, abject poverty.

    Why don't you sell everything and follow Jesus, as he requests in the Bible? The reason is simple: Jesus and God are imaginary, and you know it. If Jesus were real, you would do what he says.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • PJAA

      Not all Christians follow the Prosperity Gospel. I'm 26, just recently became an ordained minister, and I have nothing except the word. I gave it all up to go into the mission field. Don't be so quick to base everything off of a few.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You are even worse. Missionaries are the very worst kind of people. Indoctrinating and brainwashing people into your riduculous belief system. Oh, we are here to help! We will build you a house and well! BUT you well burn in hell if you don't believe in our fantasies. Fuk you.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Adrian

      ILoved that you quoted the Word, but wanted to help clarify it in context. Christ was not only NOT against wealth, He himself was wealthy. The problem with most Christians, and all non-Christians who would speak out against it, is their lack of understanding. "Give, and it shall be given unto you....." is a direct quote of Jesus. See, He spent His entire life giving out of Himself, so goodness, including money, was never far from Him. He was a full time preacher, or one of the original megapastors, as He healed and set free. What He had to stop is people thinking that it was possible to buy Heaven, but also convince people that poverty can be avoided by following key principles. The problems come in when people without money want to get money, and when they don't have it, they speak out (even online!) about people who have money as though they are evil.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      The mission field? Did you ever consider how arrogant it is telling people you know god better then they do?

      June 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Peter

      Adrian...put the LSD down and back away from the computer (and the bible).

      June 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • JoJo

      @Adrian I think those bible verses are very clear, and unlike the OP, you provided nothing of substance to back up your opinion. Of course, when something doesn't make sense to you (like Jesus teaching that soul wealth is the priority and material wealth means nothing) you twist it to fit your own agenda. Critical thinking skills. You either have them, or you don't.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Janet

      While the prosperity gospel has gotten out of hand in some areas, it is severly unreasonable to assume that Christians should be poor folks, living hand to mouth, ignorant, uneducated, never using birth control & reproducing like roaches. Common sense dictates that in our society one needs to be taught how to earn money & use it wisely. If you don't mind spending your entire life in the hood & raising your children there, fine. But some of us need to learn how to become prosperous, so we can get out of the hole & help others out. Soup kitchens, orphanages, drug rehab centers, teen programs, rebuilding projects all cost a lot of money & celebrities shouldn't be the only ones capable of paying for them.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  20. Alien Orifice

    Maybe one of you geniuses can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted (needed?) to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.

    Then he set up his own death (suicide) so that he could suffer on a pole to "die" (even thought he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return (an apparent lie) and never shows his face again.

    So my question would be, why?

    And I would offer up this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died.

    June 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Oh no you din't

      Sounds as plausible as anything religion is spewing. I'm going to run with this, open my own church, fleece all the poor people of their money, cut you in for 10% THEN beat my daughter.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • PJAA

      God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit have existed since time. Jesus was birthed through the virgin Mary as a miracle. He could have sent Jesus in any form to the earth, yet chose to do it this way. Jesus was human, he had every chance to sin, every chance to live however he wanted, yet he lived a perfect life.

      When man was created, they were perfect, however, they were also given free will. I hear all the time that God punishes people, still. That the earthquakes and all were to punish people, however I don't agree with that. Jesus was punished for all of our sins. When WE decide for ourselves to leave the protection of God, then it is by our own command that we allow bad things to happen. Basically, sin WASN'T a part of the plan.

      I get what you're saying, it makes sense, however, any "real" Christian knows that Creflo is fake. The Bible says, in 1 Timothy 4, that many people will be led away by these people. I would have to agree that 90% of Christians are as fake as they come.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • leslee

      The point of God 's son being born of the virgin Mary is to symbolize purity and instill that lesson to beware of traditions of men. Joseph, her husband, could've had her stoned to death for adultry, but he listened to the angel of the Lord and believed him, even though it went against every form of logic and forced him to make an insane decision. Jesus' life here on Earth was no different than yours or mine, except that he was sinless. He also challenged people to break away from stagnate religious b.s. tradition and open their eyes to something real. He preached the Truth- that those who submit to God the father with their hearts, not their minds, will be saved. He further demonstrated that submission by allowing himself to be crucified, simply because he knew it was God's will. His death, burial,and resurrection paints a picutre of how our lives are supposed to be; our will dies, and we are risen to walk in newness of life. The Holy Spirit is our guide, and for those of us that are truely saved, his presence is never far away.

      I was saved when i was 14. My parents took me to church all my life, but i felt that there had to be more. I was praying in my bed one night, praying that God would reveal himself to me, and immediately the Holy Spirit put a verse in my heart: not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father. I had no idea what it meant to do the will of God. I knew i believed in God, in the Bible, etc., but that was only a belief in my mind. Believing in my heart was something beyond that, and that night, the Lord showed me. I have since led a fulfilling life- I'm a successful mathematician and have 3 wonderful children. While i fail daily, heck, hourly, I still try to serve him and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit. Remember, God judges the heart. You can say the right things and even do the right things, but if you aren't truely serving God with your whole heart, it isn't enough.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • shut_up

      alien use to bang his grammar. that is why he evolved from apes. the rest of us feels sorry for you!

      June 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • JoJo

      leslee- from all your speculation and assumptions, I can only assume myself that you were actually there! Amazing how you know exactly what happened 2000 years ago! And you're even a mindreader!! Awe-inspiring.


      Another child who was brainwashed into a cult. Love the part about how you weren't actually converted until you were 14, when anyone who has been in that situtation (like myself and many others) knows better. You were converted LONG before that.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      leslee: did you ever consider the possibility that this is all a myth? that free people do not need to be saved?

      June 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
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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.