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. Get Real

    {http://www.scribd.com/doc/96436578/Creflo-Dollar-Arrest-Report}...Remove the end brackets and read for yourself....End the speculation.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  2. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  3. Christian

    I am a Christian. I wouldn't follow this moron anywhere. Not only does he distort the Bible, but he is clearly a liar when he says "all is well in the Dollar household". Really? Do children call 911 when all is well? I hope both of his daughters are seeking shelter elsewhere.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • BeenThereDoneThat

      How can you be certain that the daughter is telling the truth? Don't be so quick to judge....

      June 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  4. LaughingAtYou

    If you need to choke or beat a 15 yr old, you simply aren't good at the whole parenting thing. Verbal altercations happen all the time with hormonal adolescent children but physically fighting is not normal or acceptable. I'm sure the 19 yr old "changed her story" just like the mother "didn't witness" the incident. Anything to protect the cash cow. But wait, that never happens. People never lie to protect powerful figures.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  5. Brock

    What would Jesus do? Does he claim the house to be tax free too?

    June 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  6. Alien Orifice

    Ask yourself this simple question:

    Why, when you read the Bible, are you not left in awe? Why doesn't a book written by an omniscient being leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement? If you are reading a book written by the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe, wouldn't you expect to be stunned by the brilliance, the clarity and the wisdom of the author?

    Would you not expect each new page to intoxicate you with its incredible prose and its spectacular insight? Wouldn't you expect the author to tell us things that scientists have not been able to discover yet?

    Yet, when we open the Bible and actually read it, we find it is nothing like that at all. Instead of leaving us in awe, it leaves us dumbfounded by all of the nonsense and backwardness that it contains. If you read what the Bible actually says, you find that the Bible is ridiculous. If we are honest with ourselves, it is obvious that an "all-knowing" God had absolutely nothing to do with this book.

    The reason why the Bible contains so much nonsense is because God is imaginary. The Bible is a book written thousands of years ago by primitive men. A book that advocates senseless murder, slavery and the oppression of women has no place in our society today.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Hello

      the bible was written by the Roman Caesar's family the Flavians... to trick the Jews to worship them as gods like the pagans did but the Jews refused. That is why the Christian myth is rooted in the Jewish myth..
      Read Caesar's Messiah for more details...

      June 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  7. LaughingAtYou

    So the daughters were conspiring against their innocent godly father because they were angry that the 15 yr old couldn't go to a party? Lord knows more children in this country falsely accuse adults than the number of adults who really beat kids. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. What I'd like to know is why people are so afraid to recognize that pastor's can be liars and abusers too. Claiming to follow God doesn't make you less fallible than any other person. We defend our "heros" to the point of bashing children as a first response. It's pretty pathetic.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Hello

      Daddy dearest did not want daughter to go to party because he does not want her to tarnish HIS reputation and cause questions on his parenting..
      We all know the worst kids are the preacher's kids.. they are the worst and get into the most trouble... because they know daddy is full of BS along with his preaching.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  8. vartan

    What a classic case of prejudice! Since this story "broke" you so-called liberals have been quick to condemn this man before you even hear both sides of the story. None of you would like the same treatment but regardless of how you want to be treated you've railed this man and all Christians in general. You think because of science and theory that Christianity has lost its purpose, its relevance but in reality you're behavior only strengthens the message of the gospel and the words of Jesus the Son of the living God. We all shall reap what we sow; we all shall be treated in accordance with how we treat others. This simple rule is for the newborns yet known of you so-call intellectuals or progressives understand even the basics yet you want to proclaim to everyone how you know better than Christ?! It doesn't matter whether you can build ships that take you to other planets when the people who live in it don't know how to treat one other properly. Truly, we become like the virus spreading the disease of sin and destruction when hatred rules our hearts.

    Give 'people' a chance to defend themselves. If the person is guilty, let the suffer the consequences but not before then. This is just.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Jim

      If your going to bring up condemning people without proof perhaps you should address that whole birther thing.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • vartan

      Hey.. I'm not a birther and think that entire argument is lame. Frankly, I think Obama is better than McCain and Romney but I don't like the people who are around him who act like mafiasos. They take the politics of personal destruction to a whole new level however at least Obama demonstrates some consideration for the disenfranchised. The gap between rich and poor is eggregious and Romney isn't the answer IMHO.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      gee, vartan, you sure are making a lot of a$$umptions. go fvck yourself

      June 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Hello

      I voted for Obama, because the thought of us being just a heartbeat from having a moose poooophead as the leader of this country scared the krap out of me.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  9. WASP

    The government wants to put parents in prison for disciplining their children when they do things they shouldn't be doing. Normal discipline is very healthy to bringing up a child properly. The government wants to put parents on trial and incarcerate them, if possible, for it though.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  10. violet weed

    This is what happens when rebellious teenagers know they can call the cops on their parents for disciplining them. He should send her to a military 'locked down' school till she turns 18 and then if she is still disobedient, throw her out.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Peter

      Choking =/= Discipline

      Choking = Crime

      June 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  11. Rick

    What led up tp the alledged atercation? If the daughter was defiant and escalated, which is not uncommon these days, she may have needed to be restrained in some manner. I'm not saying choke her, but she may have escalated this until it was necessary to restrain her physically.

    June 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  12. Kman

    My only disappointment is that he is not telling the truth about what he did. Child abuse is NEVER okay. However, correctly rendering discipline to a 15 year old is always okay.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  13. Resto

    Jesus said that all the world would know his followers by how the love another. So IOW, there should an observable quality about the relationships among people who profess Christ.

    I don't condemn Rev Dollar and hope that he is moved to be honest & transparent about his struggles rather than hide. I am also grieved that more churches arent giving priority to teaching what it looks like to "love others as ourselves" in the space of our homes.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Hello

      as long as this does not effect his tax free mega income... he will be ok.. I am sure her mega allowance will be reduced to reflect and loss of HIS income.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  14. Brock

    Pass the plate.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  15. Jessica W

    Just goes to show that even pastors have problems with rebellious teens just like anyone else.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • violet weed


      June 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  16. Mike

    Um...even if he is telling the truth...shouldn't this entire ordeal be a RED FLAG that something is wrong with that household? Why would his daughter, if he were such a great father, lie on him? huh?

    June 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Get Real

      She is a teenager and still learning about life.

      June 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Jean P.

      I agree...bet my bottom "dollar" he will NOT agree to take a lie detector test. I hopethe girls take one.
      Many pastors and congregants believe in beating their kids into subservience, in the name
      of the Lord. They are often TOO BIG to be found out. Their kids are not believed and suffer consequences
      for squealing on dad.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  17. Get Real


    That actual police reports states the older daughter gave two different statements. She also says that her father did nothing that would really hurt her. Just takes a minute to read some facts...

    June 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Hello

      family huddle.... ok.. it has hit the fan... we must work together to make sure we do not loose any sheep over this... lets all just settle down or we are all going to the poor house together.. got it? so shut the f ..... up... daddy has spoken.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  18. Jesus Is Lord

    Why would "the enemy" want to discredit his own messenger?

    June 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Jessica W

      what has he said in his messages that was not scriptually accurate?

      June 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  19. 111Dave111

    LOCAL NEWS – CNN is once again reverting to its WTBS roots.

    Nobody in the rest of the country wants to know about your weather, airport, or local ministers.

    June 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  20. FlyingSpaghettiMonster

    The guy is comparing himself to Jesus after the incident, and his "followers" cheered loudly. How long until this guy sets up a camp in Guyana and starts preparing the Kool Aid?

    June 10, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jessica W

      i beleive he was being sarcastic. but take it however you need to to make your point.

      June 10, 2012 at 5:01 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.