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Pastor Creflo Dollar Arrested, Denies Charges

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested on 8 June 2012, accused of slapping and choking his 15 year-old daughter. He says he “never should have been arrested.”

Creflo Dollar is the head of World Changers Church International, a Christian church in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. They claim to have 30,000 members (there are satellite churches), and Dollar is famous for preaching what’s branded Prosperity Gospel. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Protestant megachurch industry, that’s the one that claims Jesus of Nazareth told us to get rich or die tryin’.

As it happens, preaching this version of The Gospels has in fact led Creflo Dollar to prosperity. And yes, as if modern life isn’t enough like a Philip K. Dick novel, Creflo Dollar is his REAL NAME.

Find out more in our Who2 biography of Creflo Dollar.

CNN has the news and a video on the arrest. The short version is that late Thursday night Creflo Dollar and his fifteen year-old daughter got into an argument over whether she could go to a party. Presumably she wanted to go and he didn’t want her to go, but the news reports don’t make that clear. The argument went haywire and the daughter ended up calling 9-1-1 on her dad at 1:00 a.m. Friday morning.

The daughter said Creflo Dollar slammed her to the ground, punched her, beat her with a shoe and choked her. Her 19 year-old sister corroborates at least part of that story, saying Creflo Dollar slapped his youngest daughter and choked her for about five seconds.

Creflo Dollar was arrested and released on bail shortly after. Before his sermon on Sunday he told parishioners it was all exaggeration and fabrication and the work of the devil.

The Boston Globe has the story on his denial and explanation. His parishioners, it’s reported, support him. Taking a look at Creflo Dollar’s Facebook page confirms this, for the most part. There’s general agreement that teenagers are undisciplined, selfish little sinners who try to undermine authority, and it’s particularly difficult to raise them in our “culture of disrespect.”

Ah, for the Good Old Days, when teenagers didn’t rebel against authority. Jesus, for example, waited until he was well into adulthood.

Creflo’s explanation may have satisfied his parishioners, but it sounds a little squirrelly to me. Dollar says it was a “family conversation” that “got emotional” and that “things escalated from there.”

So, let’s get this straight: an argument got heated and “things escalated from there.” Where do these things escalate to, exactly? I think we call that “violence,” not discipline.

On his Facebook page, Pastor Dollar offers a further explanation for his actions that night: “In order for the devil to keep you down and defeated he must try to convince you that you are not the righteousness of God.”

God doesn’t talk directly to me about my righteousness, nor does he reward me with expensive cars and tailored suits. If you’re prone to believing that God is doing that kind of thing, I suppose it’s not much of a leap to believe there’s a devil drumming up news stories about you beating your kid, or to believe there’s a devil making you ACTUALLY beat your kid.

Of course, if it’s the devil who made you beat your kid, how can you then claim you’re only trying to discipline your child according to the word of God and the cops should stay out of it? Oh, it’s so confusing!

That must be the work of the devil, too.

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