Two days after being arrested for allegedly choking and slapping his 15-year-old daughter, the prominent minister denied the allegations during a sermon, the AP reports. Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies Friday charged the minister with simple battery and cruelty to children. USA Today reported that Dollar was released on a $5,000 bond.
ABC News reported that “Dollar’s version was that she became disrespectful and he was tried to restrain her, the report said. Only when she started to hit him did he wrestle her to the floor and spank her, the police report said.”
Dollar, news reports noted, along with Eddie Long, “is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta.” Like the allegations of sexual misconduct with male teen congregants and Long’s subsequent out-of-court settlement, the allegations against Dollar cast a shadow on his ministry.
Dollar was greeted with rousing applause Sunday as he approached the pulpit and spoke about an argument with his youngest daughter and accused news reporters of sensationalizing the incident. He and his wife, Taffi, have five children.
“As a church family, I want you to hear personally from me that all is well in the Dollar household,” he said after thanking the congregation for their prayers and support.
In response, many throughout the sanctuary applauded again.
“We remain committed to raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” he said about the boundaries and guidance he and his wife instill in their home.
After applause subsided, Dollar continued: “I would never put any fault on my children. As Jesus would never put any fault on me. I love her with all of my heart. Amen. There are two things that are certain in the life of a Christian parent. Number one is that we win. And number two: Is that tests will come to try and shake your faith.”
The incident generated widespread attention from media as well as the blogosphere where observers commented on parenting issues, faith and the blurred lines between the public face and private life of well-known religious leaders.
“I am not a fan of Creflo Dollar. But I raised two teens. So while I may not agree, I do understand. They can push you to the edge,” tweeted the Rev. DeForest Soaries, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, Friday night.
“Why am I not surprised by this? Dollar is one of the most disciplinary, judgmental prosperity preachers on the circuit. He blames everything on everyone in his congregation if their finances are not ‘right,’ and warmth is not a word one uses to describe his sermons. Dollar’s brittle, hard theology of prosperity makes for an inflexible and disciplinary personality,” wrote Anthea Butler, contributing editor for the daily online magazine Religion Dispatches Friday afternoon.
“My thoughts on #Creflodollar incident--parents have a right to discipline their kids. But when girls get over the age of 13,” tweeted author and political strategist Sophia Nelson Friday. “Fathers have to be careful with physical hitting, slapping. Girls mistakes discipline for how a man is supposed to keep me in line. Mother’s should step up if there is any physical discipline to be administered to girls. Father’s need to talk & discipline verbally.”
“We may never know the full story in the Dollar family drama. But, in general, one thing’s certain: regardless of the circumstances, a man who raises his hand to his teenage daughter is weak,” wrote Wil LaVeist Friday on Urban Faith Web site.
The author and journalist said that “in these types of domestic cases, it’s always unwise to leap to conclusions. … You certainly have my prayers for your entire family, brother. But my respect for you as a man and a father? If the police report is true, you’re too weak for that.”
“I don’t know @Creflo_Dollar personally, but he does strike me as a man who loves his family and would not purposely harm them,” tweeted Clinton McFarland, senior pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Atlanta and Lithonia, Ga.