Televangelist and megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested early Friday after an argument with his 15-year-old daughter over a party she wanted to attend. His daughter claims he chocked her, then threw her to the ground and started hitting her with his shoe. Dollar has been charged with two misdemeanors, simple battery and cruelty to children.
Dollar denies attacking his daughter. He told his congregation yesterday that the allegations are "exaggeration and sensationalism" and that he should have never been arrested. "The truth is that a family conversation with our youngest daughter got emotional. And emotions got involved and things escalated from there." His congregation is backing him up -- but not in the way you'd think.
Between Dollar's Sunday sermon and his supporters' comments, I'm picking up on a more subtle message: Teens these days are out of control and a parent's gotta do what a parent's gotta do. Dollar began his sermon by saying, "Raising children in our culture of disrespect is a challenge for all of us who are parents." Meanwhile, most of his congregation seems to be supporting him not so much by denying he attacked his daughter, but by implying that if he did, maybe he was justified. "Listen, we cannot spare the rod," a supporter says in the video below.
I just spent two weeks in jury duty hearing about a case in which a man was accused of threatening his teenage daughter with a machete (among other things). A few of my fellow jurors surprisingly revealed how physical they've gotten with their own challenging teenagers.
For many parents it's just understood: You've got to knock some heads around sometimes to keep those kids in line. But keep it all on the DL because you can get in trouble for that -- just like Dollar here.
I think Dollar's congregation is backing him up because they think how he disciplines his kids is his business -- and that maybe the girl had it coming to her. That sounds like justifying child abuse to me. Things got "emotional" and "escalated" but he didn't choke or punch the girl? Whatever. More than anything else I'm sorry that another family's private pain has gone public.
What do you think really happened between Creflo Dollar and his daughter?
Image via Fayette County Sheriff's Office