The Blurry Line for Creflo Dollar (and Parents) Between Discipline and Abuse

The comments section on Facebook strikes again. Creflo Dollar, megachurch pastor outside of Atlanta, was arrested early this morning for family violence against his 15-year old daughter. The Root posted a short article about the assault and arrest and provided the link to the police report which I have to imagine most people didn't take he time to read because most of the comments were praising him for properly disciplining his daughter.

The article described the events as such: "Dollar's daughter sustained 'superficial injuries' to her neck...Deputies were summoned to Dollar's Sandy Creek Road home around 1 a.m. after receiving a 911 call...Apparently the altercation centered around a party the alleged victim wanted to attend." 

More intrigued with the dozens of Facebook comments to this post after only a few minutes, I literally found myself shaking my head. I know Christians feel they have a religious duty to raise little obedient Christian soldiers. They do not spare the rod. They do not spoil the child. But some of these comments were really upsettingI'm lost on many of them. They jump to conclusions about the daughter's behavior and character when it's completely irrelevant.

  • Spoil the kid with poor peoples money, then wonder why they disobey when they get older. 2 Timothy 3:1-9 
  • Wow...thank goodness I don't have girls...smh 
  • No 15 year old should be allowed to go to a party at 1:00 in the morning....should have had superficial injuries to her behind!!!
  • Ex-pastor's wife here: Just from experience many of them are dictators in their homes and do not listen to reason (they think they are GOD). Not very Godly for men that are God's representatives. I can't imagine ever having a reason to strangle your child. Now I do believe in discipline, but not to this extreme. Hope they can work things out...very sad.
  • Was it assault or parenting? Allegedly the altercation took place at 1:00 a.m. over a party the 15 YO daughter wanted to attend. She probably got sassy and he jacked her up! How many have been whipped by your parents with a belt, switch, or who knows what? Did it kill you? Today, everyone wants to call something child abuse. At the same time, if the children are unruly and out of line, then the parents aren't doing their job. Can't win huh?
  • I am so sorry Creflo had to go through this..... Who has arrested the father that allows his daughter to go to parties, be loose and behave inappropriately? That is the greater crime!!!! I support all father's that care about their daughters!
  • She just got snatched up for talking sideways out of her mouth, these kids r out of control....ima slap the taste outta mine for real tho...
  • He did what he had to do thumbs up.
  • I can't judge him because I've snatched our teenagers up for less. Get it, Pastor! If it was me, I'd say "and she better be gone when I get back to the house or she can get it again." Kids are too entitled nowadays. Lemme get my Free Creflo shirt ready.

Admittedly, when I read there were "superficial injuries to her neck" I wasn't quite sure what that meant. Had he choked her? Was it a misfired attempt to slap her across her face? I was also more than a little put-off by the way some of the information was reported. I speculated that the daughter wasn't trying to go party that night at one o'clock in the morning but it certainly read that way. You don't ask to leave at that hour, you just sneak out. I suspected (and later confirmed to be true) that she was asking about going out to party over the weekend.  

I was 15 once, too. I've stumbled in drunk way past curfew. I've brought home failing grades, albeit it, in French. I went out partying the night before the SAT because quite frankly, I did not give a damn. They found cigarettes in my room, though in all honesty, they really weren't mine. I quit my first high school job as a sales associate because my friends asked me to hang out at the mall. I quit the softball team without telling my parents because I didn't want to hear their lectures on not giving up. I tend to think I was a very normal teenager. I did want I wanted, when I wanted and when I couldn't I figured out how to break the rules without getting caught. Every other word out of my mouth made it abundantly clear how little I valued anything my parents had to say. And you know what? No one ever choked me or hit me with a shoe. Because nothing I did (and I did it all) would have merited such action. 

Now, that doesn't mean I didn't get spankings as a child. I most certainly did. Most of it was for stupid stuff like not doing my homework or losing something expensive or forging signatures on progress reports or stealing from the mall in order to impress my friends. The spankings didn't deter me from skipping random homework assignments later in high school or college. For better or worse, I'm still the same old me. I hate doing things I don't want to do and no frequency of spankings did anything to change it. Although, I suppose the thief in me was sufficiently beat out of me back in the late 1990's. My bottom was sore for days but I look back on most spankings, and that one in particular, and know without a doubt it was discipline and not abuse.

Families can be extremely resilient but there's nothing like a visit from the police and national headline news to test its strength. There's also nothing like knowing your father would attack you for crying over wanting to go to a party and not wanting to talk to him about it because you know you're too upset. He knows he crossed the line, evident by the fact that he encouraged his older daughter to falsify her police report. Protecting his public image cannot be more important than providing a home where the women in his life feel safe.

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