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Taking Sides

The Blurry Line for Creflo Dollar 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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About Bella

I’m an (almost) 30-something free-lance writer, blogger, genealogist, and friend. Yep. If you pay me, I’ll be your friend. Initial fees are subject to negotiation. You can also contact me about product reviews and ad space. Everything is for sale around here. I make my home in Boston with my roommate, Jane Doe; my 12 year old dog, Chewy; and Jane’s feral cat, Felix. I’m addicted to reading Mormon mommy blogs, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Facebook status updates.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “The Blurry Line for Creflo Dollar Between Discipline and Abuse

  1. OH ErinBella…I’m not even sure what to say. I must admit that the Facebook comment 3rd from the end made me LOL. I get where you’re coming from, but I also understand some of the commenters. My biggest issue is that as is often the case with situations like this, the only people who really know what happened are Creflo and his two daughters. The police report won’t get it quite right and neither will any of them because they have their own interests to protect. For these reasons, I find it hard to pass judgment on this situation although I am firmly opposed to both child abuse and bad, grown-ass kids. I do know one thing though…these people still have to be related and live in the same home. This will not be pretty. If only there were do-overs….

    Posted by cts | June 8, 2012, 6:24 pm
    • Oh, CTS. (I never put my first name on here so thanks for putting me out on blast.)

      You’re right. No one knows what happened except the three people in that kitchen. And you of all people should know I cannot tolerate disrespectful children. That being said — they start to smell themselves at times and the way to correct that behavior is with love, discipline and a whole lot of patience. No one’s perfect. I’ve lost my cool on more than one occasion with loved ones (including young children) but I think I’ve managed to come away from delicate situations without using a choke hold.

      If you read the police report (please read it) you might find that there is a little judgment to pass. Especially since the older daughter corroborated her sister’s story.

      Posted by Bella | June 8, 2012, 7:59 pm
      • When ever any one is doing a real work for God they must expect the adversary to respond. If they he can not attack you outside the home then he will attack yku from the inside. May God continue to bless you and your house. Send that ungreatfull and disrespectfull little girl to the hood for a weekend. Letter visit with people in the projects who cant aford to live in big gated homes. Bet it would take the lord to getvher out the house at 1am. Keep telling my kids just cause i go to church dont mean i wont kick your@%&!

        Posted by Anonymous | June 10, 2012, 4:50 pm
  2. I have to agree with both of you. Ultimately, I think that when a parent and a teenager start bumping heads to the point where it becomes physical, (more than once, according to the daughter) then it’s time for somebody to go, and more than likely, it won’t be the parent. I am not justifying Creflo’s behavior, nor his daughters. I just think that as a parent, you have to know when enough is enough. By the time a child hits those pre-adult years (15-18) they are usually to old to be getting whoopings, spankings, punches, etc, anyway. If your child does not respect what you say out of your mouth, then surely they won’t change just because you decide to take it to the next level. Sometimes, a very clear line has to be drawn to protect both parties involved. And again, if that line is crossed more than once, then somebody would have to get their suitcase and go. I mean, as a child, how can you live in the same house with someone that you feel is “threat” to you…..and as a parent, how can you continue to take care of a child who views you as such? I just would have told her: ” Look, I am bout’ to get real ghetto on you, and before I allow my anger to take over, and then get the police called to my house, you gone have to stay with cousin’ “pooh-nem” until we can reach a resolution.” ( I know this sounds funny, but much truth here:)

    Posted by Anonymous | June 10, 2012, 1:22 am
    • The only problem with ^^^that^^^ (it being time for someone to go — and that someone being the daughter) is that she’s not an adult. She’s fifteen and his responsibility. So yes, while she’s too old for spankings, it doesn’t mean all hope for parenting is lost. Being a parent isn’t easy but he has to do it — without feeling like the only way he can get through to her is by putting his hands on her. Maybe they could start a conversation about how she can feel safe in her home and he can feel respected in his home. Sending her away doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. I think it creates more of them.

      Posted by Bella | June 11, 2012, 11:43 am
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  4. Reblogged this on Cite Simon and commented:
    We have media reports, a few facts and a strong desire to have an opinion. This blogger puts her finger on some of the issues which worry us in this family disturbance. What do you think?

    Posted by CiteSimon | June 18, 2012, 5:34 am
  5. After reading the police report, it appears that Mr. Dollar lost control of his own actions towards his daughter: he choked her, slammed her to the floor, punched her, and whooped her. Child abuse can result when the parent loses control of their temper and actions. I believe that is what happened here. The police were right to arrest him. Parents should discipline with wisdom and self-control.

    Posted by Evangelical Christian Resource | June 18, 2012, 6:45 am
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