As some of you may be aware, prosperity Gospel con artist…er, preacher, Creflo Dollar was arrested June 7th for allegedly assaulting his fifteen year old daughter. From the Huffington Post:
Prosperity Preacher Creflo Dollar was arrested last night for allegedly assaulting his 15-year-old daughter. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the altercation occurred after Dollar told her she could not attend a party. The girl suffered what the sheriff describes as “superficial injuries” to the neck.
Dollar was charged with simple battery, violence and cruelty to children, but was released after posting a $5,000 bond.
You can find Anthea Butler’s full article by clicking on the following link: http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/antheabutler/6054/prosperity_preacher_creflo_dollar_arrested_for_allegedly_assaulting_daughter_%7C_/
Also, check out this story from the New York Daily News and Associated Press: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/creflo-dollar-allegedly-choked-punched-daughter-police-report-article-1.1092784
For those who don’t know what the prosperity gospel is, it is a method that high rolling, rock star preachers use to steal money from the poor. It works something like this: the preacher tells you that the Bible promises somewhere between a ten and one thousand fold return on the money you give to God. Since the preacher is God’s agent on Earth, you simply send the money to him. When you don’t get your ten to one thousand fold return, he tells you it’s because you didn’t have enough faith. To demonstrate your faith, you really should send more money. These ass hats prey on those least able to afford it – the desperate, the elderly, and the uneducated. They drive around in Rolls Royce – well, they are chauffeured in Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles, live in multi-million dollar homes, and never give one thought to the suffering they create. They call each other “Man of God,” and stroke each others’ egos – and quite often each others’ nether regions as well. They have a code of silence in their Good Old Boys’ network, and are never critical of each other no matter how many people they hurt. They stand in their Churches – or their television studios – and declare themselves Strong Men, loyal to their obedient wives – even as they were out all night the previous evening, sleeping with another woman – or man, or both. They are despicable agents of evil, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and most often succeed in convincing themselves they are doing good work and so deserve to be treated like rock stars.
On Monday, when I posted a link to the above Huffington Post article on my Facebook page, someone actually came to the defense of Creflo Dollar! At first I was a little confused, because the person has a rather common name and I thought he was another Facebook friend of mine. As we were going back and forth, I looked closer at this person’s picture – no small task with my eyes and a notebook computer – and saw who he really was. It all came clear to me, as this person has connections with a rock star preacher, though not exactly a prosperity gospel preacher. We had actually sat in the same room, and I helped promote some of this person’s work for the rock star preacher. No wonder he was after me so hard, no wonder he accused me of being an ego maniac – he thought I was one of them! I almost threw up at the thought. That explained why when I told him we were called to follow Jesus who was poor and not King Herod who was rich he decided to challenge me by asking me how poor I was.
He was not anticipating my answer. He had assumed, because of the context in which we met, that I was one of those high rolling preachers. I decided to tell him the truth.
Jesus was an itinerant preacher supported by his followers. He had no home, drove no fancy ride, wore the clothes of the working people of his day. As to my poverty, XXXX, I live in the hood. I work side jobs and draw no salary from my ministry – it’s against our polity. My wife and I have chosen to take in children who had no place to go and help them, parent and foster parent them. We have always lived with high medical bills due to our medical needs and those of our children. One of our children and her two children – our grandchildren – live with us. Of course, by world standards every American is rich, but by American standards we barely get by. I continue to work as much as I can despite serious back and other health problems. Now tell ME, XXXX, do you want to keep pursing this? I know all about the Good Old Boys network, and the notion in some circles that you don’t criticize any preacher no matter what they do – and I reject it. When I go places and support a colleague, it comes out of my not very deep pockets. I am not a rock and roll preacher, I am very real. I live and work among the poor and share their suffering. I stand with the marginalized – not out of a rich person’s pity, but because I am one.
He had no response. I wasn’t one of “them” and so he didn’t know how to deal with me. I don’t support the nonsense, the games, the cons, the shams that have made Christianity a virtual laughing-stock of criminals of every stripe who care about nothing else but their money, their power, and their control. I don’t believe most of these people started out this way, but because they didn’t engage in ongoing spiritual practice and instead believed the lies told them by those who hoped to feed off of their teats, they certainly did end up anything but the “men of God” they claim to be.
Let’s be quite clear – every person is a man or woman of God. To be a member of the ordained clergy is a sacred trust, it is a voluntary donning of a yoke, it is choosing to lay down your life for your fellow human beings. It is NOT a call to empty their pockets and live the high life at their expense. Most of all, when ordained clergy commit a crime against people under their care – whether their flock or their family – they, more than anyone else, NEED to be held accountable for their crimes. Somewhere along the way, a large chunk of the Church came to believe that ordination was a “get out of jail free card.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and Christianity will continue to implode until we re-establish a right understanding of the role of the clergy that calls them to humility and servant ministry – just like the Jesus they purport to represent.
Creflo Dollar posted five thousand dollars – or should I say creflos – and was released. To him that’s like you and me posting a nickel for bond. He is innocent until proven guilty, but no matter the outcome clearly something happened in his home that caused his fifteen year old daughter to have what were described as superficial injuries to her neck. There were no reports of intruders in the house, and Dollar told his congregation on Sunday that he “spanked” her – a fifteen year old post-pubescent young woman. Really? His flock will no doubt continue to support him, because they need to support him in the hopes that they will see a return on their investment. Seeing the truth about Creflo would mean seeing the truth about the prosperity gospel – and, financially, they can’t afford to do that. And while Creflo’s flock stays at home, those at a distance will continue to flock away from the Church in all its forms – as well they should.