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Since the news broke that “Mega-church” pastor Creflo A. Dollar was arrested for assaulting his 15-year-old daughter, the rationalizations from his supporters continue to range from the understandably skeptical to the blind faith of people who are actually justifying a grown man tackling his teenage daughter to the ground, choking and hitting her with a shoe.

Somewhere in the middle, are those who for whatever reasons support corporal punishment, or to call a spade a spade, physically abusing a child as a form of discipline.

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Reasons used to justify the abuse have been:

1.) She hit him first.

2. ) She deserved it for being disrespectful.

Even though the police report clearly states that she did not hit him first and her so-called “disrespect” is completely subjective. (Click here for full police report.)

Personally, I find it reprehensible for anyone to condone the striking of a child in anger. There is no “divine purpose” — only religious doctrine, which as one of my friends so brilliantly pointed out is the same rhetoric which contains the “true story” of God ordering she-bears to viciously eat 42 children alive for calling Elisha “bald-head.”

As for the right Reverend Dollar, we’re talking about a man who said that he would murder church members — in the church — who didn’t tithe if he weren’t “covered in the blood of Jesus”:

“I mean, I thought about when we first built “The Dome,” I wanted to put some of those little moving bars and give everybody a little card. They’d stick it in a little computer slot. If they were tithing, beautiful music would go off and, you know, “Welcome, welcome, welcome to the World Dome.

“But…if they were non-tithers, the bar would lock up, the red and blue lights would start going, the siren would go off, and a voice would go out throughout the entire dome, “Crook, crook, crook, crook!

“Security would go and apprehend them, and once we got them all together, we’d line them up in the front and pass out uzis by the ushers and point our uzis right at all those non-tithing members ’cause we want God to come to church, and at the count of three “Jesus”-es we’d shoot them all dead. And then we’d take them out the side door there, have a big hole, bury them, and then go ahead and have church and have the anointing.

“Aren’t you glad we’re under the Blood of Jesus? Because if we were not under the Blood of Jesus, I would certainly try it.”

It’s a good thing he was covered by the “blood” or his daughter might be dead — in the name of Jesus.

I understand “innocent until proven guilty,” but that has never been a completely accurate barometer of right and wrong — because truth is always subjective. Even if he’s found innocent in every court in America, I will continue to stand by my assertion that a grown man tackling his daughter to the ground, punching her and hitting her with a shoe is assault, not parenting. And if that behavior is considered acceptable in their household, it will affect her later in life, specifically in her interactions with men.

This is textbook. There have been a plethora of psychological studies done to show the long- standing emotional and psychological effects of corporal punishment/abuse. Take this study conducted by psychologist Elizabeth Thompson Gershoff, PhD, of the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University:

“While conducting the meta-analysis, which included 62 years of collected data, Gershoff looked for associations between parental use of corporal punishment and 11 child behaviors and experiences, including several in childhood (immediate compliance, moral internalization, quality of relationship with parent, and physical abuse from that parent), three in both childhood and adulthood (mental health, aggression, and criminal or antisocial behavior) and one in adulthood alone (abuse of own children or spouse).

“Gershoff found “strong associations” between corporal punishment and all eleven child behaviors and experiences. Ten of the associations were negative such as with increased child aggression and antisocial behavior. The single desirable association was between corporal punishment and increased immediate compliance on the part of the child.”

Though Gershoff’s team did find that “the evidence presented in the meta-analysis does not justify a blanket injunction against mild to moderate disciplinary spanking,” one can hardly count tackling and choking as “mild.”

That is abuse and abuse is not effective parenting.

When I was in the mental health field and going into people’s homes, to the schools of at risk children or the jail, child abuse was a common theme.  In my opinion, it has been ingrained as appropriate, specifically in Black households, and it is nothing more than lazy parenting. If you have to tackle your child to the ground, something is wrong in that household that choking just will not cure. More importantly, that is not instilling respect; it is instilling fear — two entirely different beasts.

Physical abuse was never used in my home and I never disrespected my father. I was disciplined, yes, but never hit. Men have to take extra care when dealing with their daughters and because of the respect my father showed me I have never let a man put his hands on me. Why?

If the greatest man I will ever know didn’t lay a finger on me, I’ll be damned if some man who can’t even begin to compare treats me any less worthy of respect.

ChaValier N. Sharps, a clinical psychology student at the University of Northern Iowa who has been observing the case, contends that it is a tragic microcosm of society as a whole:

“Aside from being disgusted and appalled with the incident itself — the act and whom it concerned — I’m as equally, if not more disgusted with the responses I’ve been seeing across the web put forth by black ‘christians.’ This whole thing just reaffirms how heterosexual patriarchy is the accepted and unquestioned rule within the establishment of religion,” Sharps continues. “I didn’t know that there were justifiable reasons to which a parent could beat a child, a person could assault another person, a man could hit a woman — all three of these have been excused. And in keeping in proper line with the status-quo, I’ve of course seen no comments on the whereabouts of his wife, or how she feels about the situation.”

Let the church say, “Amen.”

Bottom line: Dollar, with his big, burly grown man self, decided to show a 15-yr-old girl who was boss; and apparently, the only methods he is equipped enough as a parent to utilize involve doing the exact same thing to his daughter as people would like to think she did to him, only with more force. What is the lesson learned, here?

Violence works, you just have to be stronger than your victim. More importantly, “Daddy hits me because he loves me, so when Johnny does it, he must love me too. And Tim, and Bill, and Chris…”

When this child grows up to be a woman with Daddy issues, letting men hit her because “they love her,” the same people applauding Dollar and cheering on his abuse will be the same people calling her a fool for remaining in toxic relationships.

May “God” bless them all.


Op-Ed: Creflo Dollar Arrested, Charged With Punching And Choking His Daughter