When Reverend Creflo Dollar asked his congregation for the money to buy a $65 million private jet, his reputation took a hit, but now Christian musician Kirk Franklin is weighing in on how he thinks Dollar's request shows a "shortage of character."
"When a pastor wants people to buy him a private plane while a missionary in Somalia bathes children with sores, that's a shortage of character," the musician wrote in an article published on Patheos. "When I camouflage my 'greeds' to look like 'needs,' that's a shortage of character."
Rev. Dollar first asked for the money from his followers and church members to help fund a new $65 million Gulfstream G650 private jet that he said would help him "safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide" after his current jet had experienced repeated breakdowns.
But the backlash from the campaign's publicity caused the Atlanta-based minister to remove the funding page, although the possibility to donate to that specific "Project G650" campaign was still available on a donations page.
But for Franklin, his concern is about the morality of asking people for money to fund something so luxurious. "I agree you cannot legislate morality in our culture, but you cannot avoid holding people accountable," he wrote. "You can't let people slide by just because they are charismatic and can 'kill' a room. We don't have a shortage of greatness, we have a shortage of character."
Franklin's article focuses on the high cost of character in today's society and how important it is to have the right kind of character. "Talent can take you, but character keeps you," he says.
"Character may make you miss out sometimes," he continues. "There are some that have what they have, but they have paid dearly for it... and not in positive ways. Some people really do sleep their way to the top. Some will sell what they know to be right just for a spot in the front line. Character may force you to say no to what's 'quick,' and cause you to wait for years until the 'long term' comes back around."
While Franklin's article didn't name Dollar specifically, the implication was obvious. But Franklin's certainly not the first to question the pastor's intentions when it comes to profits and morality. In November of 2007, Dollar was under investigation by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa to determine if Dollar was making a profit from his non-profit status as a church leader.
And in June of 2012, the Fayette County Georgia Sheriff's Office filed an assault report on Rev. Dollar for the pastor's 15-year-old daughter. Dollar claimed at the time that he only disciplined her with a spanking after restraining her when she began to strike him first. The argument began when Dollar told his daughter that she couldn't attend a party. All charges were eventually dropped when Dollar completed anger management classes and paid $1,000 in court fees.