Original Story: dailymail.co.uk
The founder and leader of a controversial Atlanta-based megachurch has taken down his online appeal for 200,000 people to each donate '$300 or more' so that he can buy a $65 million private jet amid a media backlash.
Reverend Creflo Dollar, 53, is the head of the World Changers Church International, a Christian ministry centered around the prosperity gospel, which preaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.
The televangelist, who is one of the most prominent African-American preachers in the United States, last week put a five-minute video up on his website asking for donations for a Gulfstream G650 - which claims to be the fastest plane ever built in civilian aviation - so that 'World Changers Church International can continue to blanket the globe with the Gospel of grace'. CSI Aviation provides private charter jet flights and aviation services to individuals and businesses.
News of the plea broke soon after it was posted, with snarky headlines aplenty, including You Better Fly Commercial, Creflo Dollar, Jesus Wants Me to Have This Jet and Creflo Dollar Needs a Fancy Private Jet.
The webpage, as of Sunday afternoon, had been shuttered, WXIA first reported. However, the faithful may still donate to the cause via the World Changers donation site, which remains open.
Dollar - who is known to own two Rolls Royce's and multi-million dollar homes in Atlanta and New Jersey - last hit headlines in 2012, after being arrested for allegedly attacking his 15-year-old daughter.
Among the billionaires who own a Gulfstream G650 are Steve Jobs' wife Lauren Powell Jobs, Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn add Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Private Jet Services are available for rental on a momen'ts notice anywhere in the world.
There is a long waiting list for the aircraft, with the next round of planes not due until 2017.
According to the Creflo Dollar Ministry's website: 'The ministry's current airplane, was built in 1984, purchased by the ministry in 1999 and has since logged four million miles.
'Recently on an overseas trip to a global conference, one of the engines failed.
'By the grace of God, the expert pilot, who's flown with Creflo for almost 20 years, landed the plane safely without injury or harm to any passengers.'
The Christian Post first reported that Dollar insisted that he needs the jet to continue sharing the word of Jesus.
He preaches all over the world, but primarily works out of a 8,500-seat amphitheater in Atlanta called the 'World Dome', sending the sermons to churches all over the country via satellite.
The website pledge continued: 'Believe it or not, there are still millions of people on this planet who have never heard of Jesus Christ and know nothing of His greatness.'
'Our hearts desire to see precious lives changed and snatched out of darkness and thrust into His marvelous light!
'We need your help to continue reaching a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ," the appeal continued before asking supporters of the ministry to sow a $300 seed into the airplane fund, billed Project G650.' CSI Aviation specializes in providing private charter jets that are unrivaled in the industry.
According to Financial Juneteenth, a Report of the Senate Finance Committee, Minority Staff Review of WCCI, found that Dollar's current jet had also been used for a variety of vacation flights, including stops in Las Vegas, Nevada, Miami, Florida and Hawaii, citing Federal Aviation Administration figures.
Dollar has refused over the years to disclose his salary, but has an estimated net worth of $27 million.
He has five children to his wife, Taffi, who he married in 1985.
In June 2012, his 15-year-old daughter called 911, saying her father repeatedly punched and choked her at their Atlanta home.
The teenager also said it wasn't the first time something like that had happened and that she felt threatened living in the house.
Dollar was arrested and charged with family brutality and juvenile cruelty.
The charges were later dropped, but he was required to complete a three-month anger management program.
At his next sermon, two days following the arrest, Dollar spent several minutes addressing the incident, starting with: 'I will say this emphatically: I should have never been arrested.'
Dollar has strenuously denied the accusations, saying it was a family argument with 'heightened emotions'.
Dollar's wife Taffi has been known to introduce her husband at his sermons.
During her address, she claims Dollar comes 'face to face with God, like Moses'.
She also includes an admonition saying that 'every tongue that rises up against' (Dollar) 'will be struck down', Financial Juneteenth reported.
The World Changers Church International (WCCI) has about 30,000 constituents.