Monday, December 5, 2005

Dr. Who?

Jerry Falwell casts doubt upon another man’s title as “reverend.”

On the December 1 edition of Fox News’ The Big Story with John Gibson, Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder and chairman of the Moral Majority Coalition, commented that Americans United for the Separation of Church and State executive director Rev. Barry W. Lynn “is about as reverend as an oak tree” and “that reverend name gives him respectability.” Guest host David Asman repeated the phrase “about as reverend as an oak tree” and said, “I’d never heard that one, Reverend Jerry Falwell, but I’m going to repeat it at some point.”

In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Lynn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

My first question is who the hell is Jerry Falwell to question the bona fides of someone who disagrees with him? Well, the obvious answer is that he’s a pompous ass who assumes that any clergyman who doesn’t agree with him is not worthy of being called “reverend.”

It also raises a second question. I’ve heard Jerry Falwell referred to as both “Rev. Falwell” and “Dr. Falwell.” His biography doesn’t say where he did his doctoral studies, the subject of his research, the availability of his doctoral abstract, and the specific degree he has. I know what byzantine hoops I had to jump through to get my Ph.D., and I am sure that if Jerry Falwell did something similar, there’s got to be a record of it somewhere, even if it was for another doctoral degree like a D.D. or Ed.D. If it was an honorary title given to him by some institution in recognition of his contribution to cultural genocide, then it would be a doctorate honorus causa, which is meaningless in academic circles; it’s like being an honorary Mousketeer. No one with any academic integrity would label themeselves as “Doctor” based upon receiving an honorary degree. But then, “integrity” is not a word that comes to mind when you’re talking about Jerry Falwell. (So sue me, you fat bastard.)