Recently, I have been looking into diploma mills and questionable doctorate degrees given to celebrity Christians.
In two weeks, Cleveland pastor and Donald Trump supporter Darrell Scott will be honored by former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown’s charity Amer-i-can for his work in support of Trump’s election. Throughout the presidential campaign, Scott promoted Donald Trump. He served as CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. Scott was rewarded for his efforts by an appointment to the executive committee of Trump’s transition team.
In his Twitter profile above (and his Facebook page), Scott refers to himself as Dr. Darrell Scott. During the campaign, Trump also referred to Scott as “Dr. Darrell Scott.”
On his church bio, Scott describes himself as
Already a 21st Century Theologian and Scholar in his own right, Dr. Darrell went on to receive his Doctorate of Divinity in November of 2004. His astute wisdom of religious and biblical studies not only qualifies him as a 21st Century Theologian but also serves to further amplify the fact that he is a gifted and anointed teacher and preacher of God’s Word.
Twenty-first century theologian and scholar Scott did get an honorary doctorate in 2004 from St. Thomas Christian College (now University). However, his bio is worded in a way that creates the impression that he earned the degree. As noted above, Scott uses the title “Dr.” in referring to himself which is inappropriate and misleading since the degree was not earned.
Compounding the problem is the questionable status of the college. St. Thomas Christian University is not accredited by any Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized accrediting body. The Chancellor of the school Zamekio Jackson told me in a tweet that the school was accredited but declined to tell me the name of the accrediting body. A search of the ED and CHEA websites failed to turn up any proof of accreditation by any federally recognized accrediting body. St. Thomas’ website does not describe any accrediting agency.
St. Thomas is currently unlicensed in the state of Florida. In Florida, religious colleges can be exempted from state licensing if they file a request for exemption (see this post for the process). St. Thomas is not on the list of exempt schools maintained by the state. A representative of the Commission on Independent Education told me this morning that 2014 was the last year St. Thomas had filed for exemption. Chancellor Jackson said the school needs to update their paperwork.
Mr. Scott appears to be using his degree from an unaccredited school to create an impression that he earned a doctorate. He joins other celebrity Christians such as David Barton, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and and Lance Wallnau who use questionable degrees in a questionable manner.