| Preach to the choir|
|Crux of the matter|
|Speak of the devil|
|An act of faith|
Tom Monaghan is the founder of Dominos Pizza, owner of the Ave Maria Foundation, and Ave Maria University. He also somehow managed to gain full control of a plot of land, calling it… you guessed it Ave Maria. He is the American Taliban's greatest success story.
Monaghan is a full blown Catholic fundamentalist, which means the typical anti-abortion, anti-reproductive freedom, and supply side economy viewpoint. Going further than that, he actually believes most of the Catholic Church is less orthodox than his viewpoint, which has resulted in him trying to steer the church even further to the right. His methods: Donate millions to Catholic groups that share his viewpoint. This includes groups such as Word of God, a mission that eventually came to be known as a cult, resulting in the Catholic Church investigating the group to see if they were orthodox (oh the irony). In 1989, a coalition of 7 groups boycotted Dominos Pizza for its involvement in donations to the group and in 1990, MIT students protested Dominos for the same reason.
Ave Maria is an unincorporated community in Collier County, Florida, that was founded in 2005 by Ave Maria Development Company (He really likes that name!). Originally some farmland, Monaghan set out to create his own little version of Catholic
dominionism utopia. First he managed to write a law to gain control over the town forever, called the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, a limited government law which allowed for a "special interest" group to run the town's community infrastructure, including community development systems, facilities, services, projects, and improvements without a mayor. The law was passed by the Florida State legislators and signed by then-Governor Jeb Bush.
So in essence, Monaghan and a select group of individuals hold all the power over the town property, as it makes landowners, not registered voters, the ultimate authority in Ave Maria. The law ensures Monaghan and Barron Collier development corporation, as the largest landowners, can control Ave Maria's government forever. Small government indeed. Monaghan also gloated that he would remain the largest holder of land forever, ensuring his crazy vision won't be going away any time soon.
This also means that he can control what sort of store, hospital, or even church can set up in town, religious freedom be dammed! Monaghan puts it best however: "We'll own all commercial real estate. That means we will be able to control what goes on there. You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town."
You best not be talking bad about
Pope "mayor" Monaghan either, (or for that matter, be a gasp! Libural) otherwise you will be run out of town. Such heinous transgressions may also risk getting you fired if you work for Monaghan.
Jeb Bush praised the town at its ground breaking, lauded the development as a new kind of town, where faith and "freedom" will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. Yet a community of "like-minded citizens" whose rulers, like the American Taliban, offer their residents no civil liberties not even the right to vote for local officials nor local laws.
- Ave Maria University
- The Crusaders
- Talking at Boston College, to thunderous applause
- One's a fundamentalist, the other actually helps people!
- Catholic Charismatics Reverse Training Stance. Chicago Tribune, 28 June 1991.
- Domino's CEO uses company funds to finance cult. tech.mit.edu, 9 April 1981.
- A Catholic City? In Rural Florida, A Former Pizza Mogul Is Building An Entire Town Anchored In His Own Religious Vision
- Okay, so if the religious aspects of his rule are too transparent, he could still be dragged into court under the religion clauses, since local governments can only derive from the state what powers it can itself exercise, buuuuut...
- Ave Maria University's Strangle-Hold on Women Goes Way Beyond Suing Obamacare, Daily Kos, September 30, 2014
- With Friends Like Tom Monaghan --The Final Word, Neil J. Conway, 4/03/07
- Ave Maria University fires Rev. Joseph Fessio a second time, Naples Daily News, July 20, 2009