Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Monaghan’s Catholic Jonestown?

Juan Non-Volokh and Ann Althouse have both written of Tom Monaghan’s plan to move his Ave Maria Law School to a town in Florida – a town where he owns everything. Monaghan, you may remember, is not only the founder of Domino’s Pizza, he is also the founder of the Thomas More Law Center, which is attached at least informally to the Ave Maria Law School. He is from Ann Arbor and these operations are currently located there, but he plans to move them to a new town outside of Naples, Florida, which he will call Ave Maria Town. I’m with them, this sounds downright creepy and cult-like:

“We’ll own all commercial real estate,” [Tom Monaghan, founder of the school and of Domino’s Pizza] declared, describing his vision. “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.”

It seems that many people within his law school are also upset about this. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. It certainly seems like the kind of town that Robert Bork, a member of the Ave Maria board of directors, ought to like.


  1. #1 Dan
    November 12, 2005

    Don’t know anything about Monaghan’s Shangri-La, but he might want to have a look at Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946) before he stocks the local drugstore and creates the Official List of Approved Speech.

  2. #2 Hyperion
    November 12, 2005

    Even leaving aside the free speech issues, you still have to question how many American men, and women as well, are going to want to live in a town where there is no pornography or contraception, and where the cable company doesn’t show anything more risque than Sesame Street.

    Sounds like downtown Riyadh…I wonder, will women wear Abayas?

  3. #3 spyder
    November 13, 2005

    Will all the schools be private ones? Even the relatively conservative slant of Florida’s politicos still requires the teaching of evolution as part of the public school standards and curriculum. Maybe Ave Maria town will employ a sticker to be placed on their “Panda” biology textbooks; something that says that some people might suggest that there is an alternative but invalid theory to creationism.

  4. #4 Ed
    November 13, 2005

    Hot damn! Will he ban the use of insulin and all other medicines based on Darwinian science, too?

    It’s a big experiment. I predict he can’t get approval from any institutional review board to do it.

    And if he does the experiment illegally, he’ll go to another institution.

    I also predict he’ll take the subtly hypocritical way out — he won’t have the courage to ban the use of the medicines that what he calls the devil have made.

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