The lecherous and hypersexed pizza delivery boy might be a porn movie cliche but not likely welcome in Ave Maria, Florida:
If Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control.
The pizza magnate is bankrolling the project with at least $250 million and calls it “God’s will.”
Civil libertarians say the plan is unconstitutional and are threatening to sue.
The town of Ave Maria is being constructed around Ave Maria University, the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in about 40 years. Both are set to open next year about 25 miles east of Naples in southwestern Florida.
The town and the university, developed in partnership with the Barron Collier Co., an agricultural and real estate business, will be set on 5,000 acres with a European-inspired town center, a massive church and what planners call the largest crucifix in the nation, at nearly 65 feet tall. Monaghan envisions 11,000 homes and 20,000 residents. (AP via First Amendment Center)
Wow. The largest crucifix in the nation. Maybe it will even be a tourist draw, like the Corn Palace in South Dakota. But it’s more than a ginormous crucifix. In Monaghan’s vision, stores wouldn’t sell “pornographic magazines” (he knows when he sees them), no contraceptives in the drugstores, no sex on cable. The community hospital won’t prescribe birth control for students. Problematic? When these plans were announced, the project’s lawyers reviewed the legal issues. Apparently the review didn’t go that well. Shows you how godless we have become.
“I thought we owned the real estate, so we can lease to whoever we want and put things in the contract, but there are laws and there were lawsuits out there,” Monaghan said.
Yes, those pesky laws.
The developers say that they will allow any denomination to build a house of worship in Ave Maria, and that gays are welcome, too.
In fact, the Web site for the town and university makes no mention of Catholicism at all, not even noting that the school will be Catholic.
“Ave Maria reinvents hometown living with a flourishing new community complementing a new university,” the site says. “Ave Maria is an exciting place to live, work, play and learn for every family, every lifestyle and every dream.” (AP)
If you are an atheist you needn’t worry. Ave Maria, FL (Ave Maria means Hail, Mary; but I’m sure you knew that) will be welcoming and inclusive. Why would you think otherwise?
Yes, the streets have names like Annunciation Circle and John Paul II Boulevard. The town is laid out to catch the sunrise at a certain angle each March 25, the day Catholics celebrate the Feast of Annunciation. And the Catholic university whose towering 10-story church dominates the landscape bans condoms and warns that premarital sex can be grounds for expulsion.
But Ave Maria is open to everyone, said Blake Gable, project manager for the Barron Collier Cos., which is building the new town in partnership with Domino’s Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan, an ardent Catholic. (AP via First Amendment Center)
Yes, it sounds like a real, welcoming environment. I’ve already bought a little lot there. It’s on the corner of the renamed Richard Dawkins Avenue and PZ Myers Way. Stop by on your way to Black Mass next Sunday. We’ll be the house with the cross burning on the front lawn.