A few days ago I wrote about a Protestant movement to take over South Carolina. In response I suggested that each religion move to take over its own city-state. I was kidding, but Domino's Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan is not. Tom sold Domino's for one billion dollars and has donated a quarter of a million to erect a Catholic university and to build a Catholic town around it.
Called Ave Maria, the town will enforce Catholic values on those who live there. What are Catholic values? You might think they had something to do with Jesus: loving one's neighbor, caring for the homeless, the poor, and the powerless. If you did think that, however, you would be wrong. Catholic values seem to be fixated on other concerns: no pharmacy in Ave Mariaville will be permitted to sell condoms or birth control, no cable company will be allowed to beam X-rated channels to its customers, Protestants will have to pay for their own stake burnings, and Jews will live behind locked ghetto walls. Actually I made up two of these.
The ACLU is concerned that the city will violate civil rights and even the Constitution of the United States. I wouldn’t worry about either of those, however. With five of the nine Supreme Court justices being Catholic and the former head of the Inquisition now head of the Catholic Church, our rights are pretty much toast anyway.
Ironically (though I am sure the irony was lost on most viewers) I heard about Ave Maria on Fox & Friends. They were interviewing some student from Yale about a senior member of the Taliban who attends school there. They ranted (rightly) about the theocratic insanity that is the Taliban and then, without so much as a wink and a nod, they interviewed two guys who are building Ave Mariaville. I guess it’s only a theocracy if the religion running the place isn’t your own. That is certainly the case among Jews in Israel.
Personally I don’t there is anything wrong with Catholic-town, and I don’t buy the ACLU’s criticisms. First of all, the town isn’t built yet, and you have to apply to live there, so anyone who does choose to live there is voluntarily giving up his or her civil rights and that is their right. Second, I don’t see the difference between living under the heavy hand of a theocracy and living under the heavy hand of a fascist homeowner’s association. If the latter is legal, so is the former. And as for Jews living in ghettos in central Florida, just look at South Florida. If they can afford it, Jews are opting to living in ghettos (they call them gated communities) where their lives are run by their homeowner’s association. True, you don’t have to wear a badge when you go out, but you still need one to get in.
So come on, let the Catholics have their town. It will be the largest formally Catholic city outside the Vatican, and I wish them well. In fact let me off a couple of suggestions to make the place really fun. First, they should dress their cops up like the Vtican's Swiss Guard. Second they should hire a Pope impersonator to wander the streets and bless visitors. Third the city council should revive the practice of selling indulgences and use it to raise money for special projects like building a miniature Vatican. After all Central Florida is already home to the Holy Land theme park, and what loyal Catholic wouldn't pay to ride in the Popemobile?
And if the freedom loving, Constitution hugging, ACLU doesn’t like it, let them build their own damn town. Soon, actually. The rest of us will need someplace to run.