Monday, December 11, 2006

Would you like guilt with that?

So, you are asking yourself, "my fundy friends are coming round for dinner; what can I serve them? Hell Pizza is a no-no, since their pizzas are deep crust and ribbed for extra pleasure. Where can I go for conservative pizza?"

Unfortunately, Domino's is now in secular hands, but it was founded by one of the most conservative Catholics of them all. Thomas Monaghan doesn't own a crust of his old company, but he is using his life savings to save souls.

He funds the Thomas More Law Center, which crafted an anti-abortion law for South Dakota which would have challenged Roe v. Wade, had the state legislature accepted it. His money is also behind the Siena Group, whose founder, Father Paul Marx reportedly blamed 'the abortion holocaust' on the 'shoulders of the Jews.'

Monaghan's latest project is a Roman Catholic town in Florida. He has promised at least $US 250 million for Ave Maria, a community of 20,000 residents to be built around Ave Maria University, which he also founded. The town will have a central square, a huge and hideously ugly cathedral and the tallest crucifix in the United States.

Ave Maria will also be the No Fun capital of the Union. Monaghan is determined that stores will not sell porn, pharmacies will not provide condoms or birth control pills and X-rated cable channels will not be available to the viewing public. Monaghan outlined his plans at a meeting last year, saying "I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines."

Monaghan founded Domino's with his brother in 1960, quickly building a nationwide franchise operation that has expanded overseas, including New Zealand. The success of the company was due to a number of innovations, including the introduction of the corrugated cardboard delivery box and the bag which keeps the pizza hot. Another first was the promise that pizzas would be delivered in 30 minutes or would be free of charge, a policy which led to numerous road accidents involving delivery drivers. After two years, the policy was changed to a price reduction. In 1993, Domino's was successfully sued for $US78 million in punitive damages, by a woman who suffered head and spinal injuries when a Domino's delivery driver ran a red light and hit her car. This action prompted Domino's to abandon the 30-minute promise entirely.

Before founding Domino's, Monaghan had intended to become a priest, but his ambition was thwarted when he was expelled for disciplinary offences, including a pillow fight. Despite this rejection, he has founded a number of Catholic educational and advocacy organisations. After reading CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, Monaghan decided that his life was filled with pride, so he sold many of the luxuries he had gathered and left unfinished a large mansion he was building. In 1998 he sold his controlling interest in Domino's and retired from the company to devote his life to good works. Most of these involve Catholic beliefs and conservative politics. For many years, he has been a financial supporter of Operation Rescue, a group which holds mass protests against abortion clinics and attempts to prevent staff and patients entering buildings. Such is Monaghan's commitment to the anti-abortion cause that he lists the date of his conception as his birthday (I am so glad my parents never told me the date of my conception).

The town of Ave Maria is Monaghan's most ambitious project. Civil libertarians are already expressing disquiet at the restrictive proposals for the town's management. However, at the site's groundbreaking, Governor Jeb Bush, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that it will be a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. The Governor's office however, is more circumspect, saying that, "the town, and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments."

It is not yet known whether the citizens of Ave Maria will be allowed to eat pizza on Friday.


Anonymous said...

Clearly, in the case of a Boosh in its ranks, Catholicism has lowered its entry requirements somewhat...

Craig Y

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, thought you might get a kick out of this.