Strange things have been built in Florida swamps, like Disney World and that weird upside down house near the Convention Center in Orlando...
But Domino Pizza's founder Thomas S. Monaghan's plan to build a "Catholic city" in south Florida may be the strangest idea yet. The Pizza magnate envisions a college and a town surrounding it built upon Catholic principles... nowhere to get an abortion, nowhere to buy or watch porn, and nowhere to get birth control, not even condoms.
He calls it "God's will." Civil libertarians call it unconstitutional. Others just call it crazy.
According to CNN, "...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."
It's amusing to think that Monaghan's Domino's empire was built upon the dollars of horny porn-and-condom-buying college kids.
Set on 5,000 acres, he envisions a European-style town, a cathedral, a college, and the world's tallest crucifix, towering 65 feet into the heavens. At least 11,000 homes are planned.
While homes will be owned outright by residents, all commercial real estate will remain the property of Monaghan, who can thus control by leases what items a business may offer for sale.
"I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines," Monaghan told a Newsweek interviewer.
Gov. Jeb Bush, at the site's groundbreaking earlier this month, lauded the development as a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. Bush, a convert to Catholicism, did not speak specifically to the proposed restrictions.
"While the governor does not personally believe in abortion or pornography, 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," Russell Schweiss, a spokesman for the governor, said Tuesday.
Frances Kissling, president of the liberal Washington-based Catholics for a Free Choice, likened Monaghan's concept to Islamic fundamentalism.
"This is un-American," Kissling said. "I don't think in a democratic society you can have a legally organized township that will seek to have any kind of public service whatsoever and try to restrict the constitutional rights of citizens."
I'm guessing there won't be any Masonic lodges allowed either, since Pope Benedict has said that Catholic Masons are in a state of "grave sin."
The artwork is a painting by Chris Chun called "Pizza with Jesus."
Thomas Monaghan | Domino's Pizza | Catholic City | Ave Maria | Freemasonry | South Florida