The Catholic Right: Tom Monaghan: The Pizza-man Who Delivers the Dough. (Tenth in a Series)
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 23, 2006 at 01:55:25 PM EST
In this segment, the first of a three-part overview, you will be introduced to Tom Monaghan, a wealthy man determined to change secular society to one more heavily influenced by his brand of ultra-orthodox Catholicism. In subsequent pieces, the specifics of his activities and organizations will be reviewed.
If you do not know who Tom Monaghan is, you should. He is perhaps one of the most influential members of the Catholic Right. An advocate of laissiez-faire economics as well as an ultra-orthodox brand of faith he has advanced those twin agendas by both his actions and his financial muscle.

In order to spread his religious convictions he has personally funded Operation Rescue as well as Fr, Frank Pavone's Priests for Life. Legatus, the ultra-conservative millionaires-only club he founded has reportedly done the same for Opus Dei.

On the business side he is vehemently anti-union,(i) blaming organized Labor for causing the federal budget deficit--a contradictory position to take considering that many middle-class Catholics make up a significant portion of Labor's rank and file. Monaghan has also pumped money into the campaign coffers of the likes of culturally conservative Senators such as Sam Brownback (R-Ks.), Tom Coburn (R-Ok.), and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

As the New York Times recently put it:

Since netting about $1 billion from the 1998 sale of Domino's to Bain Capital, Mr. Monaghan, 69, has become one of the leading philanthropists in the country and the biggest benefactor of conservative Catholic institutions.

In the past eight years, his Ave Maria Foundation, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has donated $140 million to promote conservative Catholic education, media and other organizations, including Detroit-area parochial grade schools, a law school and small regional colleges in Michigan and Nicaragua, along with radio stations and a fellowship group for Catholic business leaders.(ii)

As of 2004, he has given away approximately $450 million to the causes he believes in. And as this sub-series will demonstrate that Mr. Monaghan prefers a society that views ultra-orthodox Catholicism as its moral cornerstone. To that end, secular law would then be subject to a Catholic understanding of Natural Law principles.

The pizza king cum power broker came from humble beginnings. His father died when he was six. Shortly thereafter his mother placed him and his brother in a Catholic orphanage after having trouble raising them. After getting kicked out of a seminary, he then did a stint in the Marines; enrolled in the University of Michigan, but never graduated. He did though acquire a desire "to save souls," a desire that was given a booster shot after reading C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity."

Monaghan started on the path that would lead to the Domino's Pizza empire in 1960 by purchasing a single pizzeria called DomiNick's. By the time of his sale to Bain, Domino's had 6,250 locations throughout the world.

In the next three postings of this series on the Catholic Right, Monaghan's influence will be closely examined. First, will be The Thomas More Law Center, its mission, its faculty, and most of all its legal philosophy. This will include a review of one of the center's lawsuits and how it reveals its members' very theocratic disposition towards government. As part of this review, his experiment at  creating an ultra-orthodox Catholic community from the ground-up will be examined; including the thorny constitutional issues it raises.

The following installment will take a hard look at how Monaghan and others of the Catholic Right are building their own structures of higher education, including the Ave Maria University projects. It is a system designed to educate and prepare new generation of ultra-orthodox Catholics for positions of leadership. As we will see, it is a cause for concern even within the mainstream Catholic colleges and universities.

In the final installment the Monaghan money trail will be examined more closely. This will include a good look at the various Religious Right organizations to which Mr. Monaghan and his affiliated foundations provide vital funding. As part of this overview,
Legatus will also be examined in upcoming posts. Set up by Monaghan, this association is open only to those with a net worth of $4 million or more. Having a bent that is decidedly socially conservative, it feeds money into a whole host of ultra-conservative causes, including lay organizations such as Opus Dei. An agenda that is designed to take the Catholic Church back toward a pre-Vatican II outlook as well as catering to interests of wealthier individuals.

Tom Monaghan has a grand plan to transform our pluralistic society into one that holds everyone to one subjective form of "the truth"--even if you don't agree with that version. Because of both his wealth and his access to political power, he is a man worth watching.

The Catholic Right: A Series, by Frank Cocozzelli :  Part One  Part Two  Part Three   Part Four  Part Five  Part Six   Intermezzo   Part Eight   Part Nine

(i)  Deborah Birnby, "Domino's CEO Uses Company Funds to Finance Cult"The Tech, Volume 111, Number 18, April 9, 1991, Page 5; Link:

(ii)  Hansen, Susan, "Our Lady of Discord," New York Times, July 30, 2006. Link: 95B0C738FDDAE0894DE404482

Mr. Monoghan is a model of hypocritical thinking. He lives in a country that gives him the freedom to worship God as he sees fit. Yet, this man selfishly wishes to transform our society where his norms and his values prevail over all others--including those of many patriotic, mainstream Catholic Americans who do understand and value America's cherished heritage of pluralism.

I cannot help but thinking that men such as Tom Monaghan who claim to be "conservatives," cannot see the inconsistency of wanting government to stay out of the affairs of business yet at the same time call upon it to control our personal values.

And if Mr. Monaghan does understand that inconsistency, that makes  him all the more dangerous to representative democracy.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 08:44:48 AM EST

Thanks again for another excellent installment in your series. Two things-interestingly enough, Tom Monaghan's wife Marge is Lutheran, and he hasn't convinced her to convert. The second was to ask you if you read Damon Linker's new book The Theocons. This book has a lot to say about Father Richard Neuhaus, George Weigel, and their attempts to influence the direction in the American political system.

by khughes1963 on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 03:27:50 PM EST
Thank you.

I plan on reading The Theocons, but I first have to read Kristen Breitweister's book, Wake Up Call, as well as a book that I am profiled in, Stem Cell Wars.

As for Monaghan, wouldn't it be ironic if, while seeking to impose an ultra-orthodox Catholicism morality upon America, he couldn't get his wife to embrace it voluntarily?

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 05:52:18 PM EST

I thought Kristen Breitweiser's book was good at detailing the stonewalling that she and the other 9/11 wives encountered. Kristen's letter to Ann Coulter is well worth reading, and Kristen did an excellent job of replying to Ann Coulter without descending to the meanness and shrillness that is Ann Coulter's stock in trade. I was dismayed to learn that the "Pro-Life" group in Dayton had Coulter as their guest for the Viva la Vita dinner. My parish advertised it in the bulletin. Some protestors showed up to remind Ann of her own words.

by khughes1963 on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 06:21:11 PM EST
She is as vile as they come. I thought that Fred framed her version of Christianty perfectly.

Coulter gives us an important clue as to how some American Christians think: for them it is more of an identity, almost an ethnicity--not a faith.

What they don't get is that faith should (with a few notable exceptions such as Shintoism in World War Two and before in Japan)transcend nationality. And when it doesn't you wind up with an imperialist nation such as Japan as it was until its liberation in 1945.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Sep 25, 2006 at 07:27:09 AM EST

Tom's motto would have to be "The Pizza-state, C'est Moi!"

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Sep 23, 2006 at 06:36:49 PM EST
...because his pizza sure doesn't taste Italian! Actually it has no ethnic taste at all; more like cardboard with marinara jar sauce and cheese on it.  

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Sep 24, 2006 at 02:55:49 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Terror At Planned Parenthood: Facing The Consequences Of The Far Right's Lies
In the wake of Friday's horrific shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, we're hearing calls to deescalate the rhetoric around the......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Progressives Are Taking Up Religious Freedom Day
In the heat of our political moment, we sometimes don't see how our future connects deeply to our past. But the Christian Right does......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Freedom vs. Fear: Restricting Religious Liberty Isn't The Answer To Terrorism
Last week, a community meeting was held in Spotsylvania County, Va., to discuss plans by a group of Muslims who want to relocate and......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Christian Right Electoral Hegemony, Rising in the States
This is a revised, updated and retitled post I did on the long term trend of significant political progress of the Christian Right and......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Who's Been Naughty, Who's Been Nice?: The AFA Explains It All For You
If you're like me, you've been sitting around anxiously awaiting the release of the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers for......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
U.S. Department Of Judeo-Christian Values?: Kasich Proposes New Religious Propaganda Arm
According to some polls, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who believes that ancient Egyptians built......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Scripture Stories: Religious Right Claims About The `Aitken Bible' Don't Hold Up
Tomorrow several conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives plan to hold a public reading of the Aitken Bible on the East Front......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Tallest Statue in the Nation of an Individual
Many a day I drove on I 45 past the statue of Sam Houston.  The monument to the statesman is the largest in the......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Honoring Everyone Who Served: A Veterans Day Reflection
In 1952, a private group sought permission from government officials to erect a large cross atop Mt. Soledad near San Diego. They did it......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
One Million Maniacs?: AFA Attacks Magazine For Highlighting Family Headed By Same-Sex Couple
I have a daughter named Claire who is 21 years old and working her first job in journalism since graduating from college. I'm awfully......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
What Catholic Neo-Confederates Don't Want You To Know About Secession
During the summer of 2013 I wrote several posts about Catholic Neo-Confederates. My purpose was to explain the activities of libertarians such as Tom......
By Frank Cocozzelli (10 comments)
Sex And Common Sense: Texas Public School Reconsiders `Chastity' Speaker
A self-appointed expert on sex and relationships won't speak at an El Paso, Texas, high school - for now.Jason Evert runs an outfit called......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Two Trials that Impacted American Religion
Silent movie, Birth of a Nation, became the first blockbuster screen phenomena.  Civil Rights groups deplored the production and sought to ban it.  It......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
The Francis Trajectory.
The recent dust-up over the meeting between Pope Francis and culture warrior Kim Davis has caused the Pontiff's stock to fall somewhat among liberals.......
By Frank Cocozzelli (11 comments)
Taking Care Of Business: Religious Right Group Plans `Religious Liberty' Ratings For Companies
My inbox this morning contained a press release from the American Family Association (AFA). The Tupelo, Miss.-based Religious Right group has exciting news: It......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (2 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.