The Pizza-man Delivers; the Thomas More Law Center (Eleventh in a Series)
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Sep 30, 2006 at 03:30:18 PM EST

Tom Monaghan the pizza dough man has delivered us the The Thomas More Law Center, its mission, its members, and most of all, its legal philosophy.  And as we will see, the center's lawsuits reveal a decidedly  theocratic disposition towards government.
The Thomas More Law Center describes its mission as "...a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. Our purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square." This sense of legal militancy is affirmed by its logo which features a sword superimposed over a cross surrounded by American Flag bunting and a bald eagle.


[image : Tom Monaghan, detail excerpt from American Fundamentalists by artist, musician, and activist Joel Pelletier ( see link for entire painting ) ]

The TMLC galaxy is a "who's who" of the stars of the Religious  (and Catholic) Right. Its Advisory Board includes Opus Dei member Bowie Kuhn as well as Alan Keyes. The Board of Legal Review includes Gerald V. Bradley while its faculty consists of such notable players of the Right such as Robert H. Bork and Richard Thompson TMLC web sits constantly flashes praises from the likes of James Kennedy, William Donohue and Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa). All in all, TMLC reflects the far-Right views
of many of its Federalist Society members.

TMLC makes no bones that its members are engaged in a culture war against the supposedly ungodly:

Our ministry was inspired by the recognition that the issues of the cultural war being waged across America, issues such as abortion, pornography, school prayer, and the removal of the Ten Commandments from municipal and school buildings, are not being decided by elected legislatures, but by the courts.

The notable cases it has been involved includes the Religious Right's unsuccessful intelligent designcase of Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. as well as litigation involving the Mount Soledad Cross (apparently, having no concern if Jewish or Muslim veterans would object to a giant 29 foot cross, sitting astride a 14 foot pedestal over a federally-owned military cemetery). Another matter of litigation that will be explored below in greater detail is Catholic League v. City of San Francisco.

HB 1191,the South Dakota anti-abortion bill that was primarily designed to reach the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And as cultural warrior institution, it clearly identifies whom it sees as the enemy:

These court decisions, largely insulated from the democratic process, have been inordinately influenced by legal advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which seek to systematically subvert the religious and moral foundations of our nation. Recent examples of the federal courts' pivotal role in the cultural war are the cases of Stenberg v. Carhart in which the U.S. Supreme Court held Nebraska's ban on partial birth abortion unconstitutional, in effect nullifying similar bans in 30 other states and Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe which prohibited students from leading stadium crowds in prayer before high school football games.
> Quite a self-introduction.

Links to Tom Monaghan
Without Monaghan, there would be no TMLC. As an article linked on the center's web site states:

Founded six years ago with seed money from conservative Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, the Thomas More Law Center is named after the patron saint of lawyers...
Monaghan, who founded Domino's Pizza, footed the law center's operating costs for a number of years, shelling out as much as $1.5 million annually. Now the firm operates on its own at Domino's Farms, supported by 50,000 donors, Thompson said.

Beyond this initial donation, between 2001 and 2004 Monaghan's Ave Maria Foundation provided an additional $4,099,712.00. To say that Monaghan has a stake in TMLC's success would be an understatement.

The Waiting Game
The afore-mentioned case of Catholic League v. City of San Francisco tells us a great deal about what TMLC truly stands for: a slide towards theocracy.

The controversy began when Cardinal William Levada, the current head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith  (formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition) directed Catholic Charities of San Francisco not to place children up for adoption in homosexual households. On March 14, 2006 the San Francisco's Board of Supervisors issued non-binding resolution that tersely called upon Cardinal Levada to withdraw his directive.

But TMLC wanted to make a point. Acting upon the non-binding resolution, the center brought on litigation that could have made a case built upon possible state interference with the free practice of religion, instead it raised the Carlist specter of imposing ultra-orthodox Catholic theology as the moral basis for secular standards of law.

While there are variations of this political philosophy two of its common hallmarks should stand out to those who are concerned about theocratic trends in the world. First, it sees ultra-orthodox Catholicism as the cornerstone of the state. Secondly, sovereignty is vested not with the people, but with a monarch, who in turn is answerable only to the Catholic Church.  Whether it be full-blown Carlists or those whose political vision is only influenced by it, these are the two commonly held themes that appear in their various pronouncements.

Carlist philosophy is readily apparent in both Monaghan's motives as well as those of TMLC. And the belief of orthodox Catholicism being the moral cornerstone of our secular society can be seen in a plain reading of TMLC's complaint.

For example Paragraph 19 of the Statement of Facts reads:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of great depravity, Catholic tradition has always declared that are intrinsically disordered.They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved (boldface added).

Starting with the second sentence, Paragraph 20 of the Statement of Facts reads:

The common good requires that laws recognize, promote, and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would not only mean the approval of deviant behavior, with the consequence of making it model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity.  The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself. (boldface and italics added)

The highlighted language of paragraphs 19 and 20 go beyond Catholic Charities having to be involved in adoptions that run contrary to religious beliefs. Instead, TMLC's litigation brought on behalf of the Catholic League of San Francisco demands that a subjective truth for some be proclaimed as an objective truth for all. Their long-term goal is not about relief from having to compromise Catholic principles of faith, but instead to impose Catholic natural law principles as the cornerstone of American jursiprudence. Such an arrogant view even fails to consider that in our value pluralistic society there are even other interpretations of natural law worth consideration.

Currently, such arguments are far from being the law of the land.  But today's objective view may not be tomorrow's. And that is why Monaghan is investing his wealth into building communities with educational systems designed to churn out business leaders, elected officials, lawyers and most of all judges who will see an ultra-orthodox view of natural law as the basis for American Jurisprudence. For Monaghan and others of similar thought, they believe time is on their side. And that's why they are playing a waiting game; one where the winners achieve theocracy.

And it is that vision for such an educational system that will be explored in the next installment of this series.

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  Part Ten




Display:
It is sad to that some of us who are free to practice are our Catholicism are not content that others enjoy the very same freedom to worship as they see fit. What Mr. Monaghan and his cohorts intend on doing is legislating a highly subjective morality that other Americans--including most Catholics--do not follow out of choice.

His rememdy to to such disagreement is simple: control the judiciary so as to remove that freedom of choice.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sat Sep 30, 2006 at 03:38:20 PM EST

I'm wondering where the American Bar Association stands on the Thomas More law center?  Is it accredited?  

by cyncooper on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 06:00:30 PM EST
Parent
TMLC is not a law school, but more akin to an ultra-orthodox Catholic Right version of the ACLU. But unlike the ACLU, which is concerned with what is constitutional, TMLC is only concerned with establishing legal precedent based upon strict Catholic notions of natural law.

And that proves that they are wrong about the ACLU, which actually supported the right of the organizers of the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade to exclude gay Irish groups.

As for for ABA approval, you're thinking of the Ave Maria Law School which will be examined in the next installment of the CR. And while the school was fully accredited by the ABA in the shortest time possible, as we shall see, there are problems.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 07:04:37 PM EST
Parent

Yes, it's Ave I was thinking of.  I look forward to reading that.

by cyncooper on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 04:31:02 AM EST
Parent




Thanks again for another good installment on the Catholic Right.

Kathy

by khughes1963 on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 10:05:12 PM EST

Kathy, if you were the only person reading these posts, it would still be worth writing it!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Mon Oct 02, 2006 at 07:11:08 AM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (18 comments)
Religious Freedom is Not Just for Christian Conservatives
Religious freedom is one of the central issues of our time. Arguably, it a central issue in any time, and every time, at least......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Dallas and its Historic Connection to the Religious Right
There has been a recent rash of demonstrations outside of the famous First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The current pastor appears to be......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
Christmas Broadcasting Traditions
It is time to once again note the preposterous-but-malevolent claims that there is a War on Christmas. The annual revival of this repulsive anti-Semitic......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Steve Bannon: Alt-Right Anti-Catholic or Political Opportunist?
In March 2016 Trump campaign strategist and CEO Steve Bannon made a comment that could be construed as being blatantly anti-Catholic. He accused the......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (10 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Some thoughts for a Sunday post-election reflection:
Emancipation, Reconstruction, Redemption, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow The struggles of the Civil Rights Movement took us two steps forward Now the "Second......
By Chip Berlet (0 comments)

"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 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 (5 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 (1 comment)
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 (11 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)

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.