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


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (2 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (5 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
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 (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (4 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (4 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 (4 comments)
"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 (5 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 (3 comments)
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 (2 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 (7 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 (2 comments)
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 (2 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)

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.