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


Great job! You guys perform great blog, and still have some great posts. Sustain the good do the job. How to make bubble bath

by mania0007 on Wed May 14, 2014 at 04:14:02 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Short Takes
Pando Daily:  Journalist Mark Ames has published a must-read story about how Reason,the flagship magazine of libertarianism, published a special issue in 1976 promoting......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
GOP Leader Questions Candidate About Hate Group That Advocates Death Squads - Updated
Cross-posted from The Huffington Post. The head of Maryland's Republican Party, Joe Cluster, has called local candidate Michael Peroutka to the woodshed for a......
By jhutson (3 comments)
Short Takes
Bilgrimage:  Bill Lindsey discusses "an outstanding series of articles" by Frank Cocozzelli here at Talk to Action, originally posted in 2007, about the close......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 1)
In light of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby -- which exempts, closely held corporations that invoke "sincerely held......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 2)
The following is the second installment of a three part sub-series regarding the influence of non-mainstream, ultra-traditional Catholics now sitting on the US Supreme......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
An Opus Focus on SCOTUS? (Part 3)
"The reaction of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Access Denied: The Religious Right Opens Up A New Front On Its War Against Birth Control
Some commentators continue to insist that the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was no big deal. It's a......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
William Barber Takes Us to Church at Netroots Nation
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina gave a rousing, perhaps historic keynote speech at Netroots......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"
As I introduce my new Center Against Religious Extremism report Hobby Lobby Case Linked To Secretive National Prayer Breakfast Group, "The Family"), In 2010......
By Bruce Wilson (2 comments)
Lessons in Taking the Long View in the Long Form
Historian Leo P. Ribuffo recently published a wise and erudite essay at History News Network. In it he discusses trends among historians regarding how......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Missing Pieces of the Story of Sun Myung Moon
The recent coverage of the life and death of Richard Mellon Scaife, a transformational figure in recent American history, was pretty underwhelming. (Fortunately, our......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
When I Won One Over My Old (Former) Friend Jerry Falwell
July 13th was the anniversary of our friend Jerry Sloan's confrontation on live television with Moral Majority founder, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. This......
By JerrySloan (1 comment)
Vatican Defrocks A Bishop Over Sexual Abuse - But Not Finn.
Pope Francis recently indicated he is serious about ending child sex abuse and cover-ups by Catholic prelates by defrocking a former apostolic nuncio (a......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Bob Jones University and the Real Roots of the Religious Right
Historian Randall Balmer notes writing in Christian Ethics Today, that the real beginnings of the Religious Right lies not in 1973 Roe v. Wade,......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Becket Or Wreck It?: Little-Known Religious Right Group At Heart Of Hobby Lobby Case
The Supreme Court's recent (and horrendous) ruling in the Hobby Lobby case dealing with workers' access to contraceptives has turned the spotlight on the......
By Rob Boston (0 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 (1 comment)
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 (3 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 (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
A Wiccan Witch In Salem
Since it's only two weeks from Halloween, I made my usual foray into Christian Right Country to find out what their plans are for this Halloween. I don't know where to be sad or......
irishwitch (0 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.