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My Town, My Rules
February 28, 2006 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Say what you want about Tom Monaghan, he thinks big. He built a big company, he's got a big agenda , he wanted to build a big Jesus, and now he's building a whole new town. That would be the town of Ave Maria, Florida, -- home to Ave Maria University, , but that's not all - welcome to America's newest mini-theocracy: "You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town." aturally, this has run him afoul of Florida's ACLU.
posted by contessa (101 comments total)

 
Sure sounds like a stompin' town.
posted by Jimbob at 4:27 PM on February 28, 2006


Coming soon: Paganville.
posted by Artw at 4:29 PM on February 28, 2006


Get the door. It's theocracy!
posted by wfrgms at 4:32 PM on February 28, 2006


Why doesn't he just move to Utah? It'd be cheaper.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:32 PM on February 28, 2006


I can't think of any other site that needs to be nuked from orbit. (Y'know, just to be sure.)
posted by John of Michigan at 4:33 PM on February 28, 2006


I can see it now. The towns people will gather together on Saturdays to burn books and then go home and watch Direct TV Porn. I wonder how many pedo-priests they will employ. Paganville sounds much more fun/safe.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:34 PM on February 28, 2006


Glad I went with Papa Johns tonight. I'm sure there's a joke to be made in there, but I'll leave it open for someone else.
posted by luftmensch at 4:35 PM on February 28, 2006


Some more here on his grand plans and his huge ass church -- the largest Catholic church in the land designed to look like a giant Pope-hat.

My first post and it has a spelling mistake, argh.
posted by contessa at 4:36 PM on February 28, 2006


Why doesn't he just move to Utah? It'd be cheaper.

Hail Marys have never been real big in Utah. Besides, their state legislature just defeated an anti-Darwin public school bill because the Mormon legislators (or some of them, at least) thought that Intelligent Design is contrary to Mormon beliefs, and that "God does not have an argument with science." That sort of thing would probably not go over well in Ave Maria Town.

Plus, Monaghan is from Michigan, so he's required to move to Florida at some point.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:37 PM on February 28, 2006


I wonder what Pat Buchanan will say when a class 5 hurricane wipes the town out.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:38 PM on February 28, 2006


There, but for the grace of Al Roker, go I.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:40 PM on February 28, 2006


Perfect - wonder how many fundies we can fit in there, and then just build a big wall?
posted by OhPuhLeez at 4:41 PM on February 28, 2006


Someone should remind Mr. Monaghan that in order to commit a moral action, one needs a choice. There's no merit in virtue if it is achieved by the impossibility of vice.
posted by clevershark at 4:44 PM on February 28, 2006


"I wonder what Pat Buchanan will say when a class 5 hurricane wipes the town out."

The papists had it coming.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:44 PM on February 28, 2006


Would adults be forced to live in Ave Maria Town?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:45 PM on February 28, 2006


good. i applaud any effort to get all these freaks together in one tightly-packed place instead of spreading them all over the country.
posted by wakko at 4:50 PM on February 28, 2006


"You won't be able to buy a Playboy or Hustler magazine in Ave Maria Town. We're going to control the cable television that comes in the area. There is not going to be any pornographic television in Ave Maria Town. If you go to the drug store and you want to buy the pill or the condoms or contraception, you won't be able to get that in Ave Maria Town."

"Oh and democracy?" added Monaghan. "You can forget that too."
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:53 PM on February 28, 2006


Let the Godniks have their Coventry. If it's all private property, then they can do what they like with it. (But see Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946).)
posted by Scooter at 4:53 PM on February 28, 2006


mr_crash_davis writes "'I wonder what Pat Buchanan will say when a class 5 hurricane wipes the town out.'

"The papists had it coming."


Man, oh man.

First of all, I think y'all mean "Pat Robertson".

Second, I'm pretty sure Pat Buchanan is a Roman Catholic.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:54 PM on February 28, 2006


*snort* This Monaghan fellow doesn't understand human psychology. Especially if he thinks preventing people from having these naughty things will make them less lascivious. Give it a year, that place'll be Bootyville USA.
posted by sidereal at 5:01 PM on February 28, 2006


I think it's commendable. They think all towns suck so they're going to make their own town and move to it.

Awesome!

Although the pills/condoms/contraception thing? Ugh. That rubs my ickiness meter over limit (mixed metaphors R us).
posted by Firas at 5:05 PM on February 28, 2006


Well, awesome for those who make a choice to move there, not so awesome for their kids and those born in that town.
posted by Firas at 5:06 PM on February 28, 2006


Give it a year, that place'll be Bootyville USA.

It's true. Just look at Boston. They used to not sell contraceptives to single people, and they used to not have the internet or cable TV at all. Now look at it: Bootyville USA.

Of course, Boston wasn't a private town inhabited only by people who moved there expressly because they wanted the restrictions . . . or was it?
posted by JekPorkins at 5:07 PM on February 28, 2006


Right now, I'm being fellated by six cable TV channels from my private compound in Boston.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:09 PM on February 28, 2006




Wow, I'm never buying another Domino's pizza.
posted by Floach at 5:13 PM on February 28, 2006


More and more like the Handmaid's Tale every day...
posted by Zinger at 5:13 PM on February 28, 2006


Wow, I'm never buying another Domino's pizza.

I never had this problem prior to hearing about this, but from now on I am helping others who haven't discovered actual pizza by suggesting they go someplace else, too.
posted by wakko at 5:17 PM on February 28, 2006


wouldn't they have been better off in south carolina?
posted by jessica at 5:20 PM on February 28, 2006


I'm just trying to get my head around the idea of a private citizen owning a town. Surely, by-laws and regulations would be needed to enforce lack of porn and contraception. Surely, such laws could only be created by a democratically elected local government. You can't just buy up a patch of land, call yourself the mayor, and create laws...can you? Is he going to run for re-election? Are people allowed to move there and vote him out, turning Ave Maria into a den of iniquity?
posted by Jimbob at 5:23 PM on February 28, 2006


'Ave Maria Town' sounds like a place from a poorly localized sega rpg.
posted by ulotrichous at 5:24 PM on February 28, 2006


Can he secede from the Union too?
posted by papakwanz at 5:25 PM on February 28, 2006


Jimbob raises a good point. Let's get a crew of Mefites together to move to Ave Maria town and just fuck in the streets all day.
posted by papakwanz at 5:26 PM on February 28, 2006


Let's get a crew of Mefites together to move to Ave Maria town and just fuck in the streets all day.

I'm game if you are.
posted by Jimbob at 5:27 PM on February 28, 2006


This story's begging for a folk song as per www.backyardgardener.com/loowit/song/song135.html.

Tommy don' wan' no humanism in here.
No porn no condoms no foolin' roun' here.
I don't care what America allow
No fun in Ave Maria Town.
Tommy don' wan' no pluralism in here.

Oh, sing it.
posted by basilwhite at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2006


It would be great if it became the hot spot for retired gay couples.
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:31 PM on February 28, 2006


I'm just trying to get my head around the idea of a private citizen owning a town.

Disney World. From Wikipedia: "The land within Walt Disney World Resort is part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allows the Disney corporation to exercise quasi-governmental powers over the area."
posted by JekPorkins at 5:32 PM on February 28, 2006


jimbob -- you'd think so. I tried to find a reference online but from what I understand (and I guess you'll just have to take my word for it - I actually get most of my news about this from the local paper, which requires registration, and fuck'em because that paper sucks), for the first 5 or so years the town will be run by a board appointed by the developers, which essentially means Tom Monahan / his ilk, until everything is 'in place' and then there will be an elected board of some kind. So I guess they will lay the groundwork for all the loonyness.
posted by contessa at 5:33 PM on February 28, 2006


Whatever happened to that group of people who wanted to organize "like minded Christians" and migrate en mass to South Carolina and take it over by sheer numbers, democratically?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:33 PM on February 28, 2006


I'm just trying to get my head around the idea of a private citizen owning a town.

In 1989 Kim Basinger paid $20-million to buy the entire town of Braselton, Ga., about 60 miles from Atlanta. Four years later, she was sued for backing out of a film she had agreed to star in, and was forced to sell Braselton for just $1-million.

Ouch
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:36 PM on February 28, 2006


Replace Jesus with Mickey and you've got Celebration, FL.
posted by bardic at 5:39 PM on February 28, 2006


My gut feeling is that this is, and should be, perfectly legal. If he owns the land, why would he need laws to tell people what to do? He can just say, this is my property, if you want to continue living here, you'll do as I say.

He's sort of assuming the role of a very large, landlord. You could only move there if you agreed to his rules, and he would only allow you to continue living there if you followed his rules. Much like a landlord might forbid waterbeds, or pets. My landlord doesn't need a law to tell me not to keep a dog, they just need to make it part of my lease. I assume he could do the same.

It's not that unlike a planned community at the end of the day. It's just a planned community with a stronger worldview than just liking nice lawns.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:40 PM on February 28, 2006


Not sure if all can read this (my boyfriend could, and he doesn't have a login to the paper):
The Ave Maria special district will be allowed to construct and maintain roadways, bridges, street lighting, traffic signals, sewer systems and water plants. The districts would be able to provide public safety services, but could not exercise police power.

Under Florida law, the governing body of a special district is made up of a board of supervisors. The five members of a board are elected by landowners within the district, based on one vote for each one acre of land owned.

Since all the land in the Ave Maria District is owned by Barron Collier Cos., it would have the power to elect the board of supervisors.
posted by contessa at 5:44 PM on February 28, 2006


You could only move there if you agreed to his rules, and he would only allow you to continue living there if you followed his rules.

Maybe true if he's just leasing your house to you. What if you buy land there?

Surely you can't refuse to sell someone a property based on, say, their religious beliefs or their use of contraception.

And once I've bought my piece of land in Ave Maria, what right would he then have to stop me setting up a condom stand on my front lawn, unless he has the powers of government?
posted by Jimbob at 5:45 PM on February 28, 2006


From contessa's last link: Yet far from being a new "break", the huge chapel's retro style of the 1960s is but another example of the persistent disregard for history that has characterized most church architecture of the past half-century: in other words, outdated "novelty"

Too true. I recall a Catholic church near the house of one of my middle school friends (built around the early '80s) that was a particularly galling exemplar of the whole modernist trend. It looked like a giant flywheel gear, and we eventually began calling it "Our Lady of the Unidentified Flying Object."
posted by the_bone at 5:47 PM on February 28, 2006


At least they'll be safe from the roving gangs of American thugs who constantly prey upon white, heterosexual Catholics. I'm glad Mr. Monaghan has the bravery to do something about this horrid problem.
posted by bardic at 5:50 PM on February 28, 2006


I don't get it. If he wants to do it, let him make his own bubble. Don't we all strive to live among like-minded people?

His rules suck, but, well, they're not mine.
posted by diastematic at 5:59 PM on February 28, 2006


Here's some good news, at least: Tom Monaghan no longer receives any revenue from Domino's. He sold his entire stake in 1998.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:03 PM on February 28, 2006


I live 25 miles north of there. Can't wait to get some of those "We're Gay and We're Here to Stay" bumper stickers and plaster them around town.
heh, heh. I know. I won't go to heaven. heh,heh.
posted by notreally at 6:05 PM on February 28, 2006


You could only move there if you agreed to his rules, and he would only allow you to continue living there if you followed his rules.

Well, his rules, plus the rules of the city, county, and state the house is in, plus the rules of the goold ol' USA. As landlords know, there are about a hundred million of these rules.

You can't do anything you want on your private land. Sorry, but you can't. You still have to obey the laws, even in your own house. If he tries to refuse to rent houses to people based on their religion, he is going to run into trouble. Why anyone who hasn't drunk the cool-aid would want to live there, I can't fathom. Also, the ACLU guy makes a good point, which is that non-residents can go there (say, to do business or visit family) and while they are there, they should be able to have an expectation that they can get their prescriptions filled, receive medical treament, etc.

Also Tucker's defense of this is "A little diversity in this country is not a bad thing."?? I think he needs to look up 'diversity'.
posted by jlub at 6:05 PM on February 28, 2006


jlub, I think this perfectly in keeping with a goal of diversity. True tolerance includes tolerating groups that want to isolate themselves, like the Amish or the residents of Mr. Monaghan's town.

I think we could use a few more people choosing to impose their beliefs on themselves and those who choose to follow them, rather than using the law to do so.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:13 PM on February 28, 2006


Worst. Catholic. Ever.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:16 PM on February 28, 2006


I got a friend in Florida who says this place is in TOTAL GATOR land. Hottest place in Florida, swampy, far away from anything--isolated. She says they call that part of Florida, "Alligator Alley" and that housing developments have already failed. Maybe he should have named it PURGATORY instead of Ave Maria;)

I still remember the Glass Cathedral "Hot House" idea, he was going to build a totally glass cathedral down there, Imagine the air conditioning bills! Anybody know if this was nixed or not?

http://www.cruxnews.com/articles/crux-02april04.html
posted by Budge at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2006


The Amish really don't come close to separating themselves in the fashion Monaghan seems to want to. I used to live near some Amish enclaves, and they would come in on Saturday to sell produce and crafts. Which is to say, there's nothing wrong with self-selecting your social and/or religious group, but don't expect a dispensation from having to follow county, state, and federal laws like the rest of us. And don't expect individual rights of others to disappear. Simple as that.

Shorter: What jlub said.
posted by bardic at 6:19 PM on February 28, 2006


(with apologies to Mel Gibson)
posted by joe lisboa at 6:24 PM on February 28, 2006


bardic, the Amish DO get dispensation from the law and there's no law requiring the selling of pornography or birth control as far as I know.

The only law he might run afoul of is fair housing laws, but I don't see anywhere that he requires that the people living there be Catholic.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:25 PM on February 28, 2006


More and more like the Handmaid's Tale every day...

So where's the wild bordello scene?
posted by telstar at 6:44 PM on February 28, 2006


Replace Jesus with Mickey and you've got Celebration, FL.

If Jesus with L. Ron Hubbard you've got Clearwater, FL.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:47 PM on February 28, 2006


..you replace..
posted by doctor_negative at 6:47 PM on February 28, 2006


Here's hoping someone takes the same idea and builds Allahville, and then Zen City. Zen City would be pretty cool--every street sign would say, "Zen City Limit--Come Back Again."



posted by fandango_matt at 6:51 PM on February 28, 2006


I take a positive view and applaud this development. It means that some thousands of people will relocate there and NOT live where they presently do live, thus making the area they left a much saner place for those poor lost souls left behind.

I wonder about the school system, though. Will they teach science or just creationism? As for stroke mags, most people I know have them mailed in plain wrappers, so there may be a sneaky guy here and there still getting his jollies.

Will masturbation be outlawed?
posted by Postroad at 6:56 PM on February 28, 2006


A smart and enterprising person would buy property in Ave Marie Town and sell condoms, birth control pills, pornography, cable television and sex toys--seriously, how's Mr. JesusFreak gonna stop you?
posted by fandango_matt at 7:02 PM on February 28, 2006


Yay for the return of puritanism!
posted by poorlydrawnplato at 7:03 PM on February 28, 2006


If masturbation is outlawed only wankers will...

ah fuck it
posted by Jimbob at 7:12 PM on February 28, 2006


Actually, I'm looking up some stuff on the Amish now. I know for a fact that if they commit a crime they can be arrested like anyone else. Here, they don't pay taxes if they're self-employed, but do pay them if they work outside the community. Interesting.

But c'mon--the Amish isolated themselves a long time ago, and their numbers are thinning over time. The idea of a Catholic cult in the swamp is amusing to me, and indeed, Monaghan should set up the community he wants to, within existing laws and requirements. America has a healthy history of communal experiments (Millbrook, Oneida) but this just doesn't strike me as an attempt to better themselves, just to cement the already insular lives they already have.

Privately owned != abscence of local authority and Constitutional rights.
posted by bardic at 7:14 PM on February 28, 2006


Maybe true if he's just leasing your house to you. What if you buy land there?

Surely you can't refuse to sell someone a property based on, say, their religious beliefs or their use of contraception.

No but you can refuse to sell land to ANYONE. It goes something like this...

He owns all the land and leases it out to you to live in a house or run a market. In the lease agreement he says, "I can terminate this agreement and revoke your lease with X days notice without reason or cause." Where X is the smallest amount of days required by Florida law to evict someone (varies from state to state, 3 days, 7 days, 30 days, whatever). The idea is he can kick you out of his property if he doesnt like what you're doing. It goes beyond just religious views, if he doesn't like what you said about his mother he could kick you out. There are actually towns in Utah, northern Arizona, and now Texas that are run like this by Mormon fundamentalists.
posted by SirOmega at 7:34 PM on February 28, 2006


Replace L. Ron Hubbard with mathowie and you have Metafilter, .com
posted by arialblack at 7:35 PM on February 28, 2006


No but you can refuse to sell land to ANYONE.

Now that's fair enough. But, to get semantic, I wouldn't call that a town. I don't know what I would call it, but "town", to me, implies a bunch of people owning residential, commerical and other land in a geographic area. I would describe this more as a dispersed hotel.
posted by Jimbob at 7:48 PM on February 28, 2006


doctor_negative: If (you replace) Jesus with L. Ron Hubbard you've got Clearwater, FL.

No more so than you've got Los Angeles.
posted by ?! at 8:06 PM on February 28, 2006


But, to get semantic, I wouldn't call that a town. I don't know what I would call it,

A compound?
posted by MikeKD at 8:07 PM on February 28, 2006


But, to get semantic, I wouldn't call that a town.

I would. If it acts like a town and functions like a town, it's a town, and the de-facto government of that town should be forced to provide all of the constitutional liberties, restrictions, and guarantees that any local government must abide by.

If you want to keep pornographic television and contraception out of your life, the place you do this is your front door, not your city or your pseudo-city carefully crafted to avoid freedom. Spice-TV and birth control pills won't wander into your house like raccoons; you have to invite them in. If you don't like them, don't invite them in.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:21 PM on February 28, 2006


How very Snow Crash.
posted by 235w103 at 8:31 PM on February 28, 2006


Wow, I'm never buying another Domino's pizza.

I don't think he actually has any interest in Domino's anymore, so perhaps still boycott them for crappy pizza?
posted by gyc at 8:43 PM on February 28, 2006


there's one good thing about monaghan ... he doesn't own any tigers

how long must we suffer?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:03 PM on February 28, 2006


Man, I'd love to be the drug dealer and pimp for that town. All those repressed freaky-deaky peeps? Oh, lordy, it'd make me a brazillionaire.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 PM on February 28, 2006


Man, I'd love to be the drug dealer and pimp for that town.

One of two already covered by Mary-Louise Parker.
posted by ericb at 9:12 PM on February 28, 2006


Sorry.
We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States.


WTF?

Is Showtime run by retards? What in the hell do they gain by blocking access? I've seen some seriously stupid things done on the web, but blocking access to the program description for Weeds has got to be ranking up in my personal top ten.

Hell, the very idea of blocking non-USA residents from the Showtime site is so fucking stupid that I swear I just lost IQ points by virtue of reading their silly-assed excuse.

NB: Showtime appears on Canuck cable television. But, hey, can't access the site!

Matthew Blank, Chairman & CEO of Showtime, eats raw babies.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 PM on February 28, 2006


five fresh fish writes "Matthew Blank, Chairman & CEO of Showtime, eats raw babies."

Oh come on now... surely not raw?!
posted by clevershark at 9:44 PM on February 28, 2006


The irony being that with global warming, and the subsequent rise of water, and it will rise folks, Florida will be 2 feet under water and his dumbass town will be even more irrelevant.
posted by Timberman at 10:14 PM on February 28, 2006


More and more like the Handmaid's Tale every day...

Is there no bomb in Gilead?
posted by rob511 at 10:16 PM on February 28, 2006



posted by unmake at 11:39 PM on February 28, 2006


"To the extent that you open it up to the outside world, the rights of private property ownership become circumscribed by the rights of the people who use the facilities. Now, that‘s not me, Tucker, that‘s the U.S. Supreme Court."

Makes sense. After all, if the government can have your house torn down to build a shopping mall, doesn't that mean they're responsible for our access to consumer goods?
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:04 AM on March 1, 2006


When he built that giant trash monster that ended up going on a killing spree, he just went too far. It killed Kubiac for God's sake!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:39 AM on March 1, 2006


No, condoms, eh? None at all? That's a great idea and I look forward to the fucking nightmare that place will be in twenty years.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:30 AM on March 1, 2006


Late on this thread, but might toss a few words in as this is something I know quite a bit about.

I live within walking distance from the current Ave Maria campus in Ypsilanti, MI. Plus my parents are big Catholic types and Mr. Monaghan paid most of the money out of his own pocket for their parish to be built, and he does not attend or try to control their church- it was mostly just a nice gesture. He also lives (or lived?) just down the street from my grandparents, although I never heard any good neighborhood gossip about him.

I think overall his heart is in the right place, but he always has bizarre grandiose ideas for building things, as anyone around Ann Arbor knows from his "leaning tower of pizza" outside Domino's headquarters that sits next to his buffalo farm and petting zoo. I'm sure that tendency is a big part of what transformed a simple build of a private college campus to building a whole town to go along with it.

Most of the students know how weird he is and take it with a grain of salt, but end up there anyways because of their sheltered Catholic upbrining where the parents push their kids to attend these type of places. Oh and for the record- I don't know a single Catholic who believes in creationism, whoever threw out the creationism mention upthread. All the Ave Maria kids I've talked to were pretty level-headed, and our only major disagreement seemed to be on abortion.

Anyhow, I guess time will tell whether building them a whole town is a worthwile undertaking. But as long as they're playing by the book, I say let them do it.
posted by p3t3 at 6:36 AM on March 1, 2006


Lets all pitch in and open MeccaBurb right next door.
posted by furtive at 6:50 AM on March 1, 2006


First generation, the people who choose to move there, no problems. Second generation, the children who were not given a choice, they'll be the ones to watch. A theocracy-by-choice is fine by me. Theocracy-by-force? Should be fun to watch their pretty town implode.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:52 AM on March 1, 2006


The irony being that with global warming, and the subsequent rise of water, and it will rise folks, Florida will be 2 feet under water and his dumbass town will be even more irrelevant.

I'm sure he's convinced that by that time everyone in town will be so blessed and holy they'll be able to walk on the water.

Man, talking theology makes me want a ham-on-bagel sandwich.
posted by mephron at 7:17 AM on March 1, 2006


I used to be an area supervisor for Dominos Pizza back in the day when Monaghan actually ran the thing. On of our greatest challenges was trying to be profitable with that moron for an owner. I never met anyone at the company who didn't think Monaghan was an unfortunate liability.

Letting him build his own town is probably for the best. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to find out those who have been required to suffer his pernicious idiocy have been pushing him in this direction all along.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:35 AM on March 1, 2006


Gosh I can't wait for this to catch on with other entrepreneurs!

Trump City: No graven images will be allowed except for images of The Donald. At noon all city employees will kneel and genuflect to his hair.

Martha Stewartburg: No paper napkins or plastic flowers will be sold within town limits. Anyone seen attempting to smuggle in boxed cake mix will have their property seized.

McDonald's Happy Land: No green vegetables. Ever.

Hustlerville: There will be an age, weight, and breast size restriction on all females. No ladies garments other than thongs will be sold. Any woman caught wearing a skirt less than 7 inches above the knee or a shoe with less than 4 inches in height will be escorted out of town.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:18 AM on March 1, 2006


I think Father Grigori should run Ravenholm however he wants.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:26 AM on March 1, 2006


I think Father Grigori should run Ravenholm however he wants.

And I'm going to be the one makin' it rich by sellin' 'im thousands of loose saw blades!
posted by NationalKato at 8:57 AM on March 1, 2006


Yes, this is funny. And very Neal Stephenson, from Snow Crash to Diamond Age. But at the same time, these "you can only live here if you are Catholic" communities aren't funny at all, and they're eerily reminiscent of the Levittown racism issues. From the linked article: Levitt himself was Jewish and clearly saw no reason to bar Jewish and Catholic vets from a chance at this new American Dream. With encouragement from the FHA, he did find plenty of reasons to maintain the restrictions barring African-Americans and people of Puerto-Rican origin from buying a home in Levittown. The deed to each of the original Long Island homes included a covenant barring such families from ever buying the home. If an owner later decided to sell his home to a "Negro family," that owner could be sued by his neighbors. This was all perfectly legal until 1948 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such covenants unconstitutional. Levitt fought the Court's ruling for years afterward, culminating in a titanic battle in the late 1950s. Levitt held a press conference in New Jersey, insisting that his new Levittown there would be restricted to whites only. He claimed, perversely, that he did this for the benefit of minorities who had been harassed in Levittown, Pennsylvania. Levitt finally had to back down and make provisions for minorities to buy into New Jersey's Levittown, but no new laws specifically criminalized racial covenants until the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Many houses retained such covenants for decades, and a few deeds still had them in the late 1990s.

I hear people saying, it's private property and you can do whatever you want, but if it is in fact a Florida town, then it is using federal and state money to support it's infrastructure ~ schools, water, sewers, roads, police, fire, etc and it is not private property at all. The only way it could be considered private property would be if it secedes and they set it up as a small country - and the federal government frowns on such goings on. Tax dollars are supposed to be used for all Americans, and, being the screaming liberal whacko I am, I think that they should be used to ensure equality of access to good schools, good housing, good job opportunities etc. Right now we have defacto economic housing discrimination across the United States. Do we really want to add all kinds of extra discrimination that is "okay" because, hell, it's private property, to that?
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:48 AM on March 1, 2006


bardic, there is strong evidence that the amish are indeed suffering due to inbreeding.

“The Amish called them ‘God’s special children,’ and said they had been sent by God to teach us how to love,” says Morton.
posted by nomisxid at 10:59 AM on March 1, 2006


One might note there are a few hippy-style communes in Colorado (one's a loooong way up a dead-end valley, very isolated!) that have similar sort of structures: lotsa rules about how you gotta be.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 AM on March 1, 2006


these "you can only live here if you are Catholic" communities aren't funny at all,

I've not heard anything about proposed discrimination against who can or can't live in the town. I would imagine it would be like Utah- They don't kick out non-mormons, it's just that not many non-mormons want to live there because of some of the backwards local laws.
posted by p3t3 at 11:08 AM on March 1, 2006


And I might add, there's stupid discrimination that goes on in plenty of secular towns too.

My friend's roofing company just got shot down when trying to add a storage shed on the owners property in a nearby rural town/small city. The town council shot them down because the uppity conservatives were afraid of having roofers around (those scary blue collar guys might break into our homes or kidnap our daughters). Utterly ridiculous, the roofing company only has 10 employees, and spend 90% of their time out on the job site.

Discrimination is bad in any form, but it's certainly not confined to religious groups.
posted by p3t3 at 11:16 AM on March 1, 2006


No more so than you've got Los Angeles.
posted by ?! at 8:06 PM PST on February 28 [!]


Somewhat true, I suspect they are a much smaller percentage of the population in LA. If $cientology has their way, Clearwater will be a company town soon, whereas LA is destined to remain their celebrity induction center. There are too many poor people in LA who can't afford an e-meter, so $cientology has no use for them.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:57 AM on March 1, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe writes "Spice-TV and birth control pills won't wander into your house like raccoons; you have to invite them in."

Much more like vampires than racoons.
posted by Mitheral at 2:41 PM on March 1, 2006


A few more details today on CNN/AP.
posted by contessa at 5:47 PM on March 2, 2006


STOP THE PRESSES! Tom takes it all back.
“It is critical to note that no restrictions will be enforced on contraceptives or any other inventory,” Ave Maria University founder Tom Monaghan and Barron Collier Cos. president Paul Marinelli said in a joint statement Thursday. “In fact, we are using the same lease for Ave Maria as the Barron Collier Cos. use elsewhere in Collier County, which prohibit certain uses that are inconsistent with traditional family values. Neither will there be restrictions enforced on programming on cable television...This is not going to be a Catholic town. We want the town to be open to everyone.”
Hmmm. That isn't the tune he was singing earlier this year.
posted by contessa at 7:01 AM on March 3, 2006


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