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Jesustown, FL

A former marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a £230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.

The town will be centred around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse”.

Yet civil rights activists and other watchdogs concerned about the separation of church and state are threatening lawsuits if Ave Maria attempts to enforce Catholic dogma. Environmentalists have also complained the town will restrict the habitat of the Florida panther, an endangered species. Asked recently about possible lawsuits in Florida, Monaghan replied: “That’s great. That would be the best publicity we could get.”

Monaghan, 68, sold his takeaway chain in 1998 for an estimated $1 billion…

(Found by Garrett Dwyer, thanks)

Published in researchmaterial


  1. It’s not like it’s going to work anyway. A settlement needs a better reason than that to exist. Something more practical than “come to Ave Maria! It’s like the USA, but moreso!”

    If it does take off, then the balance must be redressed somehow…

    I suggest setting up a new town right next door. Ideally, some sort of crazy-eyed pornographic Disneyland. With big rotating plasma dongs crackling in the night sky.


  2. Joseph Moran Joseph Moran

    Fortunately, it’s not quite so simple as that. You can’t simply set up your own town and make your own laws (not yet, anyway). The town of Ave Maria will still be subject to the laws of the state of Florida and the Federal government, so expect 24/7 lawsuits if they try to do things like ban the sale of contraception.

  3. Ken Ken

    Quote from Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo:

    “[T]he Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions – but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.”

    Obviously, this is a quote from a British man, about British people, in Britain, with a different religion. But still: I’m curious as to how Mr. Monaghan seeks to reconcile the similarly pluralistic, church-and-state-separated basis of American society with his vision. And what his opinions would be, should a group of similarly-inclined Muslims seek to set up a sharia based community next door to Ave Maria.

  4. “so expect 24/7 lawsuits if they try to do things like ban the sale of contraception.”

    With a guy who can fight them all, therefore taking a shot at establishing new precedent on every element he’s sued on.

  5. What Neil said. Set up a condom and porn store just outside of the city limits and you’ll make a fortune.

  6. JH JH

    Might be because I’m a nerd, but I’m finding it hilarious that a guy with the name as Ennis’ Hitman charcter is setting up Jesusville.

    Also, Ave Maria as a town name sounds suspiciously like the setting for a grindhouse flick. I expect mongoloid gator men in the town’s future.

  7. Pawel Pawel

    Oh fucking hell. This country gets wierder and wierder…

  8. At least if they’re all in one spot the bird plague can get them all in one go…

  9. lurker lurker

    After their first Tianamen-grade incident, when rebellious teenagers high on bootleg booze and using smuggled condoms get shot by the Holy Squads, that christutopia will go down in flames…

    …or maybe it will set the example for the rest of the country to folllow. Oh, America, I used to love you! What the fuck happened to you?

  10. Josh Josh

    “What Neil said. Set up a condom and porn store just outside of the city limits and you’ll make a fortune.”

    Same thing happened in Steinbach, MB, with alcohol. Town was dry for years, beer store right outside the limits was rich for years. When the town legalized alcohol, the store owners started buying Porsches.

    It was nuts.

  11. M. E. Hepler M. E. Hepler

    domino’s sucks.

  12. He should have called it Moralton! Once again, truth is stranger than adult swim.

  13. Ed Fortune Ed Fortune

    Surely instead of fightin him, you just air drop condoms and porn?

    Or do regualr mailings.

    Or provide them free with pizza…

  14. ALlen ALlen

    somehow i get reminded every day of why i’m moving the hell out of florida as soon as i graduate from college.

  15. “This country gets wierder and wierder.”

    I think this Ave Maria joint, and maybe the whole Bush administration, is a frantic and hopeless reaction against weirdness. They’re trying to roll back time to when the world made sense to their bug-eyed fearful selves.

    In fifty years, if Ava Maria is still around, they’ll have to have a border post to sort out the cyborgs, hermaphrodites, talking coyote people, sapient cockroach swarms and who the hell knows what else from the hordes of curious tourists come to see the fast-breeding sexually uptight freaks.

  16. brandon longstreth brandon longstreth

    eh let ’em have it

  17. “…from the hordes of curious tourists come to see the fast-breeding sexually uptight freaks.”

    You’ve hit the big iron nail right on the head there, my man. They will set up this pious hellhole without a doubt; but it’s not going to work. Twenty years down the line, the world gets to watch the first pale, bedraggled survivors of The Ave Maria Incident emerge from their basements with their hands in the air. The Senior Makers Of Love will emerge behind them, feigning shock at the sudden presence of a joint UN expeditionary force, pulling their trousers up and doing up their belts.

    “Just please,” says one survivor, “g-give me…a drink. And a mint.”

  18. Craig B Craig B

    [b]Joseph Moran[/b] said..
    [i]Fortunately, it’s not quite so simple as that. You can’t simply set up your own town and make your own laws (not yet, anyway). The town of Ave Maria will still be subject to the laws of the state of Florida and the Federal government, so expect 24/7 lawsuits if they try to do things like ban the sale of contraception.[/i]

    Don’t be so sure…Technically DisneyWorld is built on land that is owned by the Disney corporation. Owned as well as governed by a corporation. Technically by it’s unique contract it isn’t even under the jurisdiction
    of the state of Florida or even the county. The laws within DisneyWorld apply only to DisneyWorld and the laws outside DisneyWorld don’t! SO if ever there were a precedent set for a private city free from state or county interference, it was set in Florida some forty or fifty years ago.

  19. Eric Eric

    He also wants to construct the tallest cross in the world in michigan(just short enough he won’t have to put lights on it for planes). We’ve been dealing with this guy for years. Keep in mind this guy also believes in reincarnation.

    And really if you are talking opposites, maybe this is a reaction to las vegas.

    And i believe the way they are planning on banning things in town is by owning all the property and puttings things into the lease agreement about not being able to seel condoms and the like.

  20. Omer Omer

    Man, I am so glad I moved out of Florida. And where did I go? California! Oh, it’s not as swinging as you might think. There’s a shit-load of right-wing-Jesus-freaks here and they’re creepier than regular right-wing-Jesus-freaks.

  21. Sean Sean

    Thoughts: The Florida panther isn’t extinct yet? Surprising. Is there a Tower of Babel planned? And anyone who’s eaten Domino’s or seen The Noid in action knows this man is not a friend of Jesus.

  22. Pentheus Pentheus

    Craig B, that’s not fully true about Disney World. The thing was that Disney wanted to set up
    an experimental city that was all futuristic and utopian, and got the state of Florida to let
    them govern it. They got the EPCOT (Experimental Prototypal City of Tomorrow) Center and made
    it into a theme park when it turned out that making a city was too much work. EPCOT is the only
    part of Disney that’s self-governed, and it’s legally a town in Florida and subject to all
    Floridian and federal laws; Disney is just the municipal government. It is creepy, but not
    totally around the bend (okay, maybe it is. Maybe it’s actually totally unconstitutional, actually).

    What this Jesus freak weirdo is going to discover is twofold: One, he sure as shit doesn’t have
    the clout in Florida that Disney has; and two: The Constitution of the US applies to every
    little bit of the country and every level of government, even Jesusland, at least in theory.
    Catholic Town would be in express violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution. He
    should just learn Latin and move to the Vatican if he wants all Catholic all day.

  23. Christopher Christopher

    Meh. This is what hurricanes are for.

  24. Lars Lars

    Imagine a town build on laws of the Bible, an university where people are taught the Bible. A sexually oppressed community, no rights for women and whatnot.

    I’m so looking forward to see the first true christian suicide bomber. Going up in Mekka. Heh.

  25. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    Old news, dude. My husband works for the guy (although not for much longer, thank goodness), at the earlier incarnation of Ave Maria in Ypsilanti, MI. Monaghan is a true megalomaniac.

    But you fail to mention in your post that the basis for the town is his envisioned Ave Maria University – it’s not just a town for no reason.

  26. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    D’oh – ignore that last sentence.

  27. Jake Wyss Jake Wyss

    Um , so there is going to be a university, which presumably means students, but not contraception, so how long

  28. Jake Wyss Jake Wyss

    will it take before they start having to start an adoption service for all the out of wedlock kids?
    Why can’t Catholics just realize the connections between being fruitfull and multiplying and food anaire?

  29. Jake Wyss Jake Wyss

    er and air? (damn crappy browser)

  30. […] Via Warren Ellis: Why I hate Florida. And more importantly, vindication for all those times people looked at me funny when I said, “I don’t eat Domino’s for political reasons.” […]

  31. Al Roderick Al Roderick

    I’m from the part of Michigan where the Domino’s Farms corporate campus is. A while back, Monaghan was blocked by Washtenaw county (and a torrent of complaints) from erecting a giant, 200-some foot crucifix on the property (according to my local paper, I was too young to remember the big flap about it). The plans for Ave Maria include a much more modest 65 footer, presumably to minimize the collateral damage from a “Jesus v. Hurricane” grudge match.

    He does have, however, a cell phone base tower that looks like a blue ligning bolt on the Farm. His provision for allowing the companies to settle on his land was that he got to approve the design, and as I understand it his son actually drew that up.

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