Orlando, Feb. 23, 2006 (CNA) -
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is opposed to the efforts of Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan to build a Catholic town, named Ave Maria, in Florida.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, host of “The Situation,” Florida ACLU executive director Howard Simon insisted that his organization’s opposition has nothing to do with anti-Catholicism. Rather, he said: “It’s a story about any religious group trying to exercise governmental power.”
“You’ve to make a distinction between just encouraging like-minded people to come and live in the same place with a town organized on religious principles, in which the religious group is given governmental authority,” said Simon.
About a year ago, Monaghan indicated that he would own all the commercial real estate, residents would not be able to buy pornography or contraception, and the town would determine what cable system it would have.
Carlson pointed out that towns everywhere decide what cable system it has, what types of stores it will have and if pornography can be sold. “That’s called zoning,” he said.
Simon continued to defend his position, citing the 10-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision, which ruled that a group of Hasidic Jews in upper New York state in a town called Kiryas Joel, could not receive government funding because it was organized around sectarian religious principles.
“And when you‘re required to conform to religious principles, that town is not fitting for governmental authority,” he said.
“It’s his hand, and if he wants a pharmacy that doesn’t sell condoms or the pill, it‘s not your business. It’s not my business,” Carlson told his guest.
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