Ave Maria University Sues Obama Administration Over Contraception Rule

Categories: Politicks
Jim Towey Ave Maria2.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Jim Towey, Ave Maria President
Ave Maria University -- the much-troubled, uber-Catholic institution near Naples -- is suing the Obama administration over its rule requiring health plans to cover free contraception.

"It is a sad day when an American citizen or organization has no choice but to sue its own government in order to exercise religious liberty rights guaranteed by our nation's Constitution,'' said AMU president Jim Towey. "As an American Catholic, I am in disbelief that I have to choose between being a good Catholic and a good citizen. I will not, and the University will not, accept this false choice."

But, as we reported in a feature article last October, Ave Maria University has itself come under criticism for not being Catholic enough after accepting a $4 million donation from a pro-choice politician.

Domino's Pizza magnate Tom Monaghan founded Ave Maria in 2007. It was his vision for a new and righteous America founded upon strict Catholic values. Monaghan sunk a half-billion dollars into building the town and its centerpiece university in the middle of the Corkscrew Swamp, 20 miles northeast of Naples.

Calling the place a ticket to Heaven, he boasted that birth control and pornography wouldn't be allowed. Ave Maria would be the epicenter of an American Catholic revival: "a saint factory" that would "change the world," he promised.

Yet, as we outlined in our feature, things went wrong from the start. The Diocese of Venice refused to consecrate Ave Maria's massive church because it was owned by Monaghan, not the Church. To this day, it's called a "quasi-oratory" -- whatever that means.

ave maria church.jpg
Michael Miller
Ave Maria's quasi-oratory
Meanwhile, Ave Maria went four years without being designated a "Catholic university."

Marielena Stuart, a local resident now running for the U.S. Senate, slammed the university for its acceptance of a $4 million donation for a new gym from pro-choice politician Tom Golisano.

During several New Times reporting trips to Ave Maria, university officials -- including Towey -- stressed that the institution had many non-Catholic employees and students.

We're not on a witch-hunt to expose squishy Catholicism. On the contrary, we quit confirmation classes when they stopped handing out donuts after mass.

But it seems a little bogus that Ave Maria is so outraged by the Obama administration when Monaghan happily accepted cash from pro-choice politicians in the past.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

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Drake Mallard
Drake Mallard

So the Catholic Church's health plans that pay for Viagra aka boner pills for men and not any birth control for women Hypocritical?


Separation of church and stateis a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson (in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists) and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." The modern concept of a wholly secular government is sometimes credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase "separation of church and state" in this context is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of "hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world"— Jefferson wrote, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

the federal endorsement of a deity or religion violates the united states constitution

If Church wants to engage in politics they should lose the tax exemption they now enjoy.


So many mistakes and misrepresentations in just a short blog post. Hard to know where to start, but for one thing, the church in Ave Maria is NOT called a "quasi-oratory," and never has been. There is no such thing. This was even pointed out to the reporter the FIRST time he wrote all the lies about Ave Maria. So don't believe most of this piece, either.


But what do you expect from a quasi-reporter.

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