The barrage of questions from the interviewer suggested the focus of thought
from those crowds: "Do you have to be Catholic to live in Ave Maria, Fla.?"
"What about the diversity of the community?" "How would you deal with the
separation of church and state in a community with only one set of values?" "Do
you have to have those 'Christian' values to live there?" "Would it discourage
diversity?" Finally, "What would attract people without Christian values to come
live in that community?"
The two gentlemen being interviewed did not seem too wild-eyed or radical, nor
on the fringe of insanity, but then as some might believe, having those
"Christian" values may pose a danger to push one a bit too close to the
fanatical. In fact, the two gentlemen seemed most rational in their answers.
They talked about higher education, living in harmony, people getting along,
practicing their beliefs and not hurting anyone else in the process. Perhaps to
some people, even having that desire might classify the residents of Ave Maria
as "right-wing." At one point both gentlemen stepped away from the charge that
Ave Maria was exclusively a "Catholic" community by saying that one of them was
an Episcopalian, while the wife of another was a Lutheran. The "Today Show" host
conceded that perhaps it should be referred to as only a "Christian" community.
Perhaps to ward off those who will find a fight in the establishment of a
so-called Christian community and to include services that would "attract
people without Christian values," the community could build in some alternative
Perhaps to be fair, and completely diverse, those alternatives could be some
businesses and services that are opposed to Christian-living values. Some
examples might be:
Perhaps the Ave Maria city planners could ensure that at least a percentage of
the movie theaters show pornographic movies.
The city planners could establish at least one or two of the middle schools, and
at least one high school, that would be barred from teaching any reference to
Each of the school's sex education classes could refrain from teaching
abstinence from sex as a form of birth control before marriage, but pass out
condoms instead. In fact, for diversity's sake, marriage could be mentioned at
those schools only in the context of an "alternative lifestyle."
The city planners should have at least one abortion clinic that freely provides
its services to teenage girls without invading their privacy by informing their
Of course all prayer in those schools could be banned, and certainly no
references to the Bible could be made, even within a historical context.
[to top of second column]
Of course if you have not stopped reading by this time, and have
gotten to this point in this article, you must realize that it is
written "tongue-in-cheek" per se. It seems as Americans with
our own unique heritage that we would encourage more Christian-living values based on the lifestyles of Christianity.
Surely the time-honored foundations drawn from the Bible-based
values of not killing, not stealing, treating one's neighbor as one
would like to be treated, not lying or cheating or lusting after
others' valuables would be a good thing. One wonders if when most
people are measuring the Christian values against the values of
diversity, and diversity wins, just how much longer those people
will be able to travel down that road before they run headlong into
a solid wall.
An oft-quoted Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the
University of Edinburgh, is said to have described the way of all
"Politics and Progress-
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependency;
From dependency back again into bondage."
The way of our civilization at the current time seems to be
somewhere between dependency with apathy and complacency ... perhaps
moving toward bondage. It would be great to think that before
bondage becomes a reality, we could consider a move directly back to
spiritual faith through Christian living.
A more recent stand from the leaders of Ave Maria, Fla., that
charged Ave Maria as being only a "Catholic" town was answered by
"Absolutely not; Ave Maria is open to every religion, ethnicity and
age. In fact, we believe that the intermingling of people of
different backgrounds, interests and life stages will be important
to making Ave Maria a true community."
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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