Responding to the Empire State Building's refusal to display lights in honor of Bl. Mother Teresa's 100th birthday later this month, the Catholic League is organizing a protest at the national landmark.
Media attention spotlighted the controversy caused by Empire State Building manager Anthony Malkin's refusal of a request by the Catholic League to light the iconic facility with the blue and white colors of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity on August 26.
“The Empire State Building (ESB) celebrates many cultures and causes in the world community with iconic lightings, and has a tradition of lightings for the religious holidays of Easter, Eid al Fitr, Hanukah, and Christmas,” Malkin explained in a statement June 9.
But, Malkin qualified, “As a privately owned building, ESB has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.”
In a statement on Aug. 4, Catholic League president Bill Donohue countered Malkin's claims, saying that if “this were in fact true,” then “they would not have honored Cardinal O'Connor when he died; Pope John Paul II when he died; the Salvation Army; and Rev. Martin Luther King.”
The building has been lit with different color schemes in the past for stock car races, the introduction of blue M&M’s, and the Chinese Communist revolution, according to the New York Daily News.
Donohue noted that the “same persons who chose to stiff Mother Teresa decided to honor the Chinese Communist revolution last year, even though 77 million innocent men, women and children were murdered under Mao Zedong.”
“By contrast,” he added, “the U.S. Postal Service is honoring Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp.”
The Catholic League president has personally written multiple bishops as well as parish communities in the greater metropolitan area in places such as Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Orange County, Rockland, Albany, and Camden among others.
Donohue said his letters are intent on “informing them of our protest demonstration at 6 p.m. on August 26 outside the Empire State Building on 34th Street and 5th Avenue.”