Empire State Bldg says `no` to Mother Teresa

New York`s Empire State Building said "yes" to Mariah Carey, dog shows but no to Mother Teresa.

Last Updated: Jun 09, 2010, 09:24 AM IST

New York: New York City`s Empire State
Building said "yes" to Mariah Carey, dog shows, cancer
charities -- and even the 60th anniversary of communist China.

But the landmark skyscraper`s owners have declined to
illuminate it in honour of the late Mother Teresa.

"They`re bigots! They have an animus against Catholics!"
Catholic League President Bill Donohue told The Associated
Press yesterday.

He said his lay advocacy group requested that the
building glow on August 26 for the centennial of the late
Nobel Peace Prize winner`s birth. The request was denied in an
unsigned, faxed letter, Donohue said, "and they never gave an
explanation."

He said Empire State Building officials were
"stonewalling" not only the Catholic League, but also the
media and members of New York`s City Council.

Now, another prominent New York Catholic is voicing her
outrage.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the AP that she
spoke yesterday with Empire State Building owner Anthony
Malkin.

Although the real estate mogul was "very professional"
and said he "would reflect on the points I made," she said, he
didn`t give her a satisfactory answer.

She said the answer should be "yes to Mother
Teresa."

Telephone messages left for building spokeswoman Melanie
Maasch were not returned yesterday. The telephone at Malkin
Holdings, Malkin`s Manhattan-based company, rang unanswered
last afternoon.

In New York, Mother Teresa helped open a pioneering
hospice for AIDS patients in Manhattan`s Greenwich Village.

"Her impact on the world was so much greater than one
religious group," Quinn said.

Although she`s Catholic, the Democratic City Council
speaker has often disagreed with the religiously traditional
League on issues such as gay marriage. Quinn is openly gay.

But when it comes to the iconic skyscraper and the ethnic
Albanian nun who worked in India, she backs the League.

Illuminating the 102-story high-rise on Fifth Avenue in
different colours to mark an important date, cause or
personality is a New York tradition. The building is
colour-decorated for religious holidays such as Christmas and
Hanukkah and other special occasions.

PTI