Empire State Building Shouldn’t Honor Mother Teresa

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca on June 14, 2010

The New York City Council should concentrate on affordable housing and healthcare for all New Yorkers, rather than worrying about whether the Empire State Building is going to display blue and white lights on August 25 to honor Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday.

Anthony Malkin, the head of the family that owns the building, told the New York Daily News, “As a privately owned building, the Empire State Building has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.” Which turns out not to be true, but it doesn’t matter, Malkin does not want to honor Mother Teresa.

The City Council won’t let it rest. It recently passed a resolution calling on Malkin to change his mind. City Council member Christine Quinn, who seems to be on a crusade for the dead nun, said of Mother Teresa: “She was a Noble Prize winner. She was someone who inspired people of all religions.”

“This is not a request that’s coming from Catholic New Yorkers,” Quinn added. “It’s coming from New Yorkers to remember a woman who gave her life [to] helping other people. That’s all her life was about.”

Quinn is asking New Yorkers to help the poor and needy on August 26, describing it a “day of service.” Another chance for people to feel good about handing poor people a few old expired cans of corn while ignoring them the rest of the year.

Quinn is an out lesbian who’s in bed with a known homophobe.

Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and one of today’s top apologists for the Catholic Church, said that if Malkin “has a problem with the Catholic Church, fine, but he shouldn’t take it out on Mother Teresa.”

Donohue is calling for a demonstration outside the Empire State Building on August 26. He’s even sent a letter to Catholic elementary schools in Connecticut in order to recruit kids to come to his protest.

Donohue, who has never been a friend to the queer community, recently blaming the church’s child sex scandals on gay priests, praised Quinn: “Oh, I don’t care if she’s openly gay. What do I care about that! I disagree with Christine Quinn on gay marriage. She has been very supportive of Catholics in other areas.”

The good lesbian needs to read up a little on the life of Mother Teresa. The woman didn’t like queers, preached against birth control even among the poor who could barely afford to feed the kids they already had, opposed legalizing divorce in Ireland, and hobnobbed with dictators such as Haiti’s notorious Jean-Claude Duvalier (whom she said loved the poor) and Albania’s Enver Hoxha (she laid a wreath on his grave).

Mother Teresa believed that women should be barefoot and pregnant, not to mention subservient to men. Upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, she declared that “abortion and contraception” are the main hinderances to peace in the world.

Though she built a network of clinics for the poor, she never used them herself, preferring to see the best doctors in New York. And no wonder: No pain killers were used in her clinics. Mother Teresa believed that the poor should suffer, because it is a good thing. Perhaps that’s why she never taught them to fish.

Malkin should stick to his guns. No tribute to Mother Teresa.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which has been nominated for both an American Library Association and a Lambda Literary award. His website is www.avicollimecca.com.

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