Mayor Bloomberg Discovers Religious Liberty

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s remarks [Tuesday] yesterday endorsing the building of a mosque near Ground Zero:

Never have we heard Mayor Bloomberg more eloquent in his defense of religious liberty. Too bad it took the proposed building of a mosque at a spot where Islamic fanatics declared war on America to do so.

Regrettably, Mayor Bloomberg’s record in dealing with issues affecting Catholics has not been so robust. Just last month, he was almost alone in his refusal to criticize Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin’s decision not to honor Mother Teresa on August 26; he simply said it was Malkin’s call. Over the last few years, when the Catholic League and New York City Councilman Tony Avella sought to get his support for putting a nativity scene alongside a menorah in the public schools, he refused to cooperate.

In 2007, when an artist made a huge vulgar naked “Chocolate Jesus” and sought to place it in the street-level gallery of a midtown hotel during Holy Week, Bloomberg refused to criticize the artist; he merely advised not to draw attention to it. In 2005, when the Bronx Household of Faith, an inner-city Christian church, won a ruling in federal district court maintaining it had a right to hold religious services on Sundays in a New York City public school, the Bloomberg administration sued to block this exercise in religious liberty.

In 2002, when asked why he would join in an event that bars gays from having their own contingent (the St. Patrick’s Day Parade), his office said, “The mayor believes the best way to change an organization is to do so from within.” Thus did he show his contempt for the religious-liberty prerogatives of the parade’s organizers.

In other words, Bloomberg is not a sincere advocate of religious liberty: he just seems to discover it when it suits his interests.

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  • Joe DeVet

    Islamic jihadists are the enemy. I guess this double standard on religious freedom is today’s understanding of “love your enemies.”

  • goral

    We expected that from the PC NY style liberal Bloomberg.
    The taxidrivers who know the city will soon own it.

  • plowshare

    Where can I read Blomberg’s eloquent Tuesday defense of religious liberty?

  • plowshare

    Just now, I found a bit of Bloomberg’s “defense of religious liberty” here:,CST-NWS-mosq08.article

    The snippets seem to be more a defense of the right of people to do whatever they want with private property, and about separation of church and state. That is actually consistent with everything in the Catholic League article, where the restrictions on religion all have to do with public property. The real inconsistency I see is in his earlier support of a ban against trans fats in restaurants.

    One way or the other, the mayor seems to be really fond of the theme of rights. He sounded downright silly with the following comment about the firefighters who lost their lives in 9/11: “We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting.” My guess is that they were so busy trying to save lives that thoughts of constitutional rights never entered their heads. People ordinarily think of constitutional rights when there are no pressing needs to attend to.