On August 26, a gathering of over 3,000 New Yorkers — Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and Buddhists, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, wide-ranging ethnicities — joined hands to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa. More specifically, they came together in solidarity, in peaceful protest, over the fact that the management of New York City’s Empire State Building refused repeated requests to light the building in blue and white to honor Mother Teresa.
Oddly, management claimed it wanted to steer clear of tributes to particular religious individuals or organizations, even as Mother Teresa transcended any single brand of religion—serving all of humanity, from the unborn to the dying, from Calcutta to Brooklyn. Besides, the building was lit for religious figures in the past, from Pope John Paul II to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to a group of Salesian Sisters.
Even more absurd, management happily endorsed those who hated God, militant atheists like Mao Tse-Tung and his communist Chinese. Yes, believe it or not, last October, the building was aglow in red and yellow to honor the anniversary of Red China. No, I’m not kidding. Mao is responsible for 60-70 million deaths, far more than even Hitler. Interestingly, though, it is the religious and saintly—Mother Teresa—who soothed the dying, who was rejected by the Empire State.
And while we’re talking endorsements, isn’t it also interesting that New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and America’s president, Barack Obama, both endorsed the construction of a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero, site of 9/11? They did so as self-appointed apostles of religious freedom, diversity, and tolerance. And yet, neither Bloomberg nor Obama endorsed the much simpler lighting of the Empire State Building for Mother Teresa.
How’s that for diversity and tolerance? And why am I not surprised?