Quinn calls for other ways to honor Mother Teresa

June 10, 2010 6:07:41 PM PDT
With no deal in sight to light the Empire State Building for Mother Teresa, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants every home in the city to be lit in her honor instead.

Quinn is calling for August 26 to be a citywide day of volunteer service to honor Mother Teresa on what would have been her 100th birthday. She will help organize events to carry on the spirit of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The Empire State Building has refused to shine blue and white lights in her memory on that day.

The Empire State Building website posted a statement Thursday night saying: "The Empire State Building celebrates many cultures and causes in the world community with iconic lightings.

Although ESB has a tradition of lightings for the religious holidays of Easter, Eid al Fitr, Hanukah, and Christmas, our lighting partnership guidelines?with which all organizations must agree as a condition for submitting an application?state clearly that we do not accommodate requests for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.

The Empire State Building's official Lighting Partner program was established after the prior managing agent was replaced in August 2006. The Empire State Building's tower lights recognize key milestones, events, charitable organizations, countries, and holidays throughout the world, not political or religion related events. We are privately owned, and our policies and practices are subject to change in accord with ownership's preferences.

We are saddened by the hateful words and messages being generated both for and against lighting for Mother Teresa's 100th birthday. We surely wish that the emotions of those in favor be directed towards good actions of community service in the spirit of their views, and that those who are against be dignified and respectful in their dialogue."

Quinn instead is asking all New Yorkers to put a light in their windows to mark the centennial of Mother Teresa's birth.

Quinn called a 2:30 p.m. news conference to announce her plans. She hopes the proposal will put additional pressure on Malkin to change his mind.

Meanwhile, Catholic League President Bill Donohue is planning a protest demonstration Aug. 26 outside the Empire State building, at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.

He is asking everyone to pass the word about the demonstration and to bombard Anthony Malkin with complaints.