by David Fortwengler
This week bombastic Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has manufactured his newest nonsensical, contrived controversy. The owners of the Empire State Building, a privately held company, have denied Bill’s request to display the blue and white colors of Mother Teresa’s religious order on the ESB’s Tower Lights. The requested date was August 26th, the 100th anniversary of her birth.
The Catholic League’s stated purpose is to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics. Why would he consider the lack of blue and white on a private building in any way a denial of those rights? Well, he has to justify that $372,501 salary somehow.
Donohue’s role as a well paid shill and defender of any criticism of the Catholic Church never allows him to let the facts get in the way, especially not when he has a chance to rile up the troops and their checkbooks. He has defended, minimized, and excused the actions of his Church’s employees for sex crimes against children in ways that are hurtful and deny the truth. Ad nauseum (latin), he claims the sex abuse crisis is caused by homosexuality (the facts disprove that), any mention by the media about gross institutional negligence is rooted in anti-Catholicism, and by stating the obvious that child sex crimes occur in all segments of society. Over the past eight years his statements have been extremely hurtful.
Donahue acknowledges in his statements that Mother Teresa has received at least 124 awards, many from secular organizations including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Medal of Freedom, and the U.S. Postal Service is issuing a stamp in her honor. How can Bill argue with a straight face that secular society is “dissing” Mother Teresa or not recognizing her compassion and good works?
I suggest if he wants to further honor her he is welcome to string up all the blue and white lights he can afford at his house, Catholic League offices, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, diocesan buildings, or the Vatican. Assuming of course it doesn’t violate any zoning ordinances.
Examining the Tower Lights schedule (link below) you will see it includes a diverse group of non-profit organizations (which have Catholic members), sports teams, and holidays. (including St. Patrick's Day and Christmas) Bill’s campaign for Mother Teresa points out correctly that red and yellow lights were shown for the 60th Anniversary of communist China. That decision was roundly criticized by many at the time and garnered extensive press coverage, rightly so. I also agree that display was inappropriate since I have spent my life trying not to buy cheap crap that is labeled “Made in China.” However, it is their building and they can do what they want. Why doesn’t Bill believe in freedoms for everyone including non-Catholics?
The Catholic League must really believe you can catch more bees with vinegar than honey, and Donohue can afford a lot of vinegar. As part of his new world-wide campaign to change the ESB’s decision, he makes the following statement.
“One wonders what world the elites who run the Empire State Building live in. Besides siding with the Communists and dissing Catholics, they are just plain stupid. If they think they can ride this out, they have no idea what they are dealing with.”
I disagree, I think they know exactly what they are dealing with.