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Battle over Mother Teresa, Empire State lights

June 8, 2010 3:28:01 PM PDT
The Catholic League got an unexpected ally in its fight to have the Empire State Building lit up for Mother Teresa. "To say no to her and to me and the press, that we don't owe you any explanation whatsoever, take a walk -- to me that smacks of arrogance on steroids," Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said.

Donohue is livid at building owners.

He's launched an online petition drive to try to convince owners of the "uniqueness" of Mother Teresa.

"She did lots of good for the world, for poor people," tourist John Gorton said. He said he would be okay with the building going ahead with the tribute.

Others, though, see a bit of danger in honoring even a "near" saint. Maybe that's why building owners have said no so far.

"I don't think it's a good idea. When you put the religious up there, then everybody wants to get in line. It will go on forever," George Dervin said.

But even the city council speaker, who's openly gay, supports a salute to Mother Teresa.

She's clashed with catholic leaders on the St. Patrick's Day parade and on gay marriage, but on this one she and Bill Donohue agree.

"We are both Irish. We are both Catholic. You know if there are other moments where he puts out proposals that are hopeful and uplifting and unifying, I will stand with him," Speaker Christine Quinn said.

Earlier Tuesday, it sounded as if a compromise was in the works. Without it, Donohue promises a summer of protest.

The building has until late august to change its mind, or at least explain why no place of honor for Mother Teresa.

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