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Thousands Sign Petition Protesting Empire State Building's Snub of Mother Teresa

Red for China

Sept. 9, 2009: The Empire State Building is lit in red and yellow to honor the 60th anniversary of China's communist revolution and the founding of the People's Republic of China. (AP)

A nationwide petition has been launched by the Catholic League after the Empire State Building denied a request to commemorate Mother Teresa's 100th birthday.

Bill Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic civil rights organization, submitted an application to the Empire State Building Lighting Partners in February to have the skyscraper feature blue and white lights -- the colors of Mother Teresa's congregation -- on Aug. 26 to commemorate her centennial. The request was denied without explanation last week, and more than 6,000 people have signed a protest petition in just one day, Donohue told FoxNews.com.

"I'd like to find out what's driving this," he said. "But I'm confident it's just a matter of time before we win on this thing."

Donohue noted that the iconic building in midtown Manhattan changed its colors to red and yellow last year to honor the 60th anniversary of China's Communist Revolution.

"Yet under its founder, Mao Zedong, the Communists killed 77 million people," Donohue said in a statement. "In other words, the greatest mass murderer in history merited the same tribute being denied to Mother Teresa."

Donohue called on Anthony Malkin, owner of the Empire State Building, to reverse the decision.

"Mother Teresa received 124 awards, including Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Medal of Freedom," Donohue's statement continued. "She built hundreds of orphanages, hospitals, hospices, health clinics, homeless shelters, youth shelters and soup kitchens all over the world … Not surprisingly, she was voted the most admired woman in the world three years in a row in the mid-1990s. But she is not good enough to be honored by the Empire State Building."

A spokeswoman for the building's public relations firm declined comment Thursday when reached by FoxNews.com.

Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died in 1997 at the age of 87. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003, a step in the path to being declared a saint.

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