We lost a true American icon on July 24 when Jackie Mason passed away at the age of 93. He was more than a remarkable comedian, he was a strong foe of anti-Catholicism.

On December 14, 2005, journalist Don Feder, who had recently founded Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation, held a press conference on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Attending were Jackie Mason and several other prominent Jews; Bill Donohue was also there. Jackie hired limousines that rode down Fifth Avenue with a huge banner declaring, “JEWS SAY IT’S OK TO SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

Soon after Jackie and his lawyer friend Raoul Felder wrote a splendid piece explaining why it was important for Jews to speak up about attempts to censor Christmas. They deplored banning “the singing of Christmas carols [and] nativity scenes” in the schools.

“We cannot see how our beliefs are jeopardized by someone else celebrating his beliefs—particularly if the celebrations are those consisting, at least in part, of love, family values, spirituality and giving thought to the less fortunate.”

Jackie also spoke at a rally we held in 2010 outside the Empire State Building protesting the refusal of the building’s owner not to honor Mother Teresa on her centenary by lighting the towers in her colors, blue and white.

Jackie Mason was more than a first-class comedian. He was a first-class person who went against the grain by standing up for the rights of Catholics. May he rest in peace.

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