Mama always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. So with that, we’ll just say that “God Hates Fags” ringleader Fred Phelps is dead. We’ll leave it to “Mrs. Doubtfire” alum Mara Wilson to sum it all up:
People are saying I should forgive Fred Phelps because it's the Christian thing to do. But I'm Jewish. We hold grudges.
— Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) March 20, 2014
Meanwhile, in other news, organized for you by our legions of staff:
File under “Pope and POTUS”
President Obama is going to meet Pope Francis next week, and our own David Gibson cautions spectators not to look for fireworks. Because, actually, the two men have a lot in common (even tho “Fortune” named Francis the world’s No. 1 leader, and Obama didn’t even get into the top 50).
One more Francis tidbit: Pope Benedict XVI’s top aide, who also now works for the new boss, didn’t want Francis elected pope. And, he goes on, Francis isn’t “everybody’s darling.” I hear Siberia is lovely this time of year.
File under “Didn’t they make a (pretty bad) movie about this?”
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, says the Rapture is going to look kinda like the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: “Is this a small snapshot of what the entire world will experience the day after the rapture of the church? … And on that day, the world will be asking, Where have all the people gone? Not just 239 of us, but millions of us.”
File under “Common Sense, Lack of”
A Muslim woman was turned away from her gym in Albuquerque because her headscarf violated the gym’s dress code — and also because it was red (tho I’m not sure what’s wrong with the color red). Tarainia McDaniel was told she could wear a baseball cap instead. She told them to speak to her lawyer.
Also this: Florida woman arrested after performing C-Section on mastiff without anesthesia.” Why, Florida, WHY??? (And hey, I can say that because I used to live there)
File under “OK, this is just getting silly”
Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who doesn’t want gay groups to have their own contingent in NYC’s famed St. Patrick’s Day parade, now wants to march in Gotham’s famed gay pride. This. Is. Gonna. Be. Awesome. I wonder how he looks in a rainbow boa and a leather harness. (Sorry for that image.)
File under “Pour me a cold one. Make it a Schlafly”
Trying hard to rein in the snark on this one. But suffice it to say that Phyllis Schlafly, the matriarch of conservative religious politics, doesn’t want her nephew to be able to trademark the family name for his new Schlafly line of craft beers. I wonder if that’s part of of Bill Donohue’s bizarre beer boycott.
File under “Shiksas of the world unite!”
Poor Alin Levy. The Israeli pop sensation is trying to become officially Jewish, but the Orthodox establishment is having none of it because “acting as a career does not go together with the spirit of religion.” But there’s hope — Charlotte York Goldenblatt got turned away three times (as is tradition) before she could convert on “Sex and the City.”
File under “Yeah, good luck with that”
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan — who supports Nigeria’s criminalization of homosexuality — is set to meet with Pope Francis tomorrow.
File under “Move over, Whoopi Goldberg”
A 25-year-old Italian nun wowed the judges of Italy’s version of “The Voice” with an Alicia Keys song. According to HuffPo: “If I had found you at Mass I would always be in church,” said J-Ax, an Italian rapper who is one of the judges. “You and me are like the devil and holy water.”
File under “All hands on deck”
The White House is working with churches and other faith groups to sign people up for Obamacare against a looming March 31 deadline. Adelle Banks has all the details.
File under “Not Unexpected”
A British court threw out a fraud suit against Thomas Monson, the “seer, prophet and relevator” of the Mormon Church, saying the courts are no place to decide whether any church’s teachings are true or false.
File under “Worth Reading”
- Jonathan Merritt: Setting the record straight on Jesus, the ‘friend of sinners’
- Chris Stedman: Fred Phelps’ legacy of isolation
- Laura Turner: Why I won’t be seeing ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ (and neither will I)
- Boz Tchividjian: Marginalizing the abused: Six ways survivors are treated as insignificant
And with that, it’s off to the weekend. Before you go, make sure we have your email address below so you won’t miss an edition of the daily Roundup.