Fred Phelps died; Obama, Pope Francis to meet; German Tourist Board releases guide for Jewish tourists; British judge believes courts don’t respect Christianity enough

This week (March 17-24) in religion news:

  • Fred Phelps, leader of Kansas Westboro Baptist Church, died last Wednesday. The controversial reverend’s death garnered heavy media attention — some thought his death helped gay rights activists, some watched with “mixed feelings” and a punk band is selling a T-shirt with Phelps’ face and the words “Good Riddance.”
  • President Obama scheduled a visit with Pope Francis this Thursday. According to Vatican and American officials, the two world leaders plan to talk collaboration, not idealogical differences. Some topics of discussion will include: income inequality, aiding “society’s outcasts,” immigration, human trafficking and more. This will be the first time the two leaders meet.
  • An increasing number of Jewish people are visiting Germany. The German National Tourist Board released an e-guide called “Germany for the Jewish Traveler.” The Board intends to encourage Jewish tourism and help them find Jewish history in Germany.
  • According to the Deputy President of the Supreme Court, the British courts do not show enough respect to Christians. Lady Hale, who is one of the most senior judges in the United Kingdom, said that a new law should take a less strict approach to the rights of Christians who want to wear a cross at work, turn away gay couples from their hotels, etc. Lady Hale’s gave an analysis in a lecture at Yale Law School and was published March 19.

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