Westboro to picket Betty Ford's funeral

July 11, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (RNS) The anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church has
announced plans to picket this week's funeral services for former first
lady Betty Ford in California and Michigan.

The website of the Topeka, Kansas-based church said the fringe group
will demonstrate at Ford's funerals because she divorced her first
husband William Warren prior to marrying the late president Gerald R.
Ford.

In Westboro's eyes, that makes Ford an adulterer who "loved to sit
with tawdry reporters and blather about sex."

The group plans to picket at services at Saint Margaret Episcopal
Church in Palm Desert, Calif. on Tuesday (July 12) and at Grace
Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids on Thursday when her casket will
travel by motorcade for burial at the Ford Museum.

The extremist church -- mostly a collection of Fred Phelps' extended
family and friends -- formally won the right to picket funerals in March
after an 8-1 Supreme Court decision ruled it is protected by the First
Amendment.

"She couldn't wait to have an audience with a reporter to titter
about premarital sex, and how much she loved to teach it to her
daughters," the church's website said. "The trashy reporters encouraged
her to say more! So she urged all the women of this doomed foul nation
to engage in extramarital sex. Then she pushed for abortion, because
when you teach a nation's women to be whores, it's inevitable
pregnancies will inconvenience the selfish strumpets! That is the legacy
of Betty Ford."