Skip to comments.Westboro Baptist Church...Targets Betty Ford's Funeral (MI)
Posted on 07/10/2011 4:17:17 PM PDT by Kieri
GRAND RAPIDS -- The Westboro Baptist Church -- notorious for twisting scripture to justify persecution of homosexuals and picketing at funerals -- have announced their intent to protest this week's memorial services honoring former first lady Betty Ford in Grand Rapids.
On the Topeka, Kansas-based church's website, the fringe group said they will picket services on Thursday because Ford divorced her first husband William Warren prior 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 announcement declares the group's intent to picket in Palm Desert, Calif. on Tuesday and at Grace Episcopal Church in East Grand Rapids on Thursday at 1 p.m., when her casket will travel by motorcade to the Ford Museum.
Whether they actually show up in Grand Rapids this week is anyone's guess, said Tim Boudreau, a Central Michigan University journalism professor who hosted members of the group in his media law class in November.
Often, their announcements are a bluff to grab media attention, he said. Then, "conveniently, they don't make it."
"They're interested in generating publicity for their cause, and they'll use any tactic," he said.
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 they are protected by the First Amendment.
The church said they're targeting her funeral because, "She couldnt 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 trashy reporters encouraged her to say more! So she urged all the women of this doomed foul nation to engage in extra-marital sex. Then she pushed for abortion, because when you teach a nations women to be whores, it's inevitable pregnancies will inconvenience the selfish strumpets! That is the legacy of Betty Ford."
Boudreau got to know the church's stance better last fall in Mount Pleasant, when he invited three of its members, Shirley Phelps-Roper and her two daughters, to his class, which has a tradition of hosting people with extreme positions to illustrate the breadth of First Amendment protections.
During three separate sessions, Phelps-Roper explained her family's reasoning for traveling the country protesting at funerals of celebrities, public figures and soldiers.
"You have to obey God," she said. "If this country had policies of obedience, they wouldn't need a standing army and they wouldn't have dead soldiers."
Grieving friends and parents led fallen soldiers into believing and trusting in a lie and "out into the killing fields and crosshairs of an angry god," she said.
The church, which is not affiliated with any known Baptist association, is considered by many to be a hate group and monitored by anti-defamation groups.
They often spark counter-protests, and a group of motorcycle riders often follow to block people's view of them. They have sparked lawsuits and legislation aimed at making protesting near a funeral illegal.
Boudreau's reaction to finding out about the Ford picket: "That's disgusting. ... Nothing they do surprises me anymore."
He said that while the group is certainly bothersome and offensive, they appear willing to abide by the regulations on when, where and how they can picket.
"They're often kept at quite a distance," he said. "If you want to be offended, you kind of have to seek them out."
After reading some of the tactless comments on the obit threads, I wouldn't be surprised to see some Freepers join them!
Hyphenating like that isn't particularly subservient to her husband.
Yeah, the "cause" of setting legal traps and then suing people.
Attention starved scumbags.
When are they going to protest a Hell’s Angels funeral?
They sound like gossip mongers and what comes out of their mouth is defiled. These guys need to check their oil.
Notice the cowardliness, also. At funerals, when the ones they speak out against cannot refute them.
Democrats acting like Democrats.
I consider myself far right of Rush and I don't even come close to these jackals. They are a thing of there own. It's almost a comfort knowing I'm not as far out as I could be!
Even the left knows they don’t really belong to us.
I wish we could goad them to protesting the Mexican crime cartels.
Sad to say but I bet someone will exercise their free speech rights by attacking them; then too, bet it’d be some Left wing nutjob who the media will insist is a Rush listener.
Code Pink wont even protest the wars anymore (including the new non-war wars)! I guess even the Soros budget has limits! LOL
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
If only Jesus could forgive sins, then Betty Ford could have repented, and sought forgiveness....
“After reading some of the tactless comments on the obit threads, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Freepers join them!”
Beat me to it. That was my first thought, too.
Democrats in Action.
That's not the real reason. The real reason is that they're liberal agents provocateurs out to make conservative Christians look bad.
They have to park their cars somewhere. Ooops something sharp and out of nowhere there are flat tires. Thats terrible.
......or a Muslim funeral.
They (the Westboroans) call themselves Americans when they’re barely human...judging by the way they behave in public. Superfreaks!
You are out of line.
Betty Ford was a radical liberal: pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-gun, pro-big government. I extend my condolences to her family her lost her, but any conservative who paints her as a positive example for America has lost his/her mind.
Let the dead rest; but that doesn’t mean you should mindlessly eulogize them. Even bin Laden helped fund destitute muslims. Does that make him a role model to be held up for all?