September 19th, 2011
12:34 PM ET

Foo Fighters protest Westboro Baptist Church

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– Rock stars the Foo Fighters played an impromptu show for a group of protesters from Westboro Baptist Church who had come to protest outside the band's show Friday night in Kansas City, Missouri.

Band members jumped onto a flatbed truck, sporting costumes they wore in a recent video parody, parked across the street from the protest, and sang "Hot Buns," CNN affiliate KSHB reported.

The lyrics to the song: "Driving all night, got a hankering for something/Think I'm in the mood for some hot-man muffins/Mmmm, sounds so fine, yes indeed" made pointed response to the church's protest.

As they often do, the protesters held up brightly colored signs that read, "God Hates Fags," and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

Dave Grohl, the frontman for the Foo Fighters, ended the song with a patriotic message: "Ladies and gentlemen, God bless America! Land of the free, home of the brave," KSHB reported.

In a news release, dated August 30, 2011, the church said it would protest the Foo Fighters concert because "The entertainment industry is a microcosm of the people of this doomed nation: hard-hearted, Hell-bound, and hedonistic to the max. Every person with a platform should be using it to encourage obedience to God; instead, you teach all things contrary to Him: fornication, adultery, idols, fags."

Westboro Baptist Church has been greeted in a variety of ways at protests in the recent past.

This summer, Mars Hill, a multisite church in the Seattle area, welcomed protesters with coffee and doughnuts.

"They need Jesus, too, maybe as bad as anyone on the Earth. As a church, we're called to love people. They're people, so they make the list," Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll told CNN in June.

The Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro was started by Fred Phelps in 1955 and is best known for protesting soldiers' funerals, with protesters carrying their controversial signs.

The church says on its website that it is an "Old School (or, Primitive) Baptist Church," though it has no known ties to any broader national Baptist denomination.

Phelps told CNN in 2006, "You can't preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God."

The church's membership is small and mainly made of Phelps family members.

The church is regularly sued for defamation but often wins those cases. Last year, one such case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices upheld members' right to free speech. One of Phelps' daughters, a Harvard Law-trained attorney, represented the family before the court.

The protest and response generated substantial publicity and attention for the band and the church.

The Foo Fighters performance went viral over the weekend.  The band posted a behind-the-scenes video on YouTube of preparations play on the street in front of the church that has racked up nearly a half a million hits.

A representative for the Foo Fighters told CNN, "The band is leaving that video/performance as their only comment on the matter."

The band is on tour promoting a new record.  The church is perpetually on tour promoting its brand of hellfire and brimstone, protesting military funerals, churches and, as announced this weekend, the funerals of the nine people killed in an air show accident in Reno, Nevada.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • United States • Westboro Bapitst Church

soundoff (1,058 Responses)
  1. William Demuth

    l hate everyone. Anger runs thru me!

    September 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Duh

      So since you're stealing another person's handle you can't be a christian since stealing is forbidden by your god. Nice going idiot.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Duh

      @Duh – Are you stealing my name while accusing others of stealing? Typical.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      this is not cool, i enjoyed reading W. D.'s postings.... who steals someones handle?!!!?!?!?!?!

      September 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Duh

      "Are you stealing my name while accusing others of stealing? Typical."

      You both are stealing my handle while trying to pretend you're a christian. Typical 🙂

      September 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Peter

      "who steals someones handle?!!"

      someone who is emotionally immature.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • RevDana

      Sorry you are so bitter William. May Peace find your heart.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • duh

      "Sorry you are so bitter William. May Peace find your heart"

      You just said that to the fake William.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Duh

      "Are you stealing my name while accusing others of stealing? Typical."

      "You both are stealing my handle while trying to pretend you're a christian. Typical"

      Way to steal my name and act like you got it stolen.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Duh

      Are you serious? I'm the only real Duh.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • duh©

      ""Are you stealing my name while accusing others of stealing? Typical."

      "You both are stealing my handle while trying to pretend you're a christian. Typical"

      Way to steal my name and act like you got it stolen."

      No you all stole my handle and act like you own it even though you stole it. It's mine!

      September 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Duh

      Duh is an ignoramous pompous peiner face.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • duh©

      don't think you can copyright my real name......IT'S MY NAME, your a screwball clown hound.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • duh

      "Duh is an ignoramous pompous peiner face."

      This duh doesn't know how to spell – DUH! Get an education.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Jessy

      I pity the Westboro Church and those who reside in it. They are blind to almost everything. Their eyes have been closed shut by the spread of ignorance and have therefore become arrogant. They believe, just because the United States doesn't agree with them, that we are all doomed to the eternal flames of the underworld. But in reality, it is they who are forever hopelessly lost because they chose the side of ignorance and unquestionable obedience to a Demiurge (not the redeemer) who has created this world that is imperfect.*

      In case you are wondering, I'm Gnostic in my beliefs (look it up in Google Books). That should clear things up.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  2. DB

    Why does the media continue to give this moron christian cult 1 minute of air time???

    September 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • joseph

      couldnt agree more with you

      September 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      I don't see a problem with the church. They're doing what's right.

      Leviticus 20:13


      September 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      What is right about this? They go out and protest gay marriages; they protest at the funeral's of soldiers...and you somehow find this right?!??!?!? Why can't they just mind their own damn business and let people live their lives? These people are criminals and deserve to be taken to psych wards where they can be helped for their delusions.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Jessy

      But without articles like these, I won't have anything to laugh about at work.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Why does the media give any religion any time? They are all cults, one step away from astrology.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  3. hippypoet

    when are people going to learn... religion makes dumber the already dumb... this priests family SHOULD be standing against him but yet i am willing to bet its either him hitting them to make them listen or the "wrath of god" they fear....either way its a fear based brainwashing , only way to keep so many in line and not speak out against something as bad as this!

    September 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Those swayed by the lure of Satan are the brainwashed ones.

      There's only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ.


      September 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Steve the Goat

      The way to heaven is actually through the Holland tunnel, which is ironic since it's often hell to get through. In heaven there will be pancakes for all!

      September 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Jessy


      To a Gnostic like me, the path to salvation is not through strict dogmas, fearful obedience to a god nor through blind faith in Jesus. But rather through Gnosis (Knowledge) of one's self and of the world. Of course, Jesus played a critical role in the birth of Gnosticism.

      "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to that one" Jesus, Gospel of Thomas, Saying 108

      September 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      The bible is not meant to be interpreted.

      "Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God." 2 Peter 20-21

      You are twisting the words of the Lord around to meet your own personal wishes.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Damian

      "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
      But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
      (Matthew 6: 14-15)
      "Judge not, that ye be not judged.
      For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew 7:1-2)

      If I (a non christian) can find passages in the bible,which clearly state that the WBC's actions are not in the best of their lord and savior,why can't you?

      September 20, 2011 at 3:57 am |
  4. Anton LaVey

    What is funny is Fred Phelps is clearly a closet ga y. He feels conflict with his god and takes his anger out on what he cannot change. He has his family snowed and they have no clue. lol

    September 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Right on the money!

      September 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Anton LaVey

      William Demuth


      Right on the money!

      When you see the devotion to hate...it must be some serious pain and guilt that Fred Phelps feels because of his conflict about being gay.
      I suspect the family can only innerbreed so much and this church will fade away in the sands of time.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • ZweiStein

      Wrong...Fred is a lawyer as well and they (family) do it in order to get their rights violated by any organization. They then sue or at least threaten to and get big pay-offs. It is a legal scam.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  5. William Demuth

    I'm a sick twisted person.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Once again, A christian hides behind a fake name!

      I guess your baptist? Or Evangelical?

      Or just a child?

      September 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Who are you to call me those names? You know nothing about me, my beliefs, my race, or my ethnicity. Demuth = F@g.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Fake William Demuth

      Pefectly ID'd.

      Dosen't take much to profile a simpleton.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • GodPot

      I think it can be funny to occasionally use someone elses handle to make a point or a joke. The above fake William does neither and just makes a case against the open handle policy. All the anti-Christians here could simply post constantly as: A Christian – "I'm stooopid" or "I like eating dog feces" or "I R dubm" but that would just make it harder to engage in any real discussions here and the real thinkers would disappear leaving you nothing but a bunch of fake flamers.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      I am no fan of william demuth, but the lowest pos on these blogs is a name thief.If you ain't got the balls to dispute mano e mano , find another hobby for your hands to do.Might i suggest self abuse.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  6. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    I like turtles.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Marcus

      And they like you too.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Terrance

      They make really good soup! Yum

      September 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  7. when

    Sorry WD. Any opinion you have is moot after bearing those threats. VERY uncouth. I don't approve of the group either but do not wish them dead.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Your breaking my heart, and the hearts of ALL the families this parasite attacked and all the dead he has dishonored.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • PulTab

      I'll wish them dead for you.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  8. when

    @ johnathan phelps. You can't spread love with hate.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      But you CAN spread hate with the Bible. Or the Koran!

      September 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      The bible is about LOVE.

      Spreading lies will only turn the fire up in hell.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • ZweiStein

      Mary Hillsbrough. I think you need me. You simply can't read or you just can't comprehend. The bible is NOT about love. Very few places does it exemplify LOVE. Plenty of hate. Plenty of fear mongering. Plenty of killing.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  9. when

    Good post dred rob.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  10. Name*Shirley Phelps-Roper

    At Westboro Baptist Church we give humble thanks to God for this marvelous work! We have been on the streets of Doomed US daily for 21 Years. 45,000 pickets. We obey and run to the streets. God lays out the path. We know if we obey God will use Foo to make you look at God's word. AMAZING. #ThankfulLittleSheepGetHappyLots

    September 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Name*Shirley Phelps-Roper

      I have no idea if you are really THE Shirley Phelps – Roper. For grins, I will assume you are.

      You say, you have been protesting for 21 years. Yet, you claim the nation's destruction is imminent. Imminent?

      I believe you are Calvinists, who believe in predestination. You believe that some have been ordained to be saved and others damned. Doesn't that seem cruel?

      If everything is predestined, what's the point of protesting? All things have a destiny, that cannot be denied. Yes?

      Curious in Arizona

      September 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • William Demuth

      David Johnson

      You do understand that was Parody. right?

      September 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Flash


      You seem to think that *any* publicity is good publicity. Wrong. You may go down in history; but if anything, you will be notated as a small group of insane zealots... and nothing more.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Flash


      Have you ever heard her speak? This is no parody, or exaggeration...

      (I hate to give her youtube videos any more hits (which they LOVE), but you can see her in all of her insane glory there)

      September 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Heared her speak? No, and it's clear I don't need to!

      Just another Christian bigot preaching hatred.

      She gives the faith a black eye!

      September 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      this is the true definition of schizophrenic...this is criminal and should not be allowed...misleading innocent people is amoral. This person is a prime case for lock down in an asylum.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  11. dred rob

    @ william demuth You have made 2 threatening statements toward an elderly man and his family for words you disagree with...that makes you an unamerican coward where I'm from...if you have a problem with their words use your words to show them where they are wrong internet threats are a crime.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I know what is and what is not a threat!

      If he is killed I might drink champagne, but I did NOT threaten anyone.

      Besides, I believe it is HIM who threatens the families of innocent soldiers with eternal damnation.

      I am chilling the champagne, lets permit the party to begin.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  12. Dewey Oxberger

    It's hard to turn the other cheek but the Foo Fighters should have. Westboro LOVES the attention!

    September 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  13. Colin

    A welcome protest, but it's like arguing with Herbert Juarez or HeavenSent/Adelina/ColouredMountain/HappyGarden on this site. A exercise in utter futility.

    September 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Colin (cough Realty), you're too busy posting your babble rather that communicate with a Christian on this site.


      September 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      My cat hit my arm. The word was "than".

      September 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • No Wonder

      Heaven Sent cannot tell the difference between @Colin's "voice" and @Reality's (and several others that she accuses). No wonder she thinks that it's "God's" voice that she hears in her head when it's really her own.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • lolwhat

      @HeavenSent – it wasn't your cat hitting your arm. I think it was someone hitting you hard enough in the head at some point to make you behave the way you do.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wow. So Reality is me, and about 3 dozen other people?

      HS, you need to get those meds refilled, dear.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  14. Okay, Here this!

    I am a Christian and have no problem with gay people marrying or having the same rights as hetros, I am pro-choice. I am disgusted by this insane church. Don't be so quick to put all Christians into one categorized box. Getting off your soapbox may do you some good. 😉

    September 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  15. dred rob

    Wow @ william demuth its you who probably needs to be monitored...advocating the murder of an elderly man just because you disagree with what he says is unamerican and disgusting...you should be ashamed of yourself...

    September 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Let him mouth his filth at your childs funeral and see if you don't change your position.

      Another Christian apologist whose faith blinds you to common sense and common courtesy.

      Where I come from a baseball bat across the back of his head is as American as it gets!

      September 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Frankly, I do not care what this old coot says. Its the fact that he does his level best to disrupt funerals that makes him lower than dirt. There are many idiots that feel the way he does, but they don't try to add to the grief of families attending a funeral. I too would not mourn his sudden passing.

      His only value to the world is as an extreme example of how nasty bigotry really is. No normal person would want to be anything like him and would hopefully rethink their own bigotries when confronted with such open hatred. He just acts like a sadly large number of people feel.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  16. Let's hear it!

    Okay all you Christians out there who say you have not heard Muslims reject the bad behavior done in the name of their own religion, it's time for YOU to speak up and do the same about Christian lunatics. Go ahead, tell us how you do not support the WBC's positions against the gay community! You expect it from others, so it is time to do it yourself . . . unless you are a hypocrite.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Actually, I am NOT a fan of Christians, but I suspect almost ALL northen branches of the faith will condemn it. Roman Catholics may be blind to their own shortcomings, but EVERYONE I have ever dicussed this group with loathe everything they do.

      Some southern sects might not, so I t will be interesting to watch the posts

      September 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      I, as a Christian, openly condemn everthing the WBC does. They do not represent or stand for any of Christianity's values. They preach hate and and intolerance, which was the exact opposite of Jesus' teachings.

      BTW tons of Christians openly condemn them. The mainstream Protestand church has openly and publicy condemned them declaring they are not a member of their organization.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Thanks Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Some things are SO black and white almost everyone can agree.

      These soldiers are basicaly kids, and being in the military they do as they are told.

      To picket war may be noble, but to picket a family as they bury their murdered sons is a sin in ANY religion, even athieisim

      September 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • JohnR

      Quite a few of the Christians who post regularly on this blog have condemned the Westboro loonies in the past.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • KMR

      We Christians have on many occasions denied this groups views and thinking. They are hiding behind the Christian belief when they have no idea what a true Christian looks like, how they should live, and love. This man created a religion branch for the sole purpose to demean, belittle, and spread his hate. He may have been even looking to the tax shelter since it is mainly his family that follows him. He could have chosen any religious ideology but for some reason chosen the Christian faith. We Christians have and always will denounce the beliefs of this ungodly church. You can't deny that if you are on these blogs enough you should have read our protests.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I have seen it, many do.

      I just want as much pressure on these animals as is possible. They harm the mothers and children of men who gave their life for the US, and we need to condemn him early AND often

      September 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Shay

      I'm a Christian. I do not agree with this looney church, nor do I agree with the Right to Life group who targets Planned Parenthood and has bombed Planned Parenthood and similar organizations in the past. So, "Let's Hear it", why the automatic judgment?

      September 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    Just for the record.

    If someone blew that pastors brains out, I could NOT in good consience vote to convict them of anything more than littereing.

    And I would even offer to shovel up the guys brains so the shooter could walk free,

    Even my most devout freinds think this guy is a "damaged" individual that at a minimum needs close monitoring.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      You are , and wouldn't be alone.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @William...no offense here but why would killing ever be acceptable? I don't agree with the people of the Westboron Church any more than you do but we don't resolve the issue with murder, we resolve the issue by attempting to educate them. I know it is not possible for each to come from the dark ages but the more we stand our ground, the more we get through to. They already think Atheists are murderous freaks, why give them that justice by giving them one more nail in our proverbial coffin. I'm not sure about you but I left the church and certainly never wished death upon one of them for what they thought.

      Sorry for rambling but I have an issue with violence towards anyone...this man needs psychological help not his grave.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I didn't say it would be acceptable, I said it would be desireable.

      If it is acceptable is determined by a jury

      My vote is NOT GUILTY, and I suspect they couldn't raise twelve men to convict.

      Its called jury nullification.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      sorry for the misunderstanding...I think he's dangerous and needs locked away where a jury of us can determine his fate...I do agree that not one person who knows of this freak would convict his assassin and to be quite honest I'm very surprised it hasn't happened yet

      September 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  18. hippypoet

    so the foo fighters were helpping the protesters of just promoting a cd? if they were on the protesters side then they too believe that as the article states "God Hates F@gs," and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." that makes me really not like the foo fighters at all anymore! unless i am misunderstood, which i hope i am.

    September 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I'm pretty sure the Foo Fighters were counter-protesting. That's why Dave Grohl said, "Ladies and gentlemen, God bless America! Land of the free, home of the brave."

      Foo Fighters were having a concert, WBC showed up to protest, so they responded.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • KatieLee

      No, they were counter protesting, just watch the video. He talks about how it takes all kinds, and speaks about how he doesn't care if men love men or if women love women. Not to be a jerk, but you should always read the article and watch the videos before commenting. Foo FIghters are a great group that are involved with many social issues, you don't want to go around blasting them just because you didn't read the whole article or watch the vid!

      September 19, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      I have to agree with Katie...this was a counter-protest and they were only taking part of a basic right-freedom of speech 🙂

      September 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  19. DamianKnight

    I wish the media would stop giving any time to this group. They're all shock value, little content. And all they want is to have a platform to spew their hate-filled agenda...and media sources give it to them!

    September 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • William Demuth


      We agree again! Media REALLY does us a disservice with these loons.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      I can't stand this organization but would love to see more bands, etc do more of this sort of thing..

      September 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  20. mylifemyway

    Way to go Foo Fighters! I already love them, now more than ever! 🙂

    September 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.