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. New Testament is what a christian should follow no?

    /cough Old Testament.


    The Bible is FULL of hate! Hundreds of passages tell of things "God" hates!

    To speak in ignorance is understandable, but you look like a fool when you do it.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Frek

      Why don't you read the NT, fool? There's plenty of hate in there that is easy to read.
      Jesus didn't hate sin, he hated sinners and was planning on throwing them into "unquenchable fire" because he hated them so much. He said he came to cause contention, to set everyone at each other's throat, even within families.
      Oh, he was a hater, all right. Jesus hated lots of stuff and people. Lots of people. He hated gentiles, too.
      Try reading the NT, fool.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  2. Nikore

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

    I actually agree with Phelps on that one. And that's why I'm an atheist.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  3. holly61990

    Unfortunately people like WBC have the right to protest.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  4. sdrawkcab

    Don't know the Foo Fighters from Adam, but I like their style. That idiot bunch at Westboro may be more responsible for bringing Americans together than any single thing since 9-11. Straight-gay, black-white, conservative-liberal, city-country, young-old, male-female, we just don't like that bunch of crackpots. Let me say thanks again to the Freedom Riders, who have shown remarkable restraint in their dealings with the idiots & who make me proud.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  5. TrueFacts

    For the record, Shannon from Fred Meyers in Vegas has a great rack.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Just Sayin

      Good news is always relevant, but good journalism would demand further, deeper investigation.

      Just sayin...

      September 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  6. jimbo

    the Three days of Darkness is upon The WORLD. Sept. 26-28th. BE READY

    September 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Colin

      Oh, for the love of god, your mother-in-law IS still coming. Get over it.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Tom

      yes...its called night.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • csam18

      Actually, Alaska has been having multiple nights for some time now.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    ANFO and leeroyjenkins this is just one link but it gives sources as well to other sites where information can be attained.. Josephus was one of the best people to learn from if the ancient world is something you love. also the statement i had about jesus being named a different name, that i can't find the exact source for but i can tell you that having personally translated some things, you lose alot of info when going from an ancient written source to a modern form. plus words have different meanings then they did then...so please enjoy the web site.


    September 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • hippypoet

      right i spaced on how his name is not jesus... in hebrew his name was joshua, translated into greek it becomes Joseph and then finally when thats translated into latin it becomes a word that both looks like and sounds like when spoke...jesus, but for the life of me i can't find the source page anymore... new computer.. sry but i tried. again enjoy... oh and just for the knowledge.... the proper term for those who follow the teachings of jushua are known as chrestisians or chrestusians... but not christians, thats a silly lower form of insult once used by the romans to mock the jewish followers of joshua.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Frek

      Josephus never cited any Roman records, never spoke of having seen anything directly and was born long after Jesus supposedly died.
      Not much of a historian. More like a fellow Christian who believed whatever others told him.

      Second-hand information is not reliable. James' death is not recorded anywhere in Roman records, either.
      All Josephus has is hearsay and Christian scribes have obviously "changed" whatever was written.
      You'll have to do better than that.

      Plus, WHERE are all the words Jesus wrote? Nobody knows? Either he was an illiterate con-man, or a literate con-man or he didn't exist in the first place and Paul is the con-man who made it all up.

      Plus, there is no god as described in either the OT or the NT. No god equals no prophets, no savior, no sin. No kidding.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  8. Ethan

    Thank you FooFighters for joining the millions that believe in freedom for all.

    WBC, yet another reason I'm agnostic.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  9. steve

    i am proud to say way to go dave and the band i support your fight for equal rights rock on

    September 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  10. steven craniac

    This guy Phelps has got to go........I didn't know ignorant hillbillies lived in KC .

    September 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • sam

      ironically, they've probably ingested more love juice by going out to eat in public than any of the people they've protested against.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  11. Dan

    I dislike those people very much! They love the notoriety they get from there protests. That's all they are about!

    September 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • SebastianBirkoff

      they are all about money. as the story points out, the entire church is primaraly one family, almost all of them are lawyers, and what the story here fails to mention is, anytime these people go to a protest, if they are in anyway stopped or prohibited to do anything, they sue the city, state, local law enforcment. its not a church, it is a career for a bunch of loons!

      September 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • csam18

      Makes a lot of sense. What's more sad than their guise, are the people that follow them.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  12. FM

    Why the hell do people keep talking about them?? That crazy church is being given exactly what they want, PUBLICITY. If we all want them to go away then STOP TALKING ABOUT THEM. They are not of any importance. There is no greater insult than to be ignored.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  13. dan in capitola

    OK, I'll say this just once. Ready? God does not HATE, anything or anyone.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Joseph

      Yup, he hates sin. He loves the sinners though 🙂

      September 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • RGeneration

      Rightly said, Joseph. That's what Westboro doesn't understand.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Frek

      The Bible is FULL of hate! Hundreds of passages tell of things "God" hates!

      To speak in ignorance is understandable, but you look like a fool when you do it.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Frek

      Your evil god hates so many different things they had to be listed. Jesus hated so many different people, it's a wonder they didn't kill him before he got together with those other con-men. Not feeling the love from Christians here. Just a bunch of haters who hate stuff and people so much they want to shove their way into politics and make a theocracy where murder can be legal. The Bible says to kill people if you *(and your god_) hate them and what they do.
      Haters gonna hate. Just look at the WBC and the Catholic Church. Haters beyond help.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • God Hates the Phelps Family

      You're wrong about that Frek...
      The Catholic Church LOVES little boys...it's just everyone else.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  14. Argle Bargle

    The sooner Inbred Fred Phelps and his band of Incest Pool Partiers are gone the sooner life can get back to normal.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Doug

    Coffee and donuts... Yes – that's what they need.

    No, seriously – add a little laxative to it (nothing harmful, mind you – just something to keep them busy on the toilet), and maybe the dead AND the mourners can mourn in peace.

    I kid, of course. But these protesters are a blight on this planet and they exercise their freedoms without compassion for their fellow citizens or concern for the responsibility to treat each other with respect – thus making it easy for me to deny them the same considerations.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  16. Joseph

    Call me crazy, but doesn't the bible call us to love our enemies? Hmm yes its coming back to me now, Jesus said that.
    Even though these people don't even come close to promoting what these people claim, they're God's children none the less and we must treat them as such. That applies to Foo Fighters (amazing band by the way) and Westboro.
    The members of Westboro are, in all honesty, media hogs. They see that they haven't made the news in weeks so they go for something big. Also please don't stereotype us by them. They do the exact opposite of what Christ taught...

    September 19, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • csam18

      That's the problem with religion. There are lots of hypocrisies in both the bible and what it's followers display. Logic and sense of reasoning gets hijacked and replaced with blind faith. The world suddenly becomes black and white.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  17. Matt

    God hates the sin... not the people who commit it.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Maitre D

      There is no such thing as sin. If there was, you could not separate it from the person anyway. Try logic. It's what's for dinner.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Joseph

      *Gives a high five* You nailed it! Hate the sin, love the sinner.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • RGeneration

      @Maitre...there's no sin. LOL LOL LOL....call it what you want. You are the blindest and the most ignorant person on the planet if you think there is no evil in this world...and yes, evil equates to sin. Use logic, pal. Don't be ignorant.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Patrick

      “evil equates to sin.”

      Definition of evil include: conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, discrimination designed to harm others, humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological needs and dignity, destructiveness, and acts of unnecessary and/or indiscriminate violence that are not legitimate acts of self-defense but aggressive and designed to cause ill-being to others.

      I particularly like this part of the definition –
      “humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological needs and dignity,”

      What’s funny is if we use “evil equates to sin” then all the Christians who diminish the dignity of gay people are sinning.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • csam18

      Sin is a made up word created by religion. There is no such thing. There is only contrast which is necessary for any form of growth. Religion is an old way of thinking that holds no place in the world of today. Stories from the past were there for the people of those times, which in general speak in regards to love which should be carried forward. Everything else needs to stop being taken so literal. Applying severely out dated ways of thinking to the present is silly and destructive to growth and inner evolution. The universe is a logical place, it's no wonder that our minds operate the same way. We're one in the same.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Frek

      There is no such thing as theological sin, because that would require an actual god that exists, and you don't have that.
      There are no moral absolutes, all we have is moral relativism. Evil is in the eye of the beholder.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  18. Vroomfondel

    I too am surprised there hasn't been some major violence against them. I think their time will come in the near future, when all their un-Christian behavior will be recompensed.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  19. roberto

    They ain't gonna go away, folks. Can we just ignore them? You know, like, not give them any press coverage? No one likes to be ignored. Not even Dick Cheney. And he's a real hard sell. But, it seems to me that the less attention given to someone, the more likely they are to fade into obscurity. It's like teeth. If you ignore them they will go away.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  20. Crillie

    And this is why we should all realize that it is Dave Grohl who is god

    September 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • maxtla99

      Yes, all hail Dave. Dave hates gafs.

      September 19, 2011 at 7:01 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.