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. Trev Rock

    You know they are really just preaching the God of the Old Testament. Over 2 million people are killed by that God (not including the flood). He was filled with vengeance and violence and these people are just following his lead. Is it really that far removed from what most of you have read and believe as fact? Jesus said he is coming back with a sword and that he believes his "father's" laws should be upheld. Why would it be so ludicrous for some to interpret this as what was instructed of them to do and show their loyalty. I am surprised more followers haven't developed this interpretation.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Topher

      Your existence gives me diarrhea

      September 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      The bible is not meant to be interpreted. We are to follow it as it is written. Jesus came to this place to die for our sins. But, he did not come here to abolish the old law as he states in the bible. Many people misinterpret this and believe he abolished the old law. He merely said he was here to fulfill. Specifically, not "it." The fulfillment was the prophecy of his first coming. He said he was here to fulfill that prophecy, and not to abolish the old law. This means that we as Christians are required to follow the old and new laws of the bible.

      "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

      September 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  2. brown


    September 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Assmodeus

      Captain Morgan Sp.iced Rum is better.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  3. humanbean

    I would imagine, mostly with lawsuits they've won. See, at the same time they're shredding America for its supposed sins, they are no better when they steal money from people due to the perception of their religious rights being taken away. The reason why the church mainly consists of family members is because nobody else wants to be a part of that scam.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  4. Stupid non-believer

    Some of these GOP Christian Right wackos would fit right in to that church.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Clyde M

    This could also be read as "Foo Fighters stunt keeps Westboro Church in the news by adding publicity to a protest that would have otherwise largely gone unreported."

    September 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • humanbean

      What I was really hoping that was happening is that the Foo Fighters went and set up right across the street from their church during services on Sunday and blasted away with some sinful rock and roll, disrupting whatever they were doing inside.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  6. Jarred

    I think CNN and other media outlets are the only ones who can give the Westboro in-breds any power. What is the point informing the world of their latest hate mongering sideshow? Westboro baptists are a rash on the rear end of society and if our media would only quit scratching it, they would go away.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I want to know where they are at, so I can throw cups of pee at them, they are evil, and bonus if you can get one to swing at you, your self defence can put them in the hospital, and they should all have there necks broken.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Clyde M

      They ARE evil. Don't stoop to their level by threatening to break necks and throw pee on them.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  7. not a fan of WBC

    WBC protested my church last year, as well as my daughters high school.. Good thing is that the local authorities do not care at all for WBC, so they put them on the opposite side of the highway almost 200 yards from our church. Only saw a few of them because they could not even get on the actual street where the church is. When at the school, they had to find public property which was not easy near the school, mostly homes & a small business or two. Instead of a counter protest, people stood on the schools side with large blank poster board, blocking their signs. They are the rudest group of people I have ever seen. No way these people are truly saved, they can not possibly know Jesus as their savior, or they would have love, understanding, and forgiveness in their heart. It really makes me sad that they do these things and use God as their excuse. They make people turn away from even wanting to know God and they will one day answer greatly for this.. I would NOT want to be in their shoes... We are to bring people to Christ, not repel them..

    September 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Jarred

      Well said "Not a fan of WBC" your words are poignant and wise.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Frek

      Being judgmental drives people away. Religions are judgmental about everything. WBC is just being honest about the Bible.
      Haters gonna hate, especially if they are religious.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Im an athiest, but even I know these f-balls are not christian. There are a few things these hateful monsters need to remember. "judge not, least ye be judged." and "let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." These monsters do not even have a understanding of there own book.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • JT

      Why do you have a problem with them pushing one of God's rules? Are you in the majority of Christians who pick and choose what they want from their Bible?

      September 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Frek

      Lots of ignorant hypocrites around here who never sat down and read their Bibble all the way through.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  8. Hawkeye1012

    Jesus and his 12 "followers". Sounds pretty gay to me.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  9. humanbean

    Westboro does not deserve Jesus, seeing as how after all this time they cannot follow his teachings. The only thing they do deserve is for someone to come and mow them down with an M-16 and get rid of this putrid family. They are the Taliban in disguise.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I didnt know they were Tea Partiers?

      September 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  10. DGH

    they just need their A kicked up one side of the street and down the other......dam court ourder

    September 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  11. Bert

    They are hateful people but we have to protect free speech, ignoring is the best way to go, give no attention to this group....

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

      Yes, pay no attention to any religious person. They are delusional and seek to delude you into their fantasy world.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  12. Evan

    I believe that gay marriage is not real marriage. I'm gay myself, but I wish I wasn't. The problem with these Westboro people is that they fail to see how hypocritcal they are. Yes, it may be wrong, but being the hypocrites that they are is far more harmful. Why can't they be forgiving and compassionate, just like the Bible tells them to be? They, to quote Christ, "...strain out a gnat but swallow a camel" (Matthew 23:24).

    September 19, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Garrett

      Evan please look into Sy Rogers if you haven't already. The most awesome testimony of a "gay" man. If you are struggling this WILL give you clarity. I will pray for you. God bless!


      September 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
    • Frek

      Marriage is just a formalized relationship between two or more people. There is nothing to say that gays cannot marry in common law. You wish you weren't gay because of the hateful people around you who just don't understand human functions and limitations. You don't understand them either, I guess. It must suck to be stupid like that.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  13. Cody

    Has anyone thought of god as a "childrens tale"?As children we are told about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy the Easter Bunny and all that good sense.But as we get older we realise"wait...a chubby old jolly man makes toys for all the boys and girls in the world and delivers them all to them at night....That cant be true because first off you cant possibly do that in one night an reindeer cant fly."than it goes like this.Either you catch your parent taking your tooth and putting money under you or you realise"wait....a magical fairy takes my tooth and gives me money....no way"and of course our old pal the easter bunny.If you really think about it you see what im getting at.We are raised to believe in an all powerfull creator that loves us but never reveals himself and gives us everything we see around us...THINK just THINK how is that possible...Why do you think flying reindeer are impossible but and invisible ruler is all too real?Just use your head and reason with yourself.If you are intelligent and stop blindly running in the dark with bull-headed faith you will realise...there is no god.... Thank you for reading Cheers

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

      "Why do you think flying reindeer are impossible but and invisible ruler is all too real?Just use your head and reason with yourself.If you are intelligent and stop blindly running in the dark with bull-headed faith you will realise...there is no god"

      God is not a magical, invisible man in the sky. He exists outside of space and time. He's omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, among other things. St. Anselm's definition is the best: the perfect being. The God of the Bible and, say, Zeus and Thor are of completely different nature.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • HB

      Don't you have homework to do? Seriously, this is one of the most childish posts I've ever read. If you want to argue against God fine, but look more intelligent doing it.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • not a fan of WBC

      Cody I can not see your brain, nor your heart.. Am I to believe they do not exist then ??? I will say a prayer for you to come to know your savior !! Many blessings to you !!

      September 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • The Fapdoctor

      One hand fapping can accomplish more than a billion hands praying...and have more fun doing it, too.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Bingo, it is just sad that 40% of americans do not see this, they actually believe this nonsence is real. Wow, we are a nation of fools.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Frek

      Evan, if your god exists outside of space and time, then he is essentially non-existent to those of us who ARE in this space and time. Don't you get it? You can't have it both ways. Either your god is here doing stuff or he is just wishful thinking with no basis in truth.
      And if he is doing stuff. Prove it. Prove he is doing things you think he is doing. All you are doing is claiming you know something you don't. We see that everywhere on the internet. You should take some classes on critical thinking.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Evan


      Honestly, my friend, that is the worst argument I've ever heard for Atheist (and I've heard alot of bad ones). Just because God exists outside of space and time does not mean that He does not exist.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Zeke S

      My whole life as a Christian, I never saw a bit of proof. Ever. From anyone at anytime. It didn't matter to me because I was insane and participating in a group psychosis. Now I am free. I'm not in your nasty little cult anymore.
      Sincerity is not proof that something is true.
      Dying for something does not make it true.
      We are not liable for what other people do if we were not involved in the first place.
      Emotional feedback is not proof that something is true.
      Emotions and feelings have no relation to the truth. They are caused by brain chemicals, not by anything supernatural.
      The Bible is a mishmash of different fables and extreme exaggerations and outright lies.
      Every so-called holy text in existence is made-up.
      I could go on, but why should I bother? When you are a participant in the group psychosis, you are a prisoner of the mind.
      What believer will listen to reason regarding their faith or what it's based on...when reason opposes religion?
      Many believers do not like to think about other religions in a way that might show the weaknesses in their own religion.
      They refuse to question the very causes of their religion. They think they already know it, yet they have never seen any proof of it themselves.
      I remember what it was like and how lobotomized I felt when deep in "faith."
      I can recreate my "faith" just by remembering how it felt.
      I KNOW that "faith" is a mental disconnect with perception and reality and awareness.
      It is a mental filter that strangles a person's ability to think realistically about almost everything.

      Religion has shown time and time again that it is nothing but group-psychosis that is also a giant hoax on the victims.
      Like any group-psychosis, most inside of it find companionship, comfort, and repeated reinforcement of the "tenets" and special propaganda and anything that can be used to explain any obvious hole in the shared-psychotic-belief.

      Hey, when I busted out of it, I made sure I was correct in every supposition. My faith was deep, but I clawed my way out and escaped the clutches of anyone who might use my religion against me by making sure I was being reasonable about it.
      Logic and common sense and science knowledge are tools for freedom from delusion. Any delusion.

      Proof is impossible because there is no "God", no "Jesus", no "Holy Spirit", no supernatural anything.
      There is no way I'd ever willingly pretend that a lie is true.

      That's why I'm an atheist. I'm more honest than you believers.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  14. Amom

    How do the Westboro members fund their travels?

    September 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • JT

      From law suites they win. Although they are deluded nuts they still have their rights....as they should.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • The Fapdoctor

      You can bet they get donations from people who hate gays. Probably Republicans still in the closet. So many of them keep getting outed, you'd think they'd give up acting like hypocrites, but no...

      September 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  15. Bob

    Here's an idea: How about the Foo Fighters, CNN and everybody else ignore these hateful and misguided attention-mongers.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • JT

      That's really the only solution to this. They thrive on attention.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  16. JeffinIL

    I sincerely hope that the members of Westboro Baptist (not) Church meet God very soon. I'd be happy to be there eating popcorn and watching the encounter.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  17. Sam27

    Too bad their parents did not teach them better. Moreover, no religion teaches hatred and superiority over others; it is people that twist their religious beliefs to their own interests.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Not, so. The quaran clearly says that it is ok to lie cheat and steal from all not believers (infidels) Islam is a gdo what I say or die, philosphy, but then again so is jude-christianity.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  18. AmazingSteve

    In today's article: everyone hates the Westboro Baptists.

    Seriously, when can we just start ignoring these people?

    September 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  19. John

    I don't like the people of Westboro Baptist Church. I actually don't like anyone who tells me how I SHOULD live my life. But I will fight to the death for their right to free speech.

    September 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • tim

      They dont want you to fight to the death they thank god for dead soldiers... Theyre most likely a bunch closet cases anyway

      September 19, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I agree, as long as they can take it also, if people are in front of them tearing them to shreds, do they complaine? I would love love to be there to goad one of these d-bags into a fight, so I could tear them apart infront of the camera.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  20. wes

    these church people are insane. nuff said

    September 19, 2011 at 7:42 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.