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. Dick Bacon

    Fred Phelps takes it in the rear.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Harry Dix

      It usually is the one's that are so vehemently against gays that turn out to be gay themselves. It's an internal battle.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      I'm sure you're very intimate with this internal conflict you speak of Harry.

      I've never heard of such a thing. Thankfully others can learn from your experience.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Harry Dix

      Sounds like it's been a while there Mary.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      More wisdom of experience, I see.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  2. jcg

    This is why I hate Kansas.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • pauler80020

      This is why I love the Foo Fighters

      September 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Butthead

      No, paula, you love the foo fighters because you're either deaf or stupid.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  3. Thor

    The sad part is that their Circus act is causing so much misery everywhere they go. The fact that they don't have the capacity to understand that is very sad. A regular person with average intelligence understand the difference between right and wrong but for some reason these lunatics are lacking that capacity. What goes around comes around.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Sinners bring misery upon themselves. The church has done nothing wrong.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Todd (no, not that one)

      I know, right?

      Listening to Foo Fighters drops your IQ at least 5 points.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Thor

      I think the members of this Church are the true sinners for all the pain they cause. It is sad that they are so blind.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      They are abiding by the bible, which is not blind. Most so-called Christians ignore commandments within the bible. This church is still holding back the true wrath of the Almighty.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Thor

      "The church has done nothing wrong." That is the same kind of argument you hear from Pedophiles, Serial Killers, etc. It is amazing how they cause harm and then immediately claim they are innocent. They should grow up and take responsibility for their actions. I guess they think that are immune from being judged.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Immune from the judgment of man. For man has no power over other men, and only the Lord can judge. Maybe you should start abiding by the laws of the Word instead of forming biased opinions based on what society tells you to do.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Thor

      "For man has no power over other men, and only the Lord can judge." You should practice what you preach and stop judging others. Your statements are hypocritical. You have no problem judging others while at the same time telling us that only God can judge. I'm sure we will find out what he wants sooner or later so it is pointless for your Church to continue preaching about something you have no control over.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Maybe you could buy a clue, but I doubt it ...

      "The true wrath of the almighty"....bla bla bla. There is NO god. If there were, 10,000,000 Africans would not be starving. If it WERE really almighty AND wrathful, then NOTHING could hold back it's wrath. Obviously there is something WRONG with your picture.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  4. CarchariasUh

    Well, when some musicians write songs, especially if they're into women (in this case, who can drive), they try and write the songs from more than one perspective. So, while the lyrics might be in poor taste to a lot of people, it don't make him gay.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  5. cjones

    This vid can also be studied as a good example of media bias. Journalists are supposed to be neutral, right? The WBC got six seconds of coverage in a 120 second video on CNN. That is, the Foo Fighters got 20 TIMES more air time! Certainly agree that WBC is out there, on the lunatic fringe BUT would rather arrive at that conclusion after reviewing balanced coverage.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Jake

      That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard anyone say.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • steven harnack

      And you can be studied as an example of someone who spends way too much time with their head lodged between their cheeks.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  6. DarkAxel

    I must say, My hat is off to the Foo Fighters. This was almost as good as the Church of Scientology getting RickRolled.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  7. mbmpdx

    Foo Fighters totally rock

    September 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Butthead

      Foo Fighters totally suck.

      There, I fixed that for you.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  8. Kerry

    Go Foo Fighters!!!

    September 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  9. Fred Phelps

    Give us a call at (785) 273-0325 to hear how much we don't care

    September 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • JW

      I looooove youuuuuuuu.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • iconoclast

      If there is a hell (I highly doubt it) it's fires wait for you, not Foo Mr Phelps. Pull your head out of your a$$ and stop hating for the sake of hate. And don't tell me it's god's hate you disingenuous son of a b1tch

      September 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • ScudderSC

      Dear Fred – I love you. I know you hate me, but I love you because God is about Love. He created all of us in his own image. He sent his Son to forgive our sins and continues to do that. He forgives you too.

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

      don't tell me it's god's hate

      Actually Phelp's god is very hateful. Just thumb through the Bible. Phelps just takes it a little more serious than the others.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • JF

      God is about Love. He sent his Son to forgive our sins.

      What kink of deity would slaughter one person to make up for the sins of other people. You call that love? That's sick. Think about. Why does any person or animal have to be slaughtered? Have you actually given any thought at all about the religion you are practicing? Seriously. Wake up. It's time to start seeing reality. It;s not 100 B.C. out there.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Butthead

      "God is about Love. He sent his Son to forgive our sins."

      Mythical beings are not about love, they are about delusion. Mythical beings also do not have offspring.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  10. Tom

    I'm not sure who God hates, but I get the feeling these people hate pretty much everyone, even if it's supposedly by proxy.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • leecherius

      God hates no man , only the actions of man..

      September 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • News Flash

      Why do we assume god has the SAME emotions which we have ? How ridiculous and parochial.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      Mythical beings cannot hate – they do not exist.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Because man was created in the Lord's image. Therefore we share the same emotions. Not the other way around. Get your facts straight please.

      Thank you.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Beelzebubba

      Mary, you talk about facts, yet you believe in a mythical being. How ironic.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Better to have faith than live in fear, darkness, hate, anger and loneliness which is apparent in your spiteful words.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  11. Thor

    These individuals are just something else. They should all be sued for wasting oxygen. How can anybody be so utterly stupid is just amazing. These inbreeds should be moved to an isolated island where they can run around protesting all day long.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • 21k

      it's actually a cult built around a wealthy family of , you guessed it, lawyers. sounds like their papa runs the firm and all the kids and spouses work at it. kind of creepy . won't be surprised if we someday hear about some warren jeffs type stuff going on there.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • LeonABP

      agree 21k! they said " 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." Yeah, right! Where's the love when they protest in front of soldiers' funerals. shame on them

      September 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • JW

      Leon, the church was saying not to repay evil for evil. Not to repay hate with hate, but instead to overcome it with love. That's the part Westboro misses the narrow way on . . . they think they have knowledge, and are proud and puffed up, but lack love in any form. Man with no forgiveness in heart lives fate worse than death.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  12. 21k

    that big piece of satellite is coming down this week. hey lord, you know where wbc is located, how's 9 am sunday morning sound?

    September 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  13. Sister Claudia Windal, OSF

    I don't know why I am ever surprised by Mr. Robertson's comments, but this one s so anti-Christian in both the thought and the deed. People living with Alzheimer's disease need a great deal of support. It may appear that they no longer kinow family members, but we don't know that for certain. These folks suffer enough with the confusion of Alzheimer's, the stress they feel from family members, their forgetfulness, and soon, their ability to hold on to relationships in a meaningful way.
    I believe Mr. Robertson"s followers should divorce him and let him feel the emptiness and loneliness.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Nancy

      Um, wrong story? But you can hate Westboro Baptist Church just as much as you seem to hate Robertson! 😀

      September 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • ScudderSC

      Hi Sr. Claudia – you commented on the wrong story. I agree with you, though. My grandmother died at the age of 88 from Alzheimers – and my grandfather visited her every day for 2-1/2 years in the nursing home. He was 91 when she died. He never considered divorce – he prayed every day for a cure.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  14. wardabroadw

    Did CNN add the bit about "old school (or, primitive)"? I do hope they left that to the swine at the church.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  15. ZweiStein

    Bunch a azsholes.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  16. Dryw

    Sadly, I highly doubt god is real. If God is real, why doesn't he/she/it just talk to all of us and confirm it? I highly doubt an omnipotent being would ask other humans to speak for it. God would know that there would be people who would pretend to speak for God in order to manipulate others. I think God is a product of peoples' need to feel better about an unsafe world. Human's conceptualize god basically as a super parent.

    The people who loudly complain, supposedly on god's behalf (aka westboro church members), are usually people who feel overwhelmed by life and left behind.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dude

      God IS real... and its about time for everybody to wake up and realize that. Us Christians are done trying to get you guys saved and everything... people need to start doing that for themselves, NOW!

      September 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Al

      Us Christians are done trying to get you guys saved.

      Saved? Saved from the god of hate? Become one of "God's" slaves or burn for eternity? Fortunately your god of hate doesn't exist.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • 21k

      dude! ha-ha, you sound like one angry xtian. is that what ja-sus would say?

      September 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Stupid non-believer

      Nicely put!

      And If God is real, chances are it was an alien. Yeah, sounds crazy, but reading the bible from that perspective, it sure makes sense. Well, at least as much sense as this invisible God that Christians believe is real.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Mike

      Please don't try to save me from your boogie man.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • ZweiStein

      For any of you that question God's existence...please google "deist" before you make up your mind about anything.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • truth2power

      @ dude,
      Does that mean all you Christians will finally stop pushing your "religion" on the rest of us, stay out of public life and politics and leave us alone?
      Sure hope so 'cause you guys are gettin' old!

      "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ."

      September 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Kevin

      HA Buddhism for the win, we don't believe in a god and yet we still are one of the most peaceful group of people in the world

      September 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Mongo

      Why doesn't God talk to us to tell us he/she is real? God does talk to us; every time a stranger helps, every time someone says, "I love you", every time you feel welcome wherever you are, every time you wake up in the morning with love in your heart. Sure, there are people who manipulate others for their own greed, but they need to be seen for who they really are: users. The Catholic church teaches that God created man in His image; I think they have it backward. It seems we have created God in our image; a revengeful and angry God. I don't believe this to be true, I don't care what they say. You have the ability to choose whether you want to be a compassionate person or a selfish jerk. Sometimes we are both in the same day, but if you just keep truckin' on to be a good person and learn from your mistakes, then just maybe you will exhibit some of the qualities that will bring you closer to godliness (through Free Will). God doesn't want us to be angry because He is not angry. Although I think He has to be rolling His eyes at us right now, thinking, "For the love of Me, when are they going to learn to just get along, and stop using Me as a scapegoat for their petty bickerings".

      September 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • steve88

      @ Dude

      "God is real" ...yeaa, only in your mind. what's going to happen if we don't believe?? He will get mad for not believing in him ? ( Very silly btw) oh, prove it? It's fear at it best.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • JW

      Dude, think about why people are so upset at Christians these days. Is it for the same reason as they hated Christ? Christ had compassion on people, on the poor, the needy. He taught not to love the things of this world, but to look to the next. He said to love your enemies, not kill them, hate them, incite holy wars against them, etc. He taught that the rich of this world would have a hard time getting into the next. Now look at modern Christians–see how they have so utterly corrupted what Christ taught? How the love the wealth of this world, as well as political power? How they love their "neighbor," but conveniently demonize anyone they don't love so they can justify not loving them? How they think the poor are failures in God's eyes because they haven't been blessed with the goods of this life? See the problem yet with this?

      September 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Right....


      God does talk to us; every time a stranger helps, every time someone says, "I love you", every time you feel welcome wherever you are, every time you wake up in the morning with love in your heart.

      That sentence works with practically any word in the place of the word God.

      Zeus does talk to us; every time a stranger helps.
      The sun does talk to us; every time a stranger helps.
      Our conscience does talk to us; every time a stranger helps.
      An invisible man with long beard and a pet chihuahua does talk to us; every time a stranger helps.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • God Hates the Phelps Family

      @dude...I have no problem with my spirituality, and if he exists, God doesn't either. Besides, I don't remember asking you (or anyone else) to save me. I'll "save" myself (whatever that means) if & when I feel the need. Put your efforts where they are wanted & appreciated....
      Your assumption reminds me of a bumper sticker....
      "Dear Lord, please save me from your followers."
      & truth's Gandhi quote is just as applicable...

      September 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  17. RSC

    At first I was offended by their remarks but now I can sit here and shake my head at how stupid they are. They are attention seekers for all the wrong reasons.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  18. Lily Brown

    The members of Westboro are as lost as they come. How do I know this? Jesus tells me in John 13:35, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. So if we do not have love we are not His disciples. Read the this entire chapter, John 15. See also 1 John 4:7& 8. The hatred of God is hatred of sin – not hatred of people. John 3:16 Jesus came to seek and save the lost, Luke 19:10. Notice He came to save the lost – not some of the lost – but all. To all those people who see Westboro as part of God's family, please do not let them fool you. They do not represent God, His Son, or His Church! For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

    September 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Frek

      And NONE of it works!
      Your god does nothing for anyone. This can be proven time and time again. Nobody can prove ANY god exists. What irony.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  19. Sean Ramsey

    They are TOTALLY ignoring what Jesus taught...Love God and love your neightbor! They aren't showing ANYONE love which tells me they are satanists NOT christians!!

    September 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Tim in LA

      I dare you to send them an email and argue with them. They might actually respond and show you how wrong you are.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Assmodeus

      I quadruple fcking dare you!

      September 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Frek

      Yesss. Email them, Sean. Show them the error of their ways. See what they say. heh.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • YetAnotherNewsReader

      I think satanists would be offended.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Beelzebubba

      Ave Satanis!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  20. Tj

    These religious freaks are insane. These people are more insane then the people I see get arrested.

    September 19, 2011 at 8:20 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.