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. Ptolomaeus

    Here's something to consider; All three of the main monotheistic religions say basically the same thing. If you don't follow this religion (and/or particular denomination) you'll go to hell. If all religions say the others are wrong, then who's right? If they are all right, and all the others are wrong, then they're all correct, and they are all wrong. The wonderful thing about the US is that we have the right to Freedom of Religion, or absence there of. Small minded bigots like this are so caught up in "saving" everyone, they they often fail to see that the people they are trying so hard to "save" are often far better off morally than the religion they are trying to convert these "heathens" to. What about all the evil that has been committed in the name of God (insert name here)? Don't know what I'm talking about? Look up all three inquisitions. "Kill them all, God will know his own!" was often the battle cry. Whether it's Fundamentalist Christianity,Fundamentalist Islam, Fundamentalist Judaism, or anything else "Fundamentalist", all the fundamentalist part means is that "We're the only ones that are right. Kill or Convert all others".
    Religion is as personal as the color underwear (or lack thereof) you choose to wear. If you are faithful to your God, fine. Observe your faith, but do not try to force others to observe it with you. Fred Phelps, how would you feel if Americans from every walk of life, and religious persuasion, began protesting you, and your followers every where you went? Would you cry that your 1st Amendment rights were being violated? Would you cry that you are being persecuted? How would it feel if one of your loved ones died, and people staged a protest at the funeral? How would it feel if protesters with signs reading : "God hates Bigots!" and "Religious Fundamentalism is Satan's work" were all around your church, and the cemetery? Loss of a loved one is always tragic, and a group using that painful event to advance their own beliefs makes it more so. Perhaps you should read your Bible. Christ taught compassion, not hatred. If Christ were to appear now, and see all the atrocities that have been committed in His name, I'm sure he would say "This is not what I taught. How could you stray from such a simple message? Personally, Fred, I think you're pretty damn close to being a fundamentalist jihaddist. Try to see and feel the compassion Christ taught instead of the hatred and venom that were not part of his teachings. Regardless of religion, or lack thereof, we all need more compassion for our fellow man, not less.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  2. a patriot

    what we should do is hold a public execution and either A- hang them B- shot them C- collect their heads my personal choice is C but thats just me these people think they know whats right when they treat those who serve like the enemy if it wasnt for those people they despise so much they wouldnt be able to promote this garbage of theirs so i say line them up in D.C. and kill them plain and simple send the kid members to military school and straiten them out the rest lop off their heads make an example of these filth

    September 19, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Sharia

      Hey bro! don't grin too much, Sharia is coming your way soon, then you will know.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  3. Lionstar

    When I lived in Topeka the members of the Westboro church were regularly seen with their pathetic signs protesting at the Washburn collage for no apparent reason other than to be oppositional to the community who would rather see the Phelps fools leave the state . In my opinion Fred Phelps and his deranged followers of false prophecy are not only an embarrassment to the decent people of Topeka, they are a embarrassment to the entire nation.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • a patriot

      ditto ^

      September 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm |

      They were protesting a COLLAGE?

      Or a COLLEGE?

      I'm really confused right now.

      If it was a COLLAGE, was it one you participated in the creation of? What was it about? What kind of theme did it have? Why did it make them angry?

      If it was a COLLEGE, then, you uh, probably didn't study there.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  4. Reality

    Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side (Westboro Baptist is beyond the odd side) believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man or his followers would do or say?

    September 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • bobbyjojohnson

      I love you. So much.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • .........

      spam alert hit report abuse on all reality posts

      September 20, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  5. pedro

    Dave Grohl gave me a guitar lesson once.....I still suck.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm |

      he is not the best of guitar players

      all he is really good at is power chords

      September 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • richard carter

      maybe you should have sucked more and he would have taught you more.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps it's because he's mainly a drummer.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  6. Courage

    But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life!

    September 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Stand up

      Standing up for truth is not always an easy!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
  7. Angela

    Genius! Protest the protesters. If you can't beat em, irritate them. Finally someone has thought of a way to get revenge on these nuts! We can do all kinds of things that irritate them rights outside their "church" and disrupt their lives just as they have torn the families of fallen vets, and we'll use the same laws that protect them to do it!!!

    September 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • scott

      someone make a website!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • guest

      I've been in a counter protest... there were 150 of us and two of them... it was awsome how many turned out! They were protesting a high school production of Laramie Project.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Flash


      But be VERY careful. A bunch of them are lawyers and will sue you for the slightest breach of the law - it's how they make their money!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Angela

      @Flash – this is true. However, they have sued people who have infringed on their 1st amendment rights, expanding the law for other protesters, who would have a reason to sue if their rights were infringed on.. That's the beauty of the plan. And @guest bravo! We just need to rub their noses in all the things they find most objectionable. Woooo hah hah!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Rick

      When old Freddie Phelps finally dies, hundreds of thousands should show up at his funeral. And, make his gravesite the public urinal

      September 20, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  8. Cleopatra

    in the court's eyes.. maybe they are in the right (some how I do not think so) that they can display signs at a funeral.. but in God's eyes.. this is very wrong.. people are mourning the death of a loved one.. a child of God's.. they have a right to their beliefs.. but the funeral is not the place, while people are down and out.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Maybe you could buy a clue, but I doubt it ...

      god doesn't have "eyes". However it detects what's happening, we don't know, but it does not have "eyes".

      September 19, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • None fo it matters anyway

      Religion is a fallacy anyway, so there is no one to not have eyes and to do this or that or blah blah blah anyway.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  9. Danielle

    God Love the Westoboro Baptist Church.......Someone has to.....

    God Bless America, God Bless our Soldiers who give these people the right to stand up and protest. Freedom comes at a price and sadly the price is being paid for their souls.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  10. M in Oz

    Attention seekers vs bigger attention seekers (tonight on the kick boxing channel)

    September 19, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  11. Tom

    Probably ought to go protest the Westboro church continuously at their home and then have signs and such when one of their family/members die.

    September 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Kenneth

      They should be followed relentlessly day and night, constantly heckled, and never allowed a moments peace. They will not change their ways, but they might have a wreck if they go long enough without sleep.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • scott

      Hrmm... It might work.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  12. Mr Princess Grillzs

    I got the grillz
    to pay the billz



    September 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  13. Ross

    People still pay attention to Westboro now?
    Everyone knows they're attention seekers, the trick is to not give them attention,

    September 19, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  14. Mr Princess Grillzs

    I'll poo on WBC!!!!

    I also like turtles.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  15. T Knox

    If the Westboro BC views are so correct, then how come the have so few followers...like only family members. Sounds like a backwoods group of loons that, on a stroke of luck, got some media attention once for something absurd they did and just keep running with it because they got that attention.
    It fits for any category, the extreme hard rocker, the attention seeking actor, the flamboyant wrestler, the fighting baseball player, the cross-dressing basketball player, the mouthy football player, etc. If they get some attention for doing it, they'll just continue to do it bigger and bigger to satisfy their need for attention (and need to stay relevant) and keep the watchers...watching.
    I wonder what an evening at the Westboro family house is like after all the preaching and plotting for attention is done. They probably just watch Lifetime movies, drink beer (or Jesus juice), and p for distance off the back porch.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Because few follow the path of righteousness.

      Logically, the majority will take the easy path because they lack courage and strength.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • T Knox

      @Mary Yeah, but when it is THAT few, then you must understand there's reason for some to have...skepticism, especially when it the message is all about negativity. Don't even bother with the courage and strength argument of people. That's a blanket statement of obscurity to try and cancel logical rebuttals. It doesn't really work.
      But, you are getting some attention (publicity) here, so, good on ya, I guess. lol
      Not everyone is going to agree on everything anyway in this world, whether it be religion or politics or what ice cream tastes best, no matter how hard you try to shove it down someone's throat. That can be a tough thing for some to accept, but that is, and through the history of mankind, has been reality.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Angela

      @Mary – yup it takes courage to hate. Jesus taught us how to hate each other and throw the first stone right? Good luck with that.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      Angela. If you wish to get into a bible quoting match, I'm more than happy to. You seem to have forgotten that there is more than one sentence in the bible. The others don't necessarily teach love, rather they voice the Lord's distaste for certain worldly things. There is punishment for these activities.

      For example: Leviticus 20:13

      Jesus taught us many things, but one thing He did not teach us was to ignore the old law. Today's so-called Christians have been fooled into believing that Jesus abolished the old testament, but in reality, he did not. We are required to follow these teachings. We are required to abide by these laws.

      Why have Christians been fooled? The devil has led our evangelical leaders into the pastures of secularism to graze like lambs to the slaughter. Christians no longer abide by the laws of the Word because they do not read it. They listen only to the words of their leaders. If only their leaders would walk the true paths of righteousness!

      If only more would have the strength and courage to do the same!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Courage


      Well articulated!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Sigh

      I always wonder if the Leviticus folk hang out in other topics denouncing the other Biblical abominations or if they just pick The Easy Target. I've never seen them posting anywhere else; never see them protesting outside Red Lobster for example. But, hey, maybe they may want to partake from time to time so they don't want to infringe on their desire to pick & choose.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      You'd better be picketing Red Lobster, Mary, because eating shellfish is just as bad as being gay. Also you shouldn't try to speak as an authority of christianity, because for a woman to do that is a sin as well. You had better obey every single law given in the bible, even if it's inconvenient or unfair, or else you are simply a hypocrite.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  16. Dot8

    This backyard church should not be in existence, they should shut it down and send all members to a psychiatric care facility.

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

      That's right. Take away freedom of religion. I imagine you'd like me to drink from a different water fountain since I probably have a different skin color as well. Way to move backwards. You speak of progression, but using regressive methods. You seriously need to rethink your logic.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Religion

      Religion breeds hate and separatism. The world would be better off without people who believe in imaginary men who live in the sky.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • stejo

      Mary, a few posts ago you said only God can judge, and yet you're still here judging, so shut the f up already.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      .....and when exactly did I say anywhere that I was passing judgment?

      I will not shut up. It is my right to speak my mind as you have so eloquently done by being vulgar.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Courage


      Right on, you are the only one that is speaking the truth and have the courage to say so.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • stejo

      Oh Mary, I like how you judged me while saying you aren't judging. And you're right, I am being vulgar, but I just wanted to entice you to judge me...hehehe. It worked!

      September 19, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      How have I judged? By commenting on your post? It was an observation.

      For me to judge you would be by proclaiming you guilty of some mortal sin. For this I have not done. I find humor in people making assumptions about what judgment really means when they in fact have no idea.

      I believe what you're attempting to do is get a rise out of me. Thus far, you have not succeeded, nor will you ever. You may continue to do as you so please but believe me when I say this, you are wasting your time. On the same token, you are only lowering your own outward appearance to all of the people here you are trying to impress.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      It is sad but true that these horrible people are protected by the consti-tution. That is the price we pay for freedom. These most repugnant, malicious individuals are protected.. They are bad people. I hope they are subjected to the pain to which they subject others.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  17. sansdieux

    I'm an atheist and even I know the imaginary god thingie hates bigots.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Kenneth

      I am a Christian and I would rather you voice your personal belief system than these freaks. They are the American Taliban, without the guts to blow themselves up..

      September 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Flash

      Kenneth: "...without the guts to blow themselves up."

      They can't afford to - there are fewer than 75 of them. They even have to take their little kids along to carry protest placards.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  18. Tom

    The best way to deal with Westboro Baptist Church protesters is to hand out Christian tracts to them explaining how they may be saved.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Spiffy


      September 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      They are already Christian.

      I fail to see the logic in your post. They are following a more strict standard by abiding more closely to the teachings of the bible than most are capable of doing.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      I love it Tom.

      Mary, your religion is one of hate and malice. You are exactly what is wrong with religion.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  19. David

    Never been a huge fan of The Foo Fighters, but after this, I have much respect for them!

    September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  20. Sweet666

    Dave Grohl = Awesome.

    September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • Beelzebubba

      Awesomely mundane and lacking in talent.

      September 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I agree, Sweet.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:23 am |
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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.