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. Norman Oliver Gordon Octavius Douglas Sherman

    This story is why people should not be allowed to choose their own religion. All religions are WRONG. There are no gods. Science will show us what the universe is and what it is made of, religion will not. There are no gods and jesus never existed other than an ideal to how man should act. Notice how women are left out of the whole humanity? If you are a woman and believe in god I question your whole existence. The bible has relegated women to the proverbial "back of the bus" why would you support a system that makes you appear as nothing more than a means to the mans toil? Reality is out there for us to accept, and the acceptance has to be that we are finite and that we are no governed by any other being but our selves. Wake up people! There are no gods! jesus is was and will always be a lie!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  2. No More

    People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
    The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  3. Chris

    Unfortunately, we make these people feel relevant by talking about them. If they kept protesting, and no one said anything, then they would probably fade into obscurity. But unfortunately, we keep feeding these delusional attention-starved trolls.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  4. Mathilda

    Why are Americans so obsessed with this church? USA has more problems than this church does. Americans need proper education so they won't get addicted to Westboro.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • senseicg

      Nothing a 50 cal bullet to the brain can't fix!

      September 20, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  5. Tessa

    I used to get mad about the WBC. They're clearly awful human beings by nearly every standard. The thing is though, they use a ton of rhetoric and emotions to express a "message", but it's really just bait to get people to sue them. Then they win the case and make big money, and they go on to do more hateful things.

    If you want to stop the cycle, ignore them or peacefully counter-protest. Just don't touch them or sue them, because though they condemn Americans to hell or whatever, they go hide behind the skirts of the first amendment whenever they can. Just remember, they're in it for the money. They're a limited group of people who primarily fall under one man's family. Like most cult leaders, he probably doesn't buy into his own rhetoric, just the power and the money. Ignore the bad behavior and don't reward it with attention or money, and they'll move on. They're a group of narrow-minded, petulant two year olds.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  6. hustlenflo

    Jesus never told anyone to start a church.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • hustlenflo

      ... and now we know why.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Mathilda

      Jesus established the Church. He said a nation like USA is doomed.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • misskitty

      Mathilda, I don't recall any mention of the U.S.A. in the bible. Do you stand really close to the microwave when it is running? Perhaps it's that and or too much inbreeding that goes on in your family.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • JF


      Jesus established the Church.

      I hate to break the news to you, but Jesus was a Jew. He went to the Temple. The Church was established long after he was gone by people who never knew him. There is nothing in the NT that Jesus said unless it is by pure coincidence. Jesus was illiterate and so were his disciples. Nothing that Jesus said was written down. No one bothered to do it. It was the people that wrote the NT decades and centuries after Jesus was gone that established the Church.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Norman Oliver Gordon Octavius Douglas Sherman

      I hate to break it to YOU but jesus never existed, he was a concept. . . nothing more.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • JF


      The majority of scholars disagree with you. He probably did exist, but so did David Koresh.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:51 am |
  7. BevoTexas

    I'm agnostic and I want to beat the holy hell out of these people. Great job by the Foo's – love those guys.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  8. Norman Gordon Oliver Donald Silvester

    I do not believe in god, I do not believe in jesus, I think it would be fun to do a drive by egging at the next westboro church protest. Any one interested?

    September 20, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  9. AO1JMM

    That church and the people who attend it are disgusting. They should have their citizenship revoked and their classification as human downgraded to monkey, and thats an insult to monkies.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Norman Gordon Oliver Donald Silvester

      you are a monkey to, in ways you will never let yourself understand.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      I think slug is a better downgrade for them...monkeys tend to be cute and intelligent...these people are neither

      September 20, 2011 at 4:40 am |
  10. AO1JMM

    Mary Hillsbrough
    You are fruitier than a bowl of fruit loops. Westborough Baptist are a bunch of ignorant fools attempting to force their religious views onto others.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  11. PFC Gabriel

    You can't lump all Christians in with these people. Whether you do or do not believe in God, is your right, but when you think of Christians, Don't throw all of in one pot.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  12. Chris

    If any of them so much as think of protesting a soldier's funeral in Arkansas they will quickly be taught some respect by some not so very friendly people.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      video please

      September 20, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  13. Fox Mulder

    Keep on fighting the Foo! You guys rock!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  14. Guest

    This is why I dont believe in god or free speech

    September 20, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  15. Donovan

    I would vote for Rick Perry if he sent these people straight to prison, via an executive order

    September 20, 2011 at 12:24 am |
  16. Chick

    When did freedom of speech become the right of the secularists???

    September 20, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Sharia

      Would hate to see a time when it is too too late to turn back to God.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • lulz

      yea zeus is going to be pretty mad when he finds out everyone converted over to the monotheistic religions. Oh well, it'll be the pits of tartarus for you!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Sorry? You can't possibly be serious? Freedom of speech is a basic human right!! What the WBC is doing is beyond the norm and by the way, they are not considered secularists...they are considered christian whether they act it or not.

      Maybe you should consider the following before making such dumba$$ statements:

      Secularism as a modern political and consti.tutional principle involves two basic propositions. The first is that people belonging to different faiths and sections of society are equal before the law, the Const.itution and government policy. The second requirement is that there can be no mixing up of religion and politics.

      freedom of speech-
      the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitement to violence or rebellion, etc.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:50 am |
    • Chick

      TP-You didn't get it, did ya?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  17. joyce

    Religion is a tool used by mankind to subvert and pressure other people to believe as they do. That statement is proven throughout history, all around the world. Faith, is inspired by whatever you decide works for you!
    If the WBC decides that they would rather sow dissension, discord, and strife, then peace, understanding, and compassion, then they have no one but themselves to blame for the result.
    Simple law of Physics! For every action there is an equal and opposing reaction! You reap what you sow! You get what you give!

    Question I have is this

    . If this is such a Godless, Doomed, Spiritually Hollow Country, then why is the WBC still here?

    Can't be to save the countries virtue as once that's gone, it's pretty much unrecoverable.
    Can't be to save our souls as that is not anyone's job but the original owner of said soul.
    Can't be to sacrifice their individual happiness for the greater good as that is a contradiction.
    Maybe one of the reasons they are still in this country is Self Aggrandizement!!
    The all enveloping need of Ego!
    If that is even slightly the case, then they have put their individual, human needs ahead of the needs of their beliefs.
    Religion has always been hypocritical! They appear to be the most flamboyant example though.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  18. Curtis The Mailman

    Guess I need to buy the Foo Fighter's library of music now. Thanks guys!!! Westboro, go home, please. Just go. Now.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  19. garrett4538

    Man these people are ridiculous! Where do they get all the money to travel everywhere they do? I cant imagine anyone donating to these people. Its okay, let them live their lives with hate and when they are before god (whoever he is) they will see the error of their ways. This is what makes our country so beautiful. We are not stooping to their level with violence instead we come together with love so everyone sees how stupid they are. If we could only come together like this to change Washington. Now that would really be something.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      The Lord provides funds for the work that they do. He will always provide for those doing His work.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • garrett4538

      Mary you fired from life. It makes me sad to see how you can sympathize with this crap. Man I love my life! How can you hate yours so much as well as the people in it? I will pray for you because you are truly lost and have no idea how to be human. I am so glad I am not like you. Beside cant you see that these rigid tactics turn people away from god? Why am i even responding? This crap doesn't even deserve my precious attention.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • misskitty

      Hey Mary, Which d!ck tastes better, your father's or your brother's?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Know What

      "Where do they get all the money to travel everywhere they do?"

      In one of the most chicken-sh!t ways possible - they sue people.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • The Lord Jesus

      Mary Hillsbrough,

      You and that satan filled church do not speak for me and shall be babtised in a bath of razorblades and salt.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Mary Hillsbrough
      The Lord provides funds for the work that they do. He will always provide for those doing His work."

      a) if this so called lord provides the funds then it also best start paying taxes! can we get him on tax evasion please?
      b) WBC is not doing the work of anyone but themselves. They are damaging to society.

      please go back to your ward now, they are waiting with your meds

      September 20, 2011 at 4:58 am |
  20. graciegal

    Why the F are they protesting the people that died at the airshow?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!

    September 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Ptolomaeus

      I'm sure it's the same reason they protest soldier's funerals for. Just something else to hijack and use as their platform, graciegal. Small-minded, heartless fundamentalists like this don't care about the pain they cause, only pushing their message on the mainstream media. We should be thankful they don't use beheadings on video or car bombings to push their message.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • Moses

      There is no rhyme or reason to the things they chose to "protest", they just look for a bigger platform each time. There is nothing the subjects of their protests can do or could have done to prevent whatever is under the Westboro Church's skin, it makes absolutely no sense to target these funerals and other things they choose to show up for. They just do it for the controversy. They claim that they are preaching the "hate of God" whereas they are really just preaching the "hate of Westboro". It is only their word, not God's word. Nowhere in the bible does it say that God hates dead soldiers. They have hijacked religion as a means to get away with what they are doing.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Moses

      Meant to say there is nowhere in the bible does it say that God loves dead soldiers. They made that up themselves.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • misskitty

      Because they're stupid!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • eville_11

      national media attention...

      September 20, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      ignorance is bliss...you can't change stupid and these delusional slugs will use any excuse to waste valuable time and tax payer dollar

      September 20, 2011 at 5:00 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.