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. Tony

    Only in America can a bunch of idiots run around defaming other Americans and say it's OK cause we are " Christians".

    September 21, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  2. Mathilda

    The Westboro won since Americans pay attention to them. CNN thinks it's amusing; the liberals always mock the religious. At the end, the future generations and foreigners will talk about how immoral today's liberal Americans were and will acknowledge the blasphemy was the direct cause of the downfall of the Great America.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • tboyinhouston

      Take your meds please

      September 21, 2011 at 3:54 am |
  3. atomD21

    The best thing we can do in regards to the Phelps hate squad is to ignore them. I can understand just how impossible that seems when they are rejoicing in the death of your family member outside the funeral. If it were me, I'd want to run them over with a truck... That being said, the less attention they get from everyone, the sooner they'll fade into the ether. Stop suing them, they'll win. Don't protest back, that emboldens the idiots. Just walk by like they're not there.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  4. CSX

    Idiots meeting idiots. The WBC is somewhat right in that he is punishing America and should do more.

    Sodomy is a filthy wicked dirty aids infested act, and the sperm deserves better than that. But the WBC attack on the military is unwarranted.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  5. Brett Shaff

    The greatest of all sins is to cast your evil upon the face of God.
    To ascribe to Him the darkness in your own heart.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Joe


      September 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • correction

      The greatest evil is to think there is a god when there is no such thing.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • CSX

      Sodomites everywhere and many who do not believe in God. And they wonder why our country is in so much trouble.

      The greatest sin is to denyJesus as your Saviour, sin is just the symptoms of having the wrong master.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Al

      sin is just the symptoms of having the wrong master.

      Why do you want to be a slave? The god of the Bible is not good. Why are religious people so joyous about being or becoming a slave to such an evil deity?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  6. Coco

    I wonder why Westboro Baptist doesn't protest adultry and fornication, etc.. at a Lil Wayne, Snoop Dog or a Boosie concert?? Hmmmmm (church lady voice)

    September 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  7. cb

    Westboro Baptist Church spreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, with abusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. This is not a church, this is a hate group. This is not about protesting, freedom, or God. They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They are not a "church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can get them in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam to end.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • SaneMan


      September 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  8. 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 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      I hate that I know who P, M, M, L & J are.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Wiggles

      Because that man is God

      September 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      God, Mother Goose, same thing. All ancient fairy tales.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • bigDizzle

      sayeth wiggles unto you

      September 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • .........

      spam alert hit report abuse on all reality garbage posts

      September 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Drum roll please

      And the Oscar for the most annoying reply to a Reality post goes to ............

      September 21, 2011 at 3:43 am |
  9. mikey


    Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone in the bible.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  10. John Richardson

    @Chuckles Fair enough!

    @JW I doubt it. The zen people are about the least "supernaturally oriented" of spiritual groups. If there are groups that have made buddha out to be a god, it's probably sects that just kinda grafted buddhist figures onto pre-existing religions.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • J.W

      Well maybe I am thinking of another group. I know there are groups that do though. Maybe they are just certain sects.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  11. Karl Marx

    I fling poo on you. That is what I stand for after all.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • dg

      Ahhhh, Mr. Hanky is God.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  12. DamianKnight


    Oh I definitely believe there are rewards in Heaven for good works. Those are the crowns people are given. However, I think one has to get the free pass first. In other words, you can't receive your Oscar if you're not invited to the ceremony.

    All in all, it's not my job to judge (and praise God for that!) I believe He will use his own criteria and those criteria will ultimately be fair and just.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Ack, that was supposed to be in another thread. Forgot to hit reply. Nothing to see here, carry on, carry on.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Slow down that mouse clicking, your causing chaos in this otherwise orderly forum.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Hahahahahaha! Yeah, as organized as a sh.t fight between monkeys at the zoo, right, William?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  13. Al

    Jesus preached to love one another, not to discriminate.

    Apparently all other Christians failed to get this memo because the vast majority of them discriminate.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Deltamike

      Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
      Luke 5:44
      -Nowhere in the Gospel account does Jesus say he loves dead soldiers...

      *both parties are wrong

      September 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • AKA

      Hmmm...where'd you get that undoubtedly accurate statistic from? And is the other part of the implication here that non-Christians do not discriminate? Or that the percentage of those who do is different between Christians and non-Christians?

      I'm guessing that your statistic is one of the 95% that are made up. Although, I would be more than happy to see your source if you can provide it.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I submit the very religion itself is discriminatory.

      I can't even refuse to rent an apartment to a Christian, but Christianity intends to deny salvation and sentence non believers to hell?

      How exactly can one be MORE discriminatory?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    @ Chuckles i think you are misunderstanding "the buddha" as a role it plays in buddhism... the buddha is not only one man, it is anyone who reachs true enlightenment. the purpose of buddha's teachings is to help those on the path of enlightenment, they are not rules to follow. However they do have rules but they only pertain to the monastary of those monks, each monastary has its own rules... the only constant rule is to mediate on the infinite, clear your mind of all thoughts and be one with the universe...if you can. now there is one thing about buddhism you do HAVE to take on faith, reincarnation... however science can ( atleast attemp) to explain that – the law of conservation of matter... energy can not be created nor can it be destoryed...a.k.a. – energy is the true "soul" if you will which gets reincarnated. so there is no god or higher power, but there is a higher plain of conscienciness... that is also found in near every eastern belief system weather religion or not. please anyone correct me if my understanding of buddhism is off or just plain wrong.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • James

      So if I believe the path to enlightenment means stealing for my benefit so I can acquire vast goods, is that ok? Hey, it's my path to enlightenment, and nobody can determine what that path is right?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • John Richardson

      You might want to check out a less busy path, James. So many people on yours the traffic is a nightmare. At least try to travel during off peak hours.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @james you should know there is a difference between the words smart and intelligent... just as the words wrong and bad have different meanings... gaining anything for personal gain is nothing for one must realize that this life is only temp. the energy that makes you is eternal... and thus the only arguement for the existence of a soul... and it makes it sad that i am the only one to have stated it... the non believer that i am!

      September 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I think you are thinking of only one sect of buddhism (mahayana I believe) that does hold that anyone who reaches nirvana or enlightenment will become a buddha, however both sects agree, THE buddha was an indian prince named siddhartha who gave up his material wealth in order to sit and meditate in poverty for the rest of his days. He was a real person (in so much as Jesus was as well) and acheived near supernatural status after he acheived enlightenment. The division in buddhism that creates sects is that some believe the buddha left only his teachings behind and other buddhas who have also followed the path were able to use those teachings to also reach enlightenment. Others people that the buddha reached nirvana but chose instead to come back into the reincarnation cycle in order to help others acheive enlightement, and will keep doing so until everyone is gone and he can turn out the light so to speak. All the buddhas since siddhartha have actually just been an incarnation of the original over and over again.

      I think you failed to understand what the path to enlightenment means. You have to remove yourself from the incarnation cycle so it means you can't have any material wealth to keep you here nor can you gain karma (both good and bad). That's why monks sit in silent meditation in monastaries that are usually poor. The less attachement you have to the physical world, the easier it will be to gain enlightenment.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • hippypoet

      chuckles, you may be right about which sect believes what but i have never bothered with such things, i go straight to the first buddha for his teachings and then the first school of thought that followed him as a man and the buddha....much like i do for a proper arguement against the worship of christ which is idol worship at its simpliest... and at best i believe that any follower should know as much as they can about the faith they chose to give there lives over to.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • John Richardson


      I may be going out too far on this old limb here, but I think YOU failed to recognize sarcasm in James's reply. Either way, your are making a gratuitous as-sumption that the buddhist conception of enlightenment is genuine at all, let alone the ONLY genuine conception of enlightenment.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Poe's Law sometimes gets the best of me! Also, what I stated is the buddhist idea, not mine. Right or wrong, that's what they believe and they not only believe but they know, just like a christian knows god exists, buddhists know the only way to get to enlightenment is to break out of the cycle of samsara (reincarnation) so they can untie their spirit from their bodies and leave the material world behind. Whether that is how you do it, or if any of it is true is irrelevant at the moment, if you want to discuss the inner workings of a religion or discuss the theology of it, you have to agree with anyone else your discussing it with that their premis, foundation, whatever you want to call, is real or rather, you have to agree that the believer believes these things are real.


      Agree with you on pretty much everything, but if you go straight to The Buddha and the direct outcome that flowered into a religion, many people believed then, as they do now, that Buddha gets about as close to being a god as a person can get without being called god. I think it's agreed throughout todays modern buddhism as well as the first stages of buddhism that the Buddha was supernatural, which is why I think Buddhism falls into being a religion rather than just a philosophy. Its the same reason Confucianism falls into being a philosophy and not a reilgion because Confucius was never and is not thought to be anything more than a very smart philospher, there's nothing to be attributed to him that elevates him above just another person.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @ chuckles ... no, buddha is not nor was he ever viewed by his followers as supernatural... he battled supernatural forces, but was just man... buddhism is a belief system without a center god or higher power, some people claim to worship buddha as there personal god but thats different... this is the most important thing about buddhism that makes this discussion nearly pointless, the foundation of buddhism is based upon the accecpted fact that many people have religious beliefs and this will not interact with them as this is nothing more then a pholosphy about how to function day to day.. not live, big difference.. and to finish off here, the first buddha himself was hindu.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I know that the buddha was a hindu as much as jesus was a jew, clearly they weren't their own religion. I guess what I'm getting at is two-fold. First I would say in order to fight the supernatural (an win no less) you yourself have to be supernatural, or as close to supernatural while still trying to be grounded in realism.

      I think treating Buddhism like a philosophy and less like a religion gives it carte blanche to keep having people go out and proseltyze ( I suck as spelling this word) and convert. Buddhism I think is the 3rd largest "religion" and on par with christianity and islam in the way that it prostlyzes and converts people, its just that we westerners are more concerned with whats going on on our side of the world that I think buddhism flies below the radar so to speak. Personally I think its as insidious as chirstianity in the sense that it basically tells people to withdraw from this world, to try and cut off ties in order to cut down on karma. Sure, try to be good because good karma can come your way just as being bad brings bad karma, but the ultimate goal is to have no karma

      September 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • J.W

      Actually I believe that Zen Buddhists do believe Buddha as a God, but not the regular Buddhists.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      k, i think we pretty much have an understanding, however i feel the need to correct one thing about your last post... yes the first buddha was hindu, but jesus was not a practicing jew.. he was a jew by blood... being a jew and being jewish are different things... ones a culture while the other is a religion...

      September 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I'm a recovering jew myself, so I know the difference. However, Jesus was actually a rabbi, he was most certainly a practicing jew, it's just that he took truely believed (if the bible can be believed) that since he was actually god incarnate he could start tweaking the teachings, which is why he was such a rebel with the rest of the jewish community.

      I do understand the difference though, I'm a jew but I'm not jewish anymore.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ahhh, you are right, i totally forgot that he was a rabbi... i knew that once.. perhaps i HAVE had 1 too many drugs...lol. thank you for the convo. it was enjoyible. i rather enjoy conversations on religion that don't end up in a silly name calling event.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Thomas

    WBC pastors have not read the scriptures or they are interpreting it the wrong way. Jesus preached to love one another, not to discriminate. We all have free agency to choose for ourselves. It is not ours to judge – vengenance is mine was the response Jesus gave.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Flash


      There is ONE "pastor" of this fewer-than-75-member "church". He is an insane, sadistic tyrant who literally beat and abused his 13 children into submission (a few have recovered and left as adults). The remaining children reproduced prolifically and Bam!, you have his "church" of severely damaged (albeit otherwise fairly intelligent and educated) brains.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Actually....

      The Bible has MANY instances of hatred, discrimination...most "Christians" avoid those parts of the bible (Leviticus, Deuteronomy are the two most hating books in the bible) Westboro seems to focus on ONLY those parts.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • madoc


      Jesus constantly berates those who adhered to the old law (AKA pharisees and the rest of the ilk) and says that through him the old laws were dead. The levitical laws were also a pretty big health guide to the life of that time (Alot of the food items they banned carry parasites. many of the unclean rules prevented disease ((IE don't touch women after birth for 7 days to protect the child after word from diseases that its immunity system may not be able to handle). Also, most of the battles that you see and read are byproducts of what happened in Genesis (Lot of back stabbing to make Israel the battle happy clan that it was back then). The eldest son lost what was rightfully his through trickery, and it made him angry to all things. This transcribed to his portion of the tribes around the twelve tribes (AKA Iran, Palestine, etc). Maybe if you actually read the book that contributes to the religion you want to bash, your arguments might make sense.

      Also, for those who say Atheism is a nonviolent religion (the belief that there isn't a god is a religion in of itself), two people come to mind... Gengis Khan and Attila the Hun. Attila had no faith, as did most of the hunnic tribes in the old age. What did they do? Destroy most of the Holy Roman Empire in a few years. Ghengis Khan didn't have faith either, what did he do? Killed so many that they were actually able to build a wall that can be seen from orbit. Explain that please?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  16. Really?

    @anchorite – Clearly you cant read or haven't read the boards.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Truth

    After scrolling the religious boards for some time now; I have come to recognize the following:

    1) Atheists are angry people and make up ~70% of posters. Belittling and attacking people on personal issues doesn't win you much fervor.
    2) Both atheists and Christians are hypocritical, as is every person on this planet at some point or another. Difference being; Christians claim to be imperfect with the need for forgiveness, atheists don't admit to any problems and act as if their behavior is superior to all others.
    3) Neither believer or atheist will ever convince the other one that they are right on these boards. True soul searching is done on one's own and certainly not on a CNN message board
    4) The majority of posters are not very intelligent on either side. The Christians say their standard argument as do the atheists, each never delving into much detail.

    Good day all.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Such a small sampling and such broad conclusions?

      I expect more depth from my youngest.

      Perhaps further observation might put some substance in your bluster?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, that was a bunch of useless verbiage. Anyone who uses a handle like "truth" is all but guaranteed to have at best a weak grip on actual truth.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Truth

      @John – So you're judging one's intelligence based on their name? That seems smart.....

      September 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Not so much intelligence as intellectual integrity.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Geekalot


      After scrolling the religious boards for some time now; I have come to recognize the following:

      1) Atheists are angry people and make up ~70% of posters. Belittling and attacking people on personal issues doesn't win you much fervor.
      2) Both atheists and Christians are hypocritical, as is every person on this planet at some point or another. Difference being; Christians claim to be imperfect with the need for forgiveness, atheists don't admit to any problems and act as if their behavior is superior to all others.
      3) Neither believer or atheist will ever convince the other one that they are right on these boards. True soul searching is done on one's own and certainly not on a CNN message board
      4) The majority of posters are not very intelligent on either side. The Christians say their standard argument as do the atheists, each never delving into much detail.

      I politely dispute your claim that most atheists are angry people. As an atheist I can assure you that I dislike rude posts and most the atheists I know are very nice and intelligent people.

      What I have noticed is that atheists are no longer willing to sit quietly and let the God-talkers use up all the oxygen in a conversation. So yeah, we probably are somewhat agressive these days, and this leads some to be overstep. But ask yourself if you can honestly say an avowed atheist would have any chance if he/she were to run for President. I think we both know the answer is no. Why? Because religious indoctrination teaches folks to distrust non-believers, even goes so far as to say that without religion (preferably one's own) a person cannot have a well defined sense of morals. This assertion is absurd, but very prevalent.

      One of the major frustrations for atheists stems from how they view the world. Atheists strive to use logic, reason and open-minded study of the natural world to understand how things really work. Many religionists insist on starting any query by cracking open their favored holy book and then bending over backward to force science to fit with what they read in their book. And if the science clearly shows data that differs from some portion of the holy book, then it is the science that is wrong...period. But, in truth, it isn't the science, is it? sure, sometimes data is inconclusive, but overall, human knowledge is expanding, largely due to science.

      I have said it before on this blog and I will say it again now: I think every person has the right to choose what to believe or to believe nothing, so long as the belief does not directly harm another person or attempt to force others to convert or prevent people from changing their minds.


      September 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • think for yourself

      1) "Atheists are angry people"
      The atheists I know are very peaceful people. We just get tired of seeing how much influence that a 2,000 year old collection of myths has on society. Politicians calling for public prayers, trying to corrupt science classes with these myths, all the "i am second" signs all over the highway, newscasts interviewing survivors of disasters thanking god for "choosing" them to survive over the countless others that die (and no thanks to the rescuers and doctors that really saved them), etc.
      2)"...Christians claim to be imperfect".
      Christians believe they, and they alone, know the "word of truth". There are thousands of different bibles from different religions, but only theirs is correct. Don't believe so and get damned to eternal fire. Atheists see the lies in religion, but admit that science does not have all the answers (yet).
      3) "Neither believer or atheist will ever convince the other one that they are right on these boards"
      This is probably true. Most Christians are so severely brainwashed that no amount of evidence against their belief will change their views. They don't need any evidence of their beliefs, only blind faith and a 2,000 year old book that has been revised countless times.
      However, if you show an atheist one spec of proof, he/she would concede.
      4) "The majority of posters are not very intelligent on either side".
      Nobody was around to see how life came about. All we can do is rely on the tangible evidence that we have. There is an abundance of scientific evidence that supports evolution, but it does not of course explain everything (yet). A 2,000 year old collection of stories is not proof.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Lots of Christians claim that they and only they will escape eternal torture and are all sorts of cool with that, indeed, often downright giddy about it, and actually worship the deity who they think set up this system. That is surely one of THE sickest mindsets one can possibly take either to oneself, to others or to any notion of divinity worthy of the name.

      People like this person who calls himself "truth" also assume that if you enunciate any position contrary to their own with any force whatsoever, you must be "angry". I see that in regular life as well, Question some halfwitted common certi-tude and refuse to back down just because everyone gasps and you're treated like you're the next best thing to a ax murderer. Just because something someone says upsets your smug little mental applecart and this upsets you, that doesn't mean that the person was going out of their way to hurt you. They are just claiming their own right to believe differently and, no, they don't owe it to you to make nice, nice and pretend to agree to make you feel better any more than you owe it to them. Get over yourself.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Truth

      @John R – Pretty sure you just proved point #1 as true. LOL.

      @thinkforyourself – "However, if you show an atheist one spec of proof, he/she would concede." -–This simply is not true in the slightest form. There's plenty of evidence out there in support, however you just automatically dismiss it because it doesn't support your predetermined notion.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Truth Well, my point #1 is that Christian beliefs in hell and who does and does not go there and why are totally sick and repugnant. Not sure that I PROVED my thesis, though I do consider it fairly self-evident to any person with an ounce of genuine decency in them.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @ john r

      check out the gospel of nicodemus... it speaks directly about hell and the first mentions of an afterlife. oh and sry if i can't spell correctly, please just deal with it as i have to as well.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Truth

      @John R – Christianity does not call on us Christians to determine who is/isn't going to hell. I should not judge, nor will I. It DOES however say that we all deserve hell, but only Jesus' free, selfless, loving gift is what gives us the option to enter heaven.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yes, "Truth", that's the typical Christian line. And it's idiotic. NOBODY deserves eternal torture. And to say that all and only those who but into some rather silly doctrine will escape hell is ludicrous.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • The Lord

      After scrolling the religious boards for some time now; I have come to recognize the following:

      1) Atheists don't endlessly judge the moral convictions of others in order to feel "high and mighty" about themselves.
      2) Christians claim to be imperfect with the need for forgiveness, then beat you over the head with god, damnation and a bunch of other self-righteous sh.t...whereas atheists respond by trying to shove the same self-righteous b.s. down the christian's throat in more of a "see how stupid this looks when you don't have an imaginary man in the sky to hide behind?" context. If you can't pick up on this less-than-subtle irony, good luck interpreting the bible.
      3) Neither believer or atheist will ever convince the other one that they are right on these boards. True soul searching is done on one's own...or you can search your brain and take a steaming dump on the whole argument (the aforementioned passtime of the atheist).
      4) The majority of posters are not very intelligent on either side. The Christians say their standard argument as do the atheists, each never delving into much detail. Details like "hey, where are all the shining examples of atheists spreading MASS HATE, in light of the abundance of so many Christian examples?"

      So sayeth the Lord.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Mary Hillsbrough

      The Lord is just and jealous. All sinners WILL find torment and agony for their transgressions. Atheists are WRONG. All of them need to get off their high horses and go to church. Without Jesus they are condemned.

      The bible is proof and evidence of God. It's words were written by him through His chosen people.

      The bible does not contain a single contradiction and is the only religious text known to man that does not contain contradictions or mistakes. Take a look for yourself and see. I have not met a single atheist capable of providing evidence of a single imperfection in the Word of God. How do you explain that atheists? What about the bible code? How do you explain that? Just coincidence?

      Look at all that is happening around us! These times are coming to a close. The prophecies will be fulfilled and you will be left in the wake of the tribulation. Then, you will be sorry and repent but my God will not listen to you. Your cries of sorrow will fall upon deaf ears. All of us Christians have been warning sinners for two thousand years. It's about time for you to be judged. I will be in heaven. Where will YOU be?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  18. Anchorite

    The issue here is not whether atheism is a religion (obviously, it's not), but whether WBC is even a church. All they are is a family run industry that tries to get physically assaulted on public property so they can sue the owners with deep pockets for not protecting their civil rights. Basically they make a mockery of the freedoms the soldiers they insult died for. Their victims should use the same laws and sue the daylights out of them for libel, see how they like being on the receiving end of a lawsuit for once, or for the next 400 years.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Accidents happen.

      Let us pray!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Who are you praying to William? You are becoming religious now I see.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I would say WBC is a church, in the purest definition. One of the definitions of "church" by Merriam-Webster is ": a body or organization of religious believers"

      However, I'd also say they are a cult. Using the same source, ": a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents "

      I think we can all say that WBC's beliefs are "unorthodox" from mainstream Christianity, and that's being as nice as I can possibly be about describing their beliefs.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree Damian. I do not see how they can turn such a minor issue into what they have.. Unfortunately there are probably some people who agree with them.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • William Demuth


      I am praying that one Christian nut will kill another.

      All the zealots letting this dirtbag drag JC through the mud.

      If he were MY God, I would have whacked this WBC nut ages ago.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • J.W

      They probably deserve it William. I believe that Jesus preached non-violent resistance, like Gandhi. The important thing is to just make people aware that these people are wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • William Demuth


      So in your church does Ghandi go to hell?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • J.W

      I personally do not believe that he would William. My church does not really have a set view of hell as a place where people burn forever. I do not believe that there is a hell like that. I think the hell was referring to the pagan ritual of sacrificing bodies by burning them. Personally I think that some will go to heaven and some will remain in the grave, but I think it is possible for non-Christian to go to heaven, if they are a good person.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Wow, thats quite agnostic of you.

      Becarefull, some of your own would kill you for believing that!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • J.W

      Well I cannot claim to know exactly what will happen. From what I have seen what I looked into the thoughts on hell that view seemed to make the most sense to me. The word Sheol is used several times which means either grave or abyss. The earliest possible reference to hell as we think of it is at the very end of Isaiah. There was a place called the valley of Hinnom which was used for sacrificing bodies. I am bad with Bible verses but I believe it says something about the worm not dying. That seems to indicate bodies being left to be eaten by worms. The Bible says those who believe in Jesus Christ will be save, but also says we will be judged according to what we have done, and faith without works is dead. Based on these things, my view of the afterlife makes sense in my opinion.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • hippypoet


      well to be true to the book of evil... the first mention of hell is when jesus...joshua goes to the after lfe to free all the souls trapped there... he does this because he is creating the kindom of heaven, for which he now has a place for these good people to go... so one can conclude that before this point there was just an afterlife to which we ALL went to the same place. gospel of nicodemus sry i can't spell

      September 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jeff

      Well, the reality is Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

      What this means is, it is impossible for you to get to God except through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world on that cross and atoned for those sins. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".. which means, to be forgiven of your sins and get in to right relationship with God, you have to accept Jesus Christ.. Being good, acting good, doing good things, saying your Christian, being born in to a Christian/Catholic Family or even going to church, does nothing for you until you do what Romans 10:9 says and you accept him as your lord and savior. So, with that having been said, if you have rejected him, you have rejected the payment he made for you.. which means you have no salvation... which means eternal separation from God. This also means Ghandi is most likely not with God but would also mean Mother Teresa would not be either if she had not accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. What's more, it doesn't matter if you don't believe, it changes nothing. Part of our commission is to tell unbelievers the truth.. what they do with it is not our responsibility.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      A couple of questions for you. What is Jesus speaking of, when he speaks of "destruction." In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus states, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

      Also, you stated that good works can get you to Heaven. But Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Can you extrapolate your thoughts on good works redeeming a person to Heaven?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • J.W

      But did Jesus come to save the whole world, or only those who believe in him? As Jesus was being crucified he said "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" referring the the people who had tortured and crucified him.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • JF


      Who knows what Jesus really said no one bothered to write it down. Men wrote Jesus' words decades and centuries after he was gone. There is another verse in the Bible that says just the opposite, that it's good deeds that will get you into heaven. I would give it to you but I don't have the time to look it up. There are many contradictions in the Bible. What amazes me is that 2 millenniums later, people are still living by this book, or at least the parts that they want to live by.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Jeff Thanks for reminding us what an arrogant little jerk so many Christians proclaim their "savior" to have been.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      JW, I believe Christ came for the whole world. But people have to accept His sacrifice. Jesus paid a debt we all owe, but we have the option of not letting Him pay it and taking the full responsibility of our transgressions ourselves.

      John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. " Notice, it's WHOEVER believes in Him.

      Jesus came and offered a free pass to Heaven. But you don't have to take that pass.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • J.W

      I see what you mean about those Damian. I do not think they everyone will go to heaven necessarily. I see how that would not be fair if a mass murderer got the same reward as someone who was good. But we are not sure exactly what separation from God is. When he says destruction that does not seem to mean eternal punishment, but perhaps death or ceasing to exist. It could even mean the way we live may bring earthly destruction, although I have never seen that view before. Or it could be a combination of both.

      I know in the Bible there are passages like the one in Ephesians, but there are also passages such as Matthew 25, and Rev. 20 (not that I am a huge fan of Revelation). So I think that it is possible that God will have mercy and allow some that were good into heaven. The passage of John 3:16 seems to show both sides of this as well. It says "all who believe in him will not perish" but says that we need to step into the light so our works can be seen by God.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      Oh I definitely believe there are rewards in Heaven for good works. Those are the crowns people are given. However, I think one has to get the free pass first. In other words, you can't receive your Oscar if you're not invited to the ceremony.

      All in all, it's not my job to judge (and praise God for that!) I believe He will use his own criteria and those criteria will ultimately be fair and just.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I can see that Damian. I do not think we can know exactly what will happen. We should just live the best that we can.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      I agree. And that's the essence of faith.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, "I am the Truth" i.e. John 14:6. This passage was not said by the historical Jesus but was wishful thinking and an embellishment by John to make Jesus more like the ancient and local gods of first century Palestine. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, "Jesus After 2000 Years", p 540.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • The Lord

      Jeff, you are the very shining example of my light and wisdom in all things. Let us never forget this, my christian brothers. And to the non-believers, mark mine words as turth: you could be the wisest, most giving Jew, or a muslim who loves and respects all men as brothers, or an atheist who has saved the lives of millions through acts of science or medicine – you're still going to hell, fools!! And Jeff, though he cheats on his wife, dropped out of high school, works at a gun store and discriminates against gays, blacks and everybody else who doesn't remind him of himself...well guess what, Jeff?! YOU MY FRIEND ARE GOING TO HEAVEN*.

      *Bigoted redneck moron heaven. Some conditions apply. Offer only available in the Southern United States and parts of the midwest. See Saint Peter for complete contest rules and regulations. God, Jesus Christ and Heaven are registered trademarks of the Republican Party, the Tea Party and House Party 2, starring Kid N' Play. All rights reserved.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  19. hippypoet

    @ You're a Cook

    "atheism is a religion. Whether it fits technically with the semantics or not is not a concern of mine; the practical definition of religion is what matters to me."

    your funny cause your dumb. and thats funny cause its true! lol

    anyway – the definition of religion is one in the same with that of the definition of a cult! the only difference here is social accecptance. in the board view of things, all religions are cults... which by DEFINITION are groups of people that all athear to the same beliefs under a creator or being of power. which is why Buddhism and being an Atheist are not religions, they allow the person to believe what they want...not a strick this is true and that is not mentality!

    again, your funny cause your dumb, and thats funny cause its true!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • You're a Cook

      I'm dumb? Would you care to take a guess at my IQ for what I do for a living since you are all knowing?

      I'd bet you wouldn't be on such a high horse if we met in real life.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • hippypoet

      nice job at not talking about the convo and just whinning like a child... and with that, your IQ is undoubtedly lower then my dogs who eats his own shat but does it knowing of what its doing and still chooses to which i find to be more intelligent then blindly following some 2000 year story of which we CAN break apart to be most bs from the start... but your right, if we were to meet in real life, i wouldn't be on a high horse... not untill you were to say something like you have here a.k.a. really really dumb statements!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • You're a Cook

      Lol, good one. You really got me there, all while proving your grandiose knowledge at the same time. Think it's time for my owner to take me on a walk.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Keep up the good fight! I just want to ask one thing though, you pointed out that atheism and buddhism are not religions, I disagree. Buddhism is a religion, but it can masquarade as a philosophy and so it blurs the line. Confucianism and possible Daoism also fall into the same trap of "religion or philosophy" but fall on the other side of the fence. Buddhism however does have rules, a house of worship and a supernatural person that governs the religion. I would say the main difference is that people in Buddhism (and buddhists, please correct me if I'm worng here) believe that the Buddha for his entire life was human but then acheived becoming supernatural through meditation and the tenants of buddhism, whereas in most other religions the god or gods has always been god and never mortal.

      Just something I thought it was interesting you pointed out.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • GodPot

      Under Merriam-Websters definition the first would not support atheism as a religion.
      "b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance"
      but the 4th listing might "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith" but could be argued that the lack of a belief in a God is not in of itself a "a cause, principle, or system of belief".

      I get the idea as the band Rush once said "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice" but I would argue then that because most people are indoctrinated from childhood to have a belief in some God figure, so becoming an atheist would at least be a rejection of beliefs if not an acceptance of another belief, that of no God.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      This spurred me to re-up a post I had a few articles ago where I was arguing with Mad Hatter. He claimed that Atheism was religion also. He then went backward cherry picking definitions to say it was a belief system. In the end I wrote what follows to demonstrate that Atheism isn't even a simple belief.

      Mad Hatter

      Let's try a hypothetical. Suppose every single person on Earth held a positive belief in a god or gods. Everybody believed because it was blatantly obvious. For example a large number of stars would assemble like pixels to spell out "You are all my children" All the variety of man made religions based off of this heavenly spectacle would be theists. The dictionary would state: Theist-One who believes in a god or gods responsible for writing with stars. Nobody would be an Atheist since it would be folly to deny what is obviously true. The word Atheist would be absent from all dictionaries.

      OK? Now try the opposite. On this next hypothetical world nobody believes in a god or gods. The concept has never occurred to anyone. The word Theist is absent from the dictionary thus it follows that the word Atheist would also be missing.
      In both these worlds Atheism doesn't exist. That's because nobody goes around professing belief in things they think are false...they only profess belief in things they think are true. Atheism cannot stand on its own as a belief because it isn't one. You are under the false impression that Atheism is the positive affirmation of the non existence of god.... It's not. It is simply the rejection of YOUR positive affirmation that a god does exist.
      This brings me to what you said about agnosticism. Gnostic/Agnostic refers to knowledge...what you can know or not know. Theist/Atheist refers to belief....what you believe or not believe. Notice that while you may be correct about Atheist falling under the category of belief it is still an unbelief,non-belief, anti-belief etc. If we try to define belief the way you propose then absolutely everything, true or false, is a belief and you end up with the word belief becoming meaningless.
      I am an Agnostic Atheist. Agnostic because is is impossible to prove a negative( the non-existence of god isn't falsifiable) and Atheist because I find your belief in a god unjustifiable and so I can't assign it a "true" value. I haven't assigned gods non-existence a "true" value because that would be dishonest.
      Finally you seem(and I'm making an assumption here) to think that gods existence or non-existence is a 50-50 proposition. It's not. Of all the 34.000 different christian sects and countless other deities throughout history, your own belief just within believers is only a tiny fraction of possibly being true. Add to that the complete lack of any verifiable evidence to the existence of ANY deity and the odds of you being right are vanishingly small.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  20. Really?

    Are atheists so scared of Christians that they have to come on here and bash them over and over, day in and day out? I personally don't find it fun to make fun or belittle people with whom I know I am much smarter (like taking candy from a baby). Atheists however seem to love doing that, maybe they have a deep sense of insecurity and don't know everything as they claim. LOL.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • William Demuth

      Some Atheists have been harassed for their views, some beaten, some even killed. Since early human history, your kind has had its boot on them because most are passive by nature.

      Luckily, now when ee hear the monotone droning’s of the indoctrinated, we rebell.

      We are here for our country and indeed our world back, whether you like it or not. We have teamed with the others you have denied basic rights, and we are building momentum. No more of your wars, your indoctrination, nor your cruelty

      We have been patient with your drivel and we have paid the price. We have tried to be reasonable and have paid the price. We have tried to be passive and have paid the price.

      But, as they say, what went around has come back around! Your faith is on the ropes, and we are here to make sure the stake is driven through its morally bereft and corrupt heart.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Anchorite

      Atheists bashing Christians? That's a good one. You should go on the road as an amateur stand-up comic.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Josh

      @William Demuth, thank you and over all of your posts that you have made, you have been equal and non hating, you are a great man

      September 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Kyle

      How many atheists have come to your door and told you that when you die, nothing happens?

      How many atheists have tried to control you by instilling a fear through a book of fiction written (I should say finished being written) nearly 2,000 years ago?

      How many atheists have burned people at the stake for their religious beliefs?

      How many atheists have started war for their lack of beliefs?

      How many atheists have tortured people to the point of permanently disabling victims for their religious beliefs?

      Now I ask the same question of christians and muslims.

      Anything else to add?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Mathilda

      Atheists massacred far more than 50 millions in USSR and China alone last century, so the estimate is 1 billion murder by atheists world-wide.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • Drum roll please

      And the winner for the most murders of all time goes to,,,,,,,, God.

      This is true for the make believe world of the Bible and it is literally true for all of the actual wars fought because of religion.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:09 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.