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. bill

    Foo fighters RULE!

    Go right now and listen to their song "The Pretender"

    They speak truth to power.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • William Demuth


      That is the purpose of Rock and Roll.

      These are a tad young for my taste, but I am glad to hear the spirit of Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan lives on

      September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • bill

      Will... They make tons of great music. "long road to ruin".... "next year"... and you've probably heard the song "hero" before.

      I know that this is the purpose of rock and roll. But if you read the lyrics to "the pretender"... they're talking directly to GWB. No other band (that i can think of) in the mainstream has the cojones to do that.

      Dave Grohl is one of the all time greats. Mark my words. It is already known among my generation, yours not so much. I appreciate the reply.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • William Demuth


      It was like speaking to myself 40 years ago.

      Young energy can be an instrument of change, and we REALLY need some change!

      Keep on rocking in whats left of the free world!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • bill

      I hear you loud and clear, friend.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Some Guy

      On the note of bands that perform controversial musics that protest the actions of GWB and other poor Government decisions, one that you've undoubtedly heard of is System of a Down, and more specifically their singer, Serj Tankian. I don't recall a song specifically directed at GWB, but much of Serj's recent music is on calling out the B.S. that was spawned from his presidency.

      Gotta love the Foo Fighters, though. Damn the Westboro Church, is all I have to say on that. They've been nothing but a thorn in the side of good Christians for many, many years. I'm not a man of faith, but I have to sympathize with the plight of those who are, who constantly have their lives viewed with scrutiny over the actions of fools.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  2. Curtis

    I'm sure it has been said already, but their show was actually in Kansas City, MISSOURI at the Sprint Center...not Kansas.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    Awesome!! Hurray for the Foo Fighters!!!!!!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  4. footastic

    Saw the concert Friday and the Foo rocked for 2 1/2 hours! My ears are still ringing. AWESOME show! As for WBC... meh... they rock far less and are nowhere near as awesome. Pay them no attention bcuz they thirst for it.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Plus, I'm pretty sure the WBC uses Autotune....

      September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  5. 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 would do or say?

    September 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Sean

      Its more his followers I’m more concerned with.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  6. CPW

    I hear the Foo Fighters. They should do this more often.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  7. Anne

    Why the media gives this group of hateful nut-jobs one iota of attention is beyond me. The Westboro folks are a VERY small group mostly off-spring of the founder...they are irrelevent. Stop giving Fred and his family attention and they will go away.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Flash

      Yes, Anne, there are fewer than 75 members in this 'church', and Freddy has spawned 54 (at last count) grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren. You can count on one hand the number of outsiders who have joined.

      Yes, group of annoying gnats gets way too much free publicity.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  8. David

    Maybe if you ignore them - they will go away.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • tim

      Amen. Thats my feelings too. They feed on media attention, they feed on the front page CNN stories featuring their messages of hate. People assault them, they sue, they win because they have to right, rinse and repeat. I am glad they didn't show the signs in the video.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • keef

      and yet here you are clicking on the story and commenting on it as well?

      September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  9. hippypoet


    if you'd like i can give you sites of historic truth showing that the people of joshua's time did infact discuss him as a person, and did infact argue about his divinity!! but yes you are right, i have been doing new drugs... the are cheap, legal and fun!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • leeroyjenkins

      Doubtful that he'll be interested in that, he's already all knowing and any evidence contrary to his perconceived belief will automatically be discounted as "religious mumbo jumbo"

      September 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @ leeroyjenkins
      see thats just it, the papers are not agruing for religion, they are rather a pile of proof against the religious impact of his life and eventual death... but the ignorant wish to remain so , so be it then !

      September 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • leeroyjenkins

      @hippy poet – Ahh you are correct, I did indeed misread your post. Please do share, as I would certainly be interested.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • ANFO

      List those sites, please.

      Also, Jesus is not Joshua. I hope that one of those sites will give credible info on how you think someone named Joshua (there were thousands of Joshua's in those days) somehow got a free name change somewhere?
      (There were thousands of Jesuses, too, I reckon)
      What evidence is there that any of them existed as "Jesus" the son of one Mary and Joseph?
      All I have ever seen is third-hand accounts that speak of a distant Jewish cult calling themselves Christians long after the supposed death of "Jesus".
      If you've got anything better, cough it up.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • hippypoet

      leeroyjenkins and ANFO ... I ma gunna have to get back to you from my home computer... work day is over... so check the newest postings...k i will put what info i have...sry.. no worries tho

      September 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  10. us1776

    These deranged Westboro people are going to protest at the wrong funeral one of these days and it will be all over.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Al

      Amen- I would like to see them wiped off the face of the Earth

      September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  11. FooFoo

    If people would just embrace what they fear, try to understand it, and be at peace with our differences, our country wouldn't be at each others' throats. Our differences is what made our country so great. It is what made us so innovative, ahead of our times, adventerous, and free.

    And maybe I should finish my thougths in one post.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  12. John

    The song was called "Keep it Clean," not "Hot Buns." The band posted the video on their own facebook page and youtube and I don't recall those lyrics in the video. Might want to check the facts on this one CNN.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • ill

      fact check? u crazy?
      lies make more "news"

      September 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  13. kayaker247

    the world would be a better place without that "church" in it. I sincerely hope no one gets hurt because of their "protests", but if something were to happen to one of them during their hateful gatherings I would understand.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    as the non believer i am, what you said was wrong... do your research!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • hippypoet

      there are a great many of writtings argueing his divine birth and de@th.... but not his existence!!! sry bud

      September 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      however NO ONE ever called the MAN jesus... not a D@MN one! the reason- its not his name! and the word christian is also funny because its a sign of true ignorance!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • ANFO

      No credible accounts of Jesus' existence exist.
      And no writings by Jesus exist either.

      Quit trying new drugs, hippypoet. Your brain is skewed towards swallowing BS for some reason.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • William Demuth


      You claiming you have a book written by Jesus?

      Would be worth a few bucks if you did.

      Bout a trillion or so I reckon!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  15. Lesieie

    Somehow we seem to be missing the last part of the story. What does an air show have to do with war and gays? Why protest those funerals? Shows they're just publicity addicts.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Peter

      And Christians are suppose to be humble people and these idiots are definitely not that, they are the very thing they are protesting – an abomination! LOL!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      The "church" members are not publicity addicts; they are lawsuit addicts. Their harsh rhetoric is a calculated tactic to incite people to attack them so they can be sued for monetary damages. Many of the family are lawyers, and they have no actual religious standing. That is their business model. Once you realize this, all the questions are answered. This comment thread shouldn't even mention religion, as these people may not even believe a word of what they themselves say.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jim in PA

      You are well informed!

      Somewhat rare in here!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Grundoon

      @Jim in PA: Most of what you say is true with the exception of religion. They most certainly do believe in what they say but they are totally jacked up on the Christ concept. They had to find another revenue stream since Fred Sr. got disbarred, first in State and then Federal courts. He made his name, and early money, doing civil rights cases. Folks aren't beating down their doors for representation. Even Fred, Jr. isn't in private practice and he and Margie are both working for the state DoC, the latter recently appointed by pointy-head Gov. Brownback, now ruler of Brownbackistan, as DoC Director of some faith based program.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  16. Eric

    Doesn't the Phelps family know that all lawyers go to hell?!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  17. One Day

    These people are a bunch of wachos. They will have their place in Hell also.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Nick

    You always hear about a crazy person running into a restaurant, school, etc. and shooting up the place and killing many people. Why can't some crazy run into the Westboro church and take out some of those idiots?

    September 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • David

      Stupid does not cure stupid. Crazy does not cure crazy. These wackos don't need killing - they need help. Something mentally wrong with the lot of them.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  19. Tom

    Westboro is not Baptist nor a Christian church. You can't by any stretch compare these people with true Christians. I hate it when I hear people summing up Christians by what these people are doing. It's obvious the members have never read the Bible or have and chosen to completely ignore the teachings. What if I did these things in the name of one of the political parties? Would freedom of speech still protect me? I doubt it.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Tom. I grew up in a time of racial tension.

      If someone did something hatefull or really stupid, his own kind would beat them back into line, just to maintain the peace.

      If you want peace, then see to it that this lunatic has an "accident"

      September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Ain't life Strange?

      Tom... they aren't christians... they are lunatics. Anyone can start a tax exempt church and call themselves anything they want. Then, they'll cherry-pick the things from the bible that sort of justifies their beliefs. Like Phelps said, "You can't preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God." Sorry... my God is a loving God. I'm not sure which one they're calling upon.

      That's why more and more people are turning away from organized religion... if there is one true God, why are there so many different denominations with so many contradictions?

      September 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • InFormed99

      And yet many people are quick to brand 'terrorists' as Muslims. Shoe, foot etc.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Joe800

      This is a perfect opportunity to draw attention to how muslim and western cultures differ. The westboro baptist are kooks and we acknowledge that and marginalize them and because we're civilized we watch them and make sure they dont step outside the bounds of the law rather than round them up and kill them. Al Quiada, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad Union kill people and blow up cars and planes and buses and the muslim world stands by and neither denounces them nor prosecutes them.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • William Demuth


      Yep, Christians don't believe in blow up day care centers

      Signed Timothy McVeigh

      September 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • J.W

      William that would make him look like a martyr and everyone else look like the bad guy, and then anti-gay people all over will rally around him.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • William Demuth


      An HIV tainted hypo on the end of an umberella seems fitting for an excellent ending to this story.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • fred

      where have you been? Say I forgot what town you lived in and lost the thread?

      September 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I am from Dallas.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Sean

      Tom, it’s not up to you whether they are ‘true’ Christians. Isn’t t up to your god? The sad truth is they are as much a Christian group as you are. You pick and chose what you follow from your bible just as they do. No different than the extremist Muslim versus the moderate. Picking and choosing.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • fred

      I note you have some interest in the truth when it comes to Christianity. Bible Study Fellowship has 4 classees (free) on Wednesday or Tuesday in the Dallas area. Go to their web site and sign up for one. They meet every week for the next 30 weeks. http://www.bsfinternational.org/Classes/Locate/tabid/81/Default.aspx
      We are doing the book of Acts which goes through how and why the churchs were formed. Good stuff

      September 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  20. Bob

    God said, love one another. To me this is just another Jim Jones cultl They are not a church. They almost make it impossible to live according to God's word.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • InFormed99

      Actually, God did not say 'love one another'. God in the OT was mostly interested in self promotion.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.