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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. SillyGoose

    To bad the Hels Angels won't counter protest these idiots...would be quite the entertaining afternoon.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Sean

      They already have, and all they did was stand there and try to look mean. The Hels Angels are just a bunch of grumpy old men on obnoxiously loud motorcycles.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • joe

      you DO mean the hells angels should protest Westboro, right? im with you there, but they should do it in a dark alley or in the middle of the desert.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  2. voiceofreason

    these people, fred phelps and his family of clowns, have no values either for or against the troops, and probably don't even truly believe in their purported religious position. they are a family of attorneys with the aim of baiting communities into lawsuits. truthfulty they are vapid and inconsequential, and as such, should be ignored. it's the reaction they are given which gives them momentum.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  3. K.K.

    Actually, the concert was in downtown Kansas City Missouri.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • leeroyjenkins

      You're the 1,000,000th person to say that. Congrats, you win free comments on CNN for a year!!!

      September 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • nostra

      Actually, leeroyjenkins' comment was in downtown Kansas City Missouri.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  4. Fooferawl

    Good for the Foos! Shove it in their faces, blast it in their earholes. I hope hearing damage was accomplished.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  5. me

    what amazes me is that these people get any attention whatsoever. If people ignored them they would probably have stopped this stuff a long time ago. JUST IGNORE THEM.. Don't give them publicity, don't give them a platform. don't do news stories on them...just ignore them. They are like bullies...or pimples. Ignore them, and they will go away.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • dirk

      When they are protesting at a funeral for 1 of your loved ones how exactly do you ignore them? Not go to the funeral? This is what makes them so hated because ignoring them may mean ignoring your own religious practices when a relative dies.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  6. 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...

    September 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  7. Andrea M

    "Women lovin' women, I know we all like to watch that" I loled.
    I'm not usually into the Foos or rock in general (I prefer synths over guitar/bass/drums) but I love what they did here.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  8. Phooee

    What, exactly, is foo? And how do we fight it?

    September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • CW

      Google is your friend: The term foo fighter was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific Theater of Operations.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • a foo fighter

      the foo fighters were a group of people that flew planes and looked for ufo's

      September 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • mason

      “Foo Fighters” was a nickname that Allied forces gave to basketball sized unidentified glowing spheres they used to see floating in the air over the battlefields during WWII. Both sides thought the globes came from the other side and were some sort of spy device. UFO researchers consider the globes to be of extra terrestrial origin as many “abductees” have reported seeing similar objects.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • nostra

      "UFO researchers consider the globes to be of extra terrestrial origin as many “abductees” have reported seeing similar objects."

      researchers? Is that what they call themselves?

      September 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  9. Ms

    As if I needed another reason to love Dave Grohl.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Trish

    True Christians have tried to talk to them, but they won't listen to reason from Christians any more than they do from anyone else. I don't know what version of the Bible they've been reading, but it sure isn't the same as the rest of us. Or maybe it is the same, but they've blacked out every single word in there except the few they want to read.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Trish

      Oh and I forgot:

      ❤ The FOO FIGHTERS!

      September 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • kytrex

      Trish....I'm afraid the bible is wayyy more violent and intolerant that you think. I get your point but unfortunately these christians are as real as it gets. Either way, you are both cherry picking parts of the bible that suits your needs.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Sean

      @ kytrex

      100% correct.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • leeroyjenkins

      @kyrtex – Sorry, but you are the one who appears not to know what the Bible represents. These people are about as far away from Christianity as you can be. Also, Jesus only taught endless love. The violent parts of the Bible you are referring to were part of the OT Law which Jesus fulfilled and we are no longer bound by that.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Scott

      Just like all the other 3,000 Christian denominations the Westburo folks cherry pick the bible so it says what they mean instead of meaning what it says

      September 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • nostra

      @leeroyjenkins,
      So the 10 commandments aren't really commandments now, just suggestions... guidelines really?

      September 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • J.W

      But Jesus said that we should still follow the Ten Commandments. But he did contradicts some of the other practices of the OT.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  11. Hailie

    they are not a church, they are a cult. there is a huge difference. no one with a right mind will believe their garbage, so what is the point of them protesting, it is a waist of there time, where instead they could be worshipping God's love, not making up His hate

    September 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Time is the only difference between a religion and a cult

      Furthermore, correct me if I'm wrong but to be a christian, don't you have to accept Jesus as your lord and savior and be baptised? I'm fairly certain thats about it, which means these guys DEFINITLY fall into the christian camp, as much as you disown them.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  12. nostra

    " Mark my words"

    September 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  13. toot

    Its hard to believe that felps got 31% of the vote in 1992 for the democratic primary for senate.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • nostra

      felps, phelps, felts, whatever...

      September 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  14. Tom

    Westboro Baptist Church is yet another organization that hides behind the First Amendment. One day they will cross the line and even their Harvard Law-trained mouthpiece won't be able to save them. In the meantime, we can hope that "Rev" Phelps meets his Maker sooner rather than later.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  15. lori

    LOVE THE FOO FIGHTERS! WTG guys!

    September 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  16. Conrad Shull

    Spare the 2X4, spoil the Westboro Baptist Church parishioner.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  17. portnoychunk

    ...as long as people continue to click on the articles about this group and post replies on the story, CNN will continue to report on them. The more you read it and talk about it, the more likely CNN is going to keep feeding it to you. Time for people to start making that connection.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • So

      Can we say the same thing about the terrorist too then with your logic? The more attention they give them the better they are for recruiting right? 😉

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

      Bright lights on dark places

      It is the role of the media.

      I for one would like to see a REAL investigation by some old school reporters.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  18. VinoBianco

    I like the Foo Fighters a little more now – nicely done. 🙂

    September 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • f

      Nice to see some real balls on someone to protest right back at the psychos in this so-called church. I am Catholic and I KNOW these people are sick. Go Foo !

      September 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Quincey9

    If Al-Qaeda hates Christians so darn much why don't they go look up the good Rev. Phelps? He seems to be incredibly devout.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tom Cruise

      I hope not. they've got far too much in common.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  20. ca

    I truly hope that people know the westboro church is not a TRUE representation of Christianity and Christ's love. The things they do and say are awful and do not show the number 1 commandment, "love unconditionally." LOVE...'Good Loves everyone! He may hate certain behaviors but it is heart breaking these people would say God hates somebody, God hates nobody. so heartbreaking.

    September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • bill

      Then why don't TRUE christians stop these fools out?

      Why are we the ones who have to fight these freaks?

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

      "Then why don't TRUE christians stop these fools out?"

      Are you kidding me??? A LOT of us are doing everything we can to silence these people, but they hide behind the first amendment. They need silencing!!!!

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

      Fox could very easily put an end to this. They hide behind the first amendment. But they are also following "the word of god"... so Fox refuses to touch it.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Bill,

      What would you have us do? They have the right to spew their nonsense just like all other hate groups.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • MrThanatos

      A true Scotsman would never say such a thing.

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

      They are true Christians.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • tready

      agreed, that pastor is just crazy, protesting at funerals is disrespectfull to say the least, and probably only done to get mass media attention period.

      September 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Sean

      I wasn’t aware one needs the approval of other ‘Christians’ to be a Christian. Isn’t that between them and their god?

      September 19, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • dirk

      Define Christianity: monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior. The New New Testament: Google Search.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:16 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.