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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. God Hates the Phelps Family

    My name says it all...
    W.B.C.= inbred, ignorant idiots.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  2. AskBrad

    If the government cannot interfere or have a say in church matters, then the church should not be able to interfere or have any say in government matters. I think any church that interferes in government matters or attempts to sway the public outside of their property should lose their tax exempt status. It's a separation, not a one-way passage.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      This falls under the freedom of speech and assembly clause of the First Amendment.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  3. Earnest Angley

    THEY SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH INCITING A RIOT AND CHILD ABUSE.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  4. Paul

    Of all the acts to protest they choose the Foo Fighters? I mean what exactly did they do to draw the attention of these nuts?

    September 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  5. laree

    Thank You Foo Fighters – God Bless You.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  6. Mee

    Foo fighters just became my new favorite band... LOL

    September 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  7. Justin

    ya know, westboro always hides behind the first amendment, why dont we exercise the second amendment. no one would really care

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

      Exercise the Second Amendment ... and what... bear arms?
      FYI, using firearms is still a crime in most situations.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  8. Nyarlathotep

    Re-open the nominations for coolest guy in rock *right now* I'm voting for Dave Grohl.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  9. Buckmeat

    Where were these religious freaks when the movie Broke Butt Mountain came out?

    September 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Capercorn

      They were there; it's just that people have a short attention span.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • AmericanSam

      By the language you use, I would imagine you were standing with them.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  10. rev.spike

    They are just eating up the attention.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  11. heyleigh620

    First of all Obama DID NOT caputre Bin Laden...Seal Team 6 did!!!!!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • petercha

      Amen, Heyleigh!

      September 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Paul

      And this is relevant here why??

      September 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Gumboz1953

      NOBODY captured Osama bin Laden. He's sleeping with the fishes, because OBAMA ordered the Seals to kill him...
      Fixed that for you.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • AGuest9

      But Bush flew the banner Mission Accomplished, which of course, he did not accomplish.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Al

      No he didn't, but isn't funny how people wanted to give Bush and Cheney the credit. Bush was in Crawford shoveling cow patties and Cheney was in some undisclosed location getting revived by a defibrillator.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      @AGuest9
      "But Bush flew the banner Mission Accomplished, which of course, he did not accomplish."
      Oh come on... it was too.
      The mission to put up a Mission Accomplished banner was thoroughly accomplish.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  12. Capercorn

    Part of me wonders: Would the Westboro morons be protesting if the media didn't give them attention?

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

      Yes, lets not hold the WBC reasonable for their actions. Lets blame the media!

      September 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Capercorn

      Like I said: Part of me wonders.

      It's what I call the Skokie Effect. Neo-Nazis decide that they're going to march in Skokie, IL, which has a huge Jewish population.

      Government tries to block protesters; Media uproar.

      After a year of constant attention, the Neo-Nazis agree to not protest in Skokie, as their whole intent was the free publicity.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • petercha

      Good point, Capercorn!

      September 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • israel

      they've been protesting the funerals of people who were gay and killed for it back in the 80s and 90s.....so yes they would, the media gave them more power.....similar to sarah palin

      September 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Capercorn

      @israel: Good point. In this case, I concede. Nevertheless, I do not believe that it is in anyone's best interests to give the WBC a media platform. The attention only stokes their egos.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  13. Brian

    Why are religious people so hateful?

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

      I would have to say that's your subjective bias at work. Remember: "Local Christian man works at soup kitchen once weekly" doesn't exactly sell newspapers.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • petercha

      Why are liberal people so hateful?

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

      Please don't group these nuts with the rest of the religious people who work hard to do good works and bring joy to the lives of so many. Thank you.

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

      It's so true isn't it, which is why I became an atheist. I mean I'm not saying all religious people, and I'm not saying they are all this hateful, but overall almost every religious person is more judgmental & hateful than any non-religious person I know.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Paul

      Its not all religious people, just hose who believe that faith in God somehow allows you to act ignorant and foolish. God withholds the most severe of punishments who in his name renounce reason, as anyone who has studied history knows.
      I am reminded of the Crusaders who marched all day through the desert to face Saladin in Aleppo. The Christian leaders thought that despite the fact they had exhausted their supply of water and where cut off from the nearest source by their enemies, they would prevail because they fought under the protection of a piece of the true cross. The tired and thirsty Crusaders where cut to pieces. Proving once and for all that God does not reward foolishness.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • joe

      Paul, maybe it proves that god wasnt there. Or, maybe it proves that god is muslim. or, maybe it proves that god just doesn't care or maybe doesn't even know they existed. it surely does prove one thing, religious people are stoopid, and have been for a long time. come to terms with your mortality, there won't be an afterlife until we make one. so, lets get to work on the Matrix. oh, we have it's this beautiful internet, which (if we can stop religious people from fighting over whose the most wrong) might someday evolve <westboro cringes) into such a thing. then we can all be gods!

      September 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  14. colin

    While I wasn't a big fan of their latest album, THIS stunt more than makes up for that!!! Foo Fighters RULE!!!!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  15. Rob

    So a small fringe church that is obsessed with one thing(in this case gay people) made up almost entirely of one family. In these cases the pastor is the father, grandfather, uncle brother and cousin of the younger members of the church.

    September 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  16. KK Denver

    The band Gwar should protest them and spray them with semen and feces

    September 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  17. larry

    Really Foo Fighters? There's nothing bigger in the world to protest than some fringe inbred redneck church who is vocally politically incorrect? How about the bankers throwing our country into poverty and taking our homes? 1.5 million dead Iraqis? 3 wars none of them in self defense?

    And you're flogging some dead horse non-issue hoping for publicity and street cred? Your phony idealism is as contrived and soulless as your "music". How did Cobain ever let you in his band?

    September 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • KK Denver

      Loser, they were protesting the Foo Fighters not the other way around, and Cobain was a junkie hack who couldn't put a song together without Grohl... sorta like Metallica without Cliff

      September 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Rob

      The bankers did not happen so show up at their concert.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • TG

      Bankers taking your homes? That's what happens when you don't/can't pay for a home.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • larry

      Of course you're right. I almost forgot how much better the songwriting was for Foo Fighters than Nirvana. Dude stop listening to music – you have no taste and will just hurt yourself and the unlucky few around you.

      Loser, they were protesting the Foo Fighters not the other way around, and Cobain was a junkie hack who couldn't put a song together without Grohl... sorta like Metallica without Cliff

      September 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • clint

      Cobain was a god. grohl is a clown whos pretty damn good at drums but he will never reach that nirvana level again.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • joe

      you should really try reading the articles before you post garbage. Westboro was protesting the Foo Fighters, and Dave Grohl (Paul McCartney to Cobain's John Lennon) decided to turn the tables on them.
      Beautiful! Thanks Dave! P.S. Curt let dave in the band, because he plays drums, guitar, bass, and freaking wails! (Waynes World reference) that means he sings, too.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • joe

      larry, never forget that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". you dont understand what music is about.. there will never be another nirvana, just like there won't be another Elvis or Beatles. you probably have ALL the Gaga albums! LOL

      September 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  18. glu

    These people would make great Taliban

    September 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  19. Grundoon

    I'm liking the Foo Fighters more and more. You go, boys!!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  20. John Gabriel

    Why don't we get together and kill the whole brood of Phelps vipers? Then we can feed their filthy carcasses to the dogs.

    I hate Phelps! I would kill the lot if there were no penalty. And I would enjoy doing it!

    September 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • joe

      what about michael phelps? he just smokes pot, and swims.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:37 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.