By Amanda Wicks
After butting heads with the Westboro Baptist Church in 2013, Blake Shelton found himself once again tussling with the controversial religious organization on August 7th.
The group tweeted him about repenting for his divorce, and Shelton naturally had some–very choice–things to say about that. But he’s not the only musician to fight back against WBC’s hateful messages. Here are five others who stood up against the group.
In 2013, before playing in Kansas City, MO, Gill stepped outside and engaged WBC protestors. A woman from the church filming the moment asked, “What in the world are you doing out here?” He answered, “I came out to see what hate really looks like.” When the woman began accusing him of sinning because he got divorced, he responded, “[Jesus] said a lot of stuff about forgiveness, about grace, you guys don’t have any of that.”
The New Zealand singer had the “honor” of being the first musician the WBC protested following its leader Fred Phelps’ death in 2014. Rather than meet hate with hate, those opposing WBC instead offered signs that read “Sorry for Your Loss.” Before that, though, Lorde tweeted (now deleted) messages encouraging her audience to protest hate with love. “hahaha omg just found out westboro baptist church are going to picket my show in kansas city … everyone wear rainbow clothing to that show … everyone try to kiss church members who are same sex as you they will so love it christmas comin early in kansas city” (via Billboard).
The WBC co-opted Kesha’s hit “We R Who We R” in 2011 and rewrote it to promote a far different message. They turned the pop song into “God Hates Who U R.” When Kesha stopped by Lincoln, Nebraska, to perform in 2013 and realized there were WBC protestors outside the venue, she did what any fierce pop star all about love and equality would: She sent her male backup dancers outside to show off their moves while the group played their version of her single.
When the country musician spotted a group of WBC protestors outside his concert in 2014, he decided to sneak a quick selfie with some of them. The look on his face says it all, but his tweet helped hammer home his point. “Westboro Baptist Selfie!! Or west-Burro(a–) selfie. Hopefully they can hear the show out here. We’ll play loud,” he wrote.
Westboro Baptist Selfie!! Or west-Burro(ass) selfie. Hopefully they can hear the show out here. We'll play loud. http://t.co/OrMhJjD8NE—
Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) June 02, 2014
Dave Grohl has tussled—verbally and musically—with the organization before, but in 2015 the Foo Fighters banded together to Rick Roll protesters waiting outside their Kansas City tour stop. Driving down the street in a pickup truck with signs saying “You Got Rick Rolled,” the Foos blasted “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Even though the street was lined with WBC protestors, a crowd quickly gathered around the truck and began dancing (via Rolling Stone).