Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard Responds to Westboro Baptist Church’s Attack on Him
Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is the latest target for radical religious group the Westboro Baptist Church. The organization announced last month that they would arrange a protest rally at the band’s July 8 show in Kansas City, Mo. To Gibbard’s credit, he has no qualms about Westboro Baptist Church members and their controversial activities, just as long as they play by the rules.
Just like when Radiohead came under fire from the Westboro camp, Gibbard is another surprising target. According to their official website, the musician’s support of his lesbian sister warrants their anger.
“WBC will picket the motley group Death Cab for Cutie and their pervert lead singer, Ben Gibbard — a major fag-enabler,” they say on their events schedule. “He, too, is worthy of death like his dyke sister who is ‘married’ to another woman. If he loved his sister, he’d tell her the truth, to wit: God hates her because she is a proud sinner.”
While you let that ridiculous statement settle in, The A.V. Club caught up with Gibbard and asked his thoughts about the Westboro Baptist Church’s hateful stance. The ‘Soul Meets Body’ singer refused to sink to their level of intolerance.
“The Westboro Baptist Church as an organization is a perfect example to use when you’re talking about the strengths of free speech,” Gibbard says. “I abhor everything they’re doing, but they have the right to be doing it. As painful as it is to say, I’d rather live in a country where people can voice that kind of outrageousness. As long as they keep it legal, they can do what they choose.”
The WBC has also blasted Gibbard for his endorsement of the Washington-based activist group Music for Marriage Equality, whose goal is to make gay marriage legal in the state. Because of his personal stance on the issue, Gibbard is passionate about this cause.
“One of the reasons I wanted to get involved in this campaign in Washington State early is that we saw what happened in North Carolina,” he reveals. “A lot of people in the country weren’t up on the campaign on a day-to-day basis and they only found out about what was gong on there days before the vote.
He continues: “In a handful of days leading up to North Carolina, people quickly rallied to raise awareness and it was all in good faith, and it’s better to happen later than never, but because that all went down in the eleventh hour, it was too late to register new voters in North Carolina. So we’re trying to raise awareness and funds and make what’s happening in Washington State national news now, not in November.”
“I feel like you can do so much positive things and pro things,” drummer Elaine Bradley told us at the time. “You’re allowed to express your opinion. I mean, I express my negative opinions all the time, but I don’t know if I would purposely set out to go against something. I think I might just go try to persuade people to go for something. It just seems like a horrible waste of effort.”