You might have heard about the explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, TX in April that killed at least 15 and injured more than 200. Among the dead were members of fire departments and ambulance services that responded to the catastrophe. That same month, a funeral for those first responders was held, and the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would picket the funeral. These are the folks that believe that deaths of military personnel or the Boston bombing victims or whomever they want to include are God’s punishment for gay marriage. They also put famous musicians on their list of targets. Metal fans may have this church on their radar for announcing plans to picket Jeff Hanneman’s funeral (they previously picketed Ronnie James Dio’s).
As it turned out, the church was a no-show at West, TX, but different groups were prepared to meet them head on and block them from the funeral. One of those that were ready to stand and be counted was Champ Morgan, singer for the political grindcore band Kill the Client.
“With these idiots you can’t really do anything to them,” Champ begins via email. “These little shitty people are the ones that show up at your funeral and talk shit about you, tell your grieving family you deserve to die because ‘God’ is punishing the Earth for accepting homosexuals, and whatever bullshit else while getting in their faces—then sue you when you’ve had enough and physically retaliate against them.
“I’m prepared to do just about anything to them, because I personally don’t mind violence. But the smart way to go is to create a human wall and block them from the suffering families dealing with loss.”
Before the funeral, Champ took to Facebook and attempted to rally a group of people together to confront the church, but says, “Well, a lot of people wanted to go, and as true to most things these days, most people backed out in the 11th hour. My wife went and a guy I train with rolled out with me. It worked out, I guess …. So, we just changed our purpose from fighting close-minded ignorance to supporting the community and the lost firefighters.”
Champ explains that he has such strong feelings about the church because, “Honestly, I’m just sick of the disrespect from these media-hungry shitmouth people. That and the unbridled ignorance. When I see a five-year-old holding a sign that says ‘God hates fags,’ it is child abuse in my eyes. Those people should be held accountable for ruining these children. That hate will be a learned behavior when they get older—just like racism. Children aren’t born hating anything. It is taught to them. Religious extremism is no different.
“Also, I’ve been to West, TX a thousand times … The people are always super nice no matter what you look like. Just good, down-home, small-town people. They lost so much. They don’t deserve the disrespect from Westboro. Plus, I have a lot of good friends that are firefighters and EMTs. I myself am a veteran of the military and served in Desert Storm. I just got fed up with these ass-backwards people. There comes a time when you’re done talking about making a change in the world and action is needed. I was at that time.”
Having said all that, Champ believes that “their ‘protests’ are 100 percent covered by the Constitution. We all have rights. But I also have the right to disagree. I also have the right to say I’ve had enough. Everyone has freedom of religion or lack thereof. But they are assholes about all of it. I’m a 100 percent full-blown, proud Atheist. But these people make good Christians look bad.
“Some of my closest friends are religious. My wife is pretty religious as a matter of fact. But religion isn’t based on hate. No matter where you go in the world the religious message is basically the same, which is to love and accept people.
“Religious extremism is on the rise, both Christian and otherwise. We’ve put our fighting men and women into several wars over it, or at least the fed illusion of it. Religion is fine, [but] it has become mass hypnosis to some, which is fucking terrible, really. People just need to be left alone to just be themselves. We don’t all need to be carbon copies of each other. We can all be comfortable accepting individuals if we let ourselves be that way.”
While Champ is keeping busy with Kill the Client, playing festivals, preparing to start work on the band’s next album and making guest vocal appearances, he still has his outlook on the world in place. “I’m not as politically active as I used to be. I’ve kinda come to the ‘fuck it’ point. I think that things are gonna get worse before they get better. You gotta be prepared to roll with the punches as they come. They will come. You just gotta stay informed all the time. Keep an open mind and open eyes.”
Check out Champ’s band Kill the Client on their Facebook page.