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June 15th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Jesus statue struck by lightning

If you've ever driven between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, on I-75 then you probably saw the six-story King of Kings statue featuring Jesus coming out of a lake with hands raised in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio.

Monday night the statue was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning.

CNN iReporters in the area are all over this story.

The gleaming white statue was unmissable, even speeding down the interstate.

Monroe fire chief Mark Neu told the CNN Belief Blog he's never seen anything like the fire in his 32 years as chief.

He said the 62-foot statue had a steel frame and was wrapped in Styrofoam and covered with a fiberglass coating to protect it. At 11:16 last night, the fire department got the call the statue had been hit by lighting and was on fire.

"It spread from the statue to the amphitheater," he said. "There was heavy damage to the amphitheater where the stature backed up to. It was a fast-moving fire. We’re looking at $700,000 worth of damage."

The chief has spoken with church officials, who have gotten calls about the statue today from as far away as China.

"I know the membership of the Solid Rock Church was devastated by the fire and have every intention of putting the statue and the amphitheater back as is was," Neu said. "They said they plan on rebuilding immediately and moving forward."

Neu said no one was injured in the blaze.

The statue made cameos in loads of Ohioans' snapshots and even made it into the documentary "Jesus Camp."

I once got a speeding ticket not far from it while on assignment. The Ohio state trooper would not give me a warning despite the fact my co-worker in the passenger seat asked if it counted if we had a "news emergency."

Check out Time.com and CNN affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati for more on the story.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture & Science

soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. Selfish Gene

    Bazinga!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
  2. Jay

    ...this would never have happened had they put him in a bear suit.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Pooh

    My God help me throw my balls out on the table as if they were dice. Amen.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  4. John Smith

    Touchdown Jesus is at the University of Notre Dame, not some joint in Ohio.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  5. satan

    god...he's my favorite fictional character

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  6. darwinianScientist

    If the statue had not been errected on a steel frame and not been made of flamable materials, say solid granite, the show that 'God' put on in burning down the statue would have been much more of a 'miracle'. As it was the lightening, a naturally occurring atmospheric phenomenon, was attracted to the talest object around with a potential to lead its extremely high voltage electrical current to ground (the statue's metal frame of the statue and it's rain soaked fiberglass skin). The fibergalss and styrofoam body of the statue burned only because the electrical current and the resistance of the materials it ran through was high enough to raise the temperature of them past their burning point. The fact that some humans will always point to a God's intervention when such acts of nature and physics occur, shows the inherent inability of our human race to evolve as a whole beyond such traditional beliefs and embrace the TRUTH of science that is all around us. If there ever really was a creator of mankind, he/she/they have long since left the planet and only return from time to time via highly evolved space craft to check on their little petri dish experiment that we call Earth.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Memme

      See... that is plausible. God was an Alien, regardless of your beliefs... if he exists at all, he's not a native!
      Well put sir... or ma'am. Unlike the ramblings of righteous-in-christ... who has a paradoxical screen name... because any rightoeusness is "Filthy rags" and claiming to be so is most likely proof of the contrary... so watch yourself R.I.C... you're on dangerous ground!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      O bolt of lightining. We thank thee for truely smiteing this graven image and returning it to the atoms from which it was made.

      Now if lightning would have struck this staue and NOTHING happened? That would be something worth investigating.

      Styrofoam is not rated to withstand 1.21 gigawatts of power, christian god or no christian god.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  7. nina1956

    God definitely has a sense of humor as this fire proves and it also proves the existence of God. LOL!!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  8. Russ

    answer to Lookingforhope: sunny side up, bacon and hash browns?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  9. JonathanL

    Obviously God doesn't like this statue. Why are they rebuilding it? $700,000.00? Money could be better spent on helping their neighbors to keep from going into foreclosure, or for a medical procedure that someone needs and can't afford. This is religion turned to idolatry. The message of love has been lost again. The seed fell on infertile ground.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  10. Phage0070

    Lookingforhope, so you obey your god through threat of force? Sounds like a bully or mobster to me...

    June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  11. steve

    God is Great!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  12. MGD

    All these false idols...will get you no where.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  13. Pooh

    My God help me throw my balls out on the table as if they were dice. Amen.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  14. Gill

    The forces of nature are controlled by God – is this not a sign??

    June 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Wone

    Allahu Akbaar !!!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  16. StoneMason

    Socrates asked religious zealots why Zeus would throw lightning bolts at his own temples, and they had no answer. Nearly 2,500 years later, believers still can't come up with a plausible response. Why put lightning rods on church steeples? It makes no sense. If God wants to zap the church, He will, and if not, He won't. Aren't lightning rods a breach of faith? From pedophile priests to suicide bombers to natural disasters, most of the data are consistent with there being no god, but ye of much faith will never give reason a seat at your table. Hate, though, often sits at the head, next to Fear and, lo, Ignorance.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
    • Russ

      what an excellent point of view!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Memme

      If you were a girl, I'd marry you. I <3 you.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Well said, StoneMason. Well said indeed. Almost Dickens worthy.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • morgan painter

      Read the book of Job.

      God has distanced Himself from this sin filled earth. Bad things happen here as a result of mans rebellion against God. Satan caused all of Jobs problems not God.

      God always warned before causing a disaster. The flood....120 years of warnings and only eight takers. Sodom and Gomorrah, again only a handful. All the earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, there were no warnings, those are just the end results of living in a messed up world that is not the perfect place God intended.

      June 19, 2010 at 3:12 am |
  17. Allah

    The infidels of the world have been warned enough.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  18. NickB5

    You would think the Solid Rock Church would make a solid rock statue. LOL

    June 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  19. Bill Z. Bubb

    Behold the power of Satan

    June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  20. sjd

    blame Bush

    June 15, 2010 at 12:56 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.