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. The Dark Prince

    There is no god. Religion is a farce, a con game. "Praise gawd, Jesus wants me to have a new Cadillac....send me your love donations NOW so I can get that Cadillac the lord wants me to drive. Reach into your wallet and take jesus' money out and send it to ME!"

    You religious sheep are just plain IDIOTS!! You;ll find out when you die., There will be NOTHING!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  2. Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan

    The next natural disaster might be happening right outside of your bedroom window.Cant wait to see you cowards to hell,I could either save you or take the easier route if your too fcking stupid.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Russ

      darn it all to heck! You scared me so much I had to change my underwear!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  3. Bill

    Maybe the NFL did this – "upon further review, the call on the field is reversed, the kick was wide right."

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  4. Mark

    I guess God doesn't like bad art....

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  5. darwinianScientist

    Yes, all belief systems are valid, but most are there to give comfort to those who do not wish to see the universe as a cold, unfeeling cycle in which we humans are but a happy and momentary accident. Take comfort in your God(s) and ignore science, so you can exist in a world created in your own minds, not see how much damage we are doing to our own environment with things such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill and not see how easy it would be for us all to become exticnt. We will all be judged. Not by Gods, but by our peers on this jury we call the Internet on this little just-right, warm and water covered rock we call Earth; which by the way, we have only found one of in all of the entire universe with life as we know it in existance.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  6. Akbar

    O People of the Scripture (Christians), do not commit excess in your religion or say about God except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of God and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in God and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, God is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is God as Disposer of affairs. Quran (4:171)

    Say, "O People of the Scripture (Jews & Christians), you are [standing] on nothing until you uphold [the law of] the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been revealed to you from your Lord." And that which has been revealed to you from your Lord will surely increase many of them in transgression and disbelief. So do not grieve over the disbelieving people. Quran(5:68)

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • DH

      Jesus is God's son not by virtue of creation or procreation, but by the role he plays in the trinity. God is one, yet who are we as mere creatures to limit his unity to a single role or personhood. The distinction of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not one division but of cooperation. All three persons are in perfect agreement, yet we see that these distinct persons fulfill the will of God in defferent ways. God is truly great, and it is not possible for us to fathom that greatness completely. I can only hope the Holy Spirit will make that real to you, for his part is to visit upon the hearts of all those whom he calls a fullness of faith despite our ability as humans to only see in part the greatness which he had made known.

      Jesus was not created. "Nothing that has been made that was made without him." He himself said he was the Son of God and he cannot be a liar and a servant of God simultaneously. Do not disrtort his own claims by calling him a mere messenger of God when he is something greater. Jesus died and rose again, and it remains a mystery why God would take on a curse for our sake, but to simply deny that he suffered because you say a messenger of God cannot be shamed imposes on the character of God something that should not be so. "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." How else will God save a people and still be able to judge the sin that he hates?

      June 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
      • DH

        That was supposed to be a reply to "Akhbar"

        June 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  7. B&T

    In southern Ohio, just north of Cincinnati
    I beheld a vision, next to the expressway.
    Was a 60 foot jesus, with his hands in the air
    looks like he’s carved out of butter,
    just like at the state fair.

    Big butter Jesus
    Sweet cream Jesus
    Oh country fresh Jesus
    Unsalted Jesus
    Oh Promise Jesus
    Imperial Jesus
    Can’t believe it’s not Jesus
    Oleo Lord.

    Well you see him from the chest up
    like he’s about to do a back flip,
    like he scored a touchdown
    or maybe melting or about to drown.
    Well I’ve been to the state fair
    seen a cow made out of corn cobs
    Garth Brooks made of string cheese
    and the virgin out of olives.

    Big butter Jesus
    Sweet cream Jesus
    Oh country fresh Jesus
    Unsalted Jesus
    Oh Promise Jesus
    Imperial Jesus
    Can’t believe it’s not Jesus
    Oleo Lord.

    Shipped in pieces on a flatbed
    staring backwards was his big head
    Driver stuck in traffic backups
    desperately avoiding eye contact
    Well don’t make no graven images.
    That’s one of the 10 commandments
    I hope the grading curve is kindly
    You get to heaven with a 90

    Big butter Jesus
    Sweet cream Jesus
    Oh country fresh Jesus
    Unsalted Jesus
    Oh Promise Jesus
    Imperial Jesus
    Can’t believe it’s not Jesus
    Oleo Lord.

    Can’t believe it’s not Jesus,
    Oh spread the word.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  8. The truth

    False Gods!

    Yahweh is the ONE and ONLY true Elohim, take heed people, these things happen for a Reason!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Billy

    They should use the money to build something that would benefit their community, the way Jesus would have preferred. A big statue is not for Jesus' good, it's to fulfill the misguided notions of the parish leaders. From what I know of Jesus, he would balk at this obnoxious statue.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  10. Eddie

    We can only hope Thor's next shot takes out the Creationist Museum fantasyland & brainwashing park on the other side of the river.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Truth Is Fireproof

      Oh man, that would be sweet. All those fiberglass dinosaurs with saddles on them going up? I'm not talking arson, just God's will here!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  11. Hammy

    If there is no God, then this can only be a mere coincidence.

    As a Christian, I still do not attribute this with any certainty to the judgement of God. Sure the money spent to build the statue may not have been a good idea in the first place, but to say that it was intended to be worshiped is erroneous. If I were a random person driving by on the interstate and, as a traveller, I would understand the statue as an invitation to stop by. It may not be the best evangelistic tool, but it does let people know about the church who may not be familiar with the area.

    I do agree that rebuilding the statue seems like a bad idea. There are starving kids and oil spills and medical bills that would provide much bigger spirital benefit if attended to. To those who think that this is a huge hindrance to the cause of Christ, it will not matter in eternity whether a statue burned or not. The whole earth will one day be dissolved, but I can only hope that because of this peculiar news peice that some of you will believe even if you don't believe in God now, that he's already got you started talking about him whether you realize it or not. We all know in our core that God exists (see Romans 1), but it is only by the grace of God that we will cease to suppress that truth and acknowlege him as ruler and creator.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  12. Bill

    So the lighting must have hit the statue in the head, right? Because even a Three Day Zombie follows the rules: only a headshot will put them down for good.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  13. JesusIsGay

    Your god is angry. He struck lighting on the status because he did not feel the love. Now go and build him a bigger statue... preferbably out of gold or he will curse this world with earthquakes / hurricanes / tornadoes and terrorist.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • shawna

      I feel sorry for you..you wont be saying that the day you stand in front of God..thats a fact!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
    • JesusIsGay

      Shawna, you say "thats a fact". How do you know that is a fact??? Did you die and stand before god? Stop preaching your non-sense like they are facts. Your simple mind can't even tell between fiction and fact.

      May Mohammed in the bear costume bless your lost soul...

      June 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  14. a christian

    Just because God didn't stop it doesnt mean he couldnt. The real church is God's children. I should think that God cares more about his children than a building that could have well been a mockery of Jesus (Not saying it is).

    June 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Gunk

      OK – so when lightning kills one of his children why didn't he stop that? Google "Problem of Evil" and think about it.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  15. Dave

    I like it better after the fire.

    God seems to be saying that the church should be praying to a big insect.

    Hey, when you're dealt lemons – make lemonade! Much cheaper to put a big ant head between the
    forearms. That would be really cool, and much more interesting than what was there.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  16. righteous-in-Christ

    I am glad that the statue was burnt down...it doesn't represent Jesus Christ at all in any way whatsoever! Christ followers represent Christ. PRAISE THE LIVING GOD WHO LIVES FOREVER AND EVER!!!


    June 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Whosis71

      ...And a partridge in a pear tree!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Kristen10

    Hallelujah – "Butter Jesus" was obnoxious! Art inspired by Christ is one thing, but that thing was. . . well, evidently just a highly flammable, oversized, styrofoam-filled disaster waiting to happen.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  18. Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan

    ANTI-CHRIST,These people are fricken possessed and they've always wondered why life is so horrible for them.Guess what? I cant wait to make it even more horrible for you idiots that mock God.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Dave

      Oh, brother. Look buddy, believe whatever mumbo-jumbo you want, but leave other people out of it!
      Personally, I worship the sun, but I don't condemn others who don't!!
      Try to be a little more tolerant- OK?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • Me

      my life is pretty fantastic, but thanks for your sincere concern:)

      June 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • reap555

      Doesnt look like these 'idiots' are mocking god, more like the church's blown out of proportion image of jesus.
      One of the biggest issues I got with islam is that they push their religion onto others – by fire and sword if need be. Those here who are screaming foaming at the mouth defending this statue are not far off. IMO, a perfect being who created us all, per se, wouldnt give a crap about your petty ways of worshipping him. People's relationship with god should be their own personal business, don't come around here and threaten me with crap to do it your way, kkthx.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • Gunk

      Mock-a mock-a mock! (Best done in chicken voice)

      June 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Russ

      Booga! Booga! Booga!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • R. A. Williamson

      When the lightning rod was first invented, Churches denounced the concept claiming that "Nothing can alter the will our our lord". And the tallest structures in town - the churches - constantly burnt to the ground after lightning strikes.
      Golly: nothing fails like dogma and prayer.

      June 20, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  19. CJB

    Dontmindeme: That is actually funny... really funny.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • DontMindMe

      A thought provoking question isn't it. Cheers!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Bill

    It's because of the World Cup – right after the lighting bolt took down Touchdown Jesus, a voice was heard in the clouds yelling "Gooooal!"

    June 15, 2010 at 2:09 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.