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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. Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan

    You have no BELIEF,YOU BELIEF IN MAN WHICH TURNS BACK INTO DUST.YOU PEOPLE ARE PATHETIC AND FOOLISH,I LAUGH AT YOU LOSERS AND PRAY FOR YOU WHILE I DO.YOU DONT DESERVE LIFE,YOU DONT DESERVE ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE.GOD GAVE YOU A CHANCE TO BE SOMETHING.YOU FKIN IDIOTS DARE OPEN YOUR MOUTHS AND SPEAK BLASPHEMY.IT WONT BE A JOKE WHEN THE NATURAL DISASTER HITS,I HOPE YOU HAVE INSURANCE!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Really? 'Cause it looks like you're yelling more than laughing, really.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • someone cares

      umm.. . I believe Natural Disasters were equal opportunity death and destruction makers last time I checked. So that great big "I believe in God" sign you carry around might not work for you.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • Son of Beast

      Calm down, buddy. There are plenty of other idols out there for you to bow down to. By the way, Death Shall Look Upon us all. I just happen to be reasonable enough to know that when I'm gone, that's it. No mansion in the clouds, no fiery furnace. Same goes for you. But you've been lied to and deluded and told that you're special because you think ghosts are real and Superman is just waiting for you in the sky. So tell us, big guy, if you get your reward when you die, why not hasten the process along by standing on the freeway? Just a thought.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • asrael

      Ouch! Which chapter of the Bible supplies us with this remarkable testimony?

      June 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  2. Duderroddimy777

    Oh and that PC that you are typing all of your god arguments on? Yeah that was developed by scientists...those same people who you and your delusional pals rally against every time they have a breakthrough that shatters your dream of a benevolent creator a little more.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      (1 Corinthians 1)

      18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
      19 – For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      The intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[c]
      20 – Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
      21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
      22 – Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
      23 -but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
      24 – but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
      25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
      27 – But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
      28 – He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
      • FullOfFaith

        Amen...perfect scripture for this discussion...

        June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
      • Jojo

        looks like Someone needs some anger management therapy

        June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
      • Krreagan

        righteous-in-Christ: Don't forgot about the stoning of wives and daughters and killing of non-believers!

        June 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
      • Duderroddimy777

        To quote:
        (1 sanity 1)

        18 – being sane is awesome and realizing it is even better.
        19 – Going crazy is easy to recognize; you find yourself in church.
        20 – Where is the medication for the people that accuse without proof? That State without proof? That deny the existence of scientific awesomeness shoved in their redneck faces?
        21 – Believing in something blindly is great, as ignorance is bliss, but discrimination is more blissful, as long as you have a church full of your pals to agree with you.
        22 – Christians demand no signs, as they believe what is first told to them, as they have closed minds, and shall not be missed when their tiny sect vanishes from the giant cosmos.
        23 – There are a ton of good people out there who have died not claiming to be born of a virgin or the son of a magic man living in clouds, yet all better people than those who worship fake stories.
        24 – We're all an awesome random thing that we are still learning about. Just accept the fact that you don't have all the answers. What are you afraid of?
        25 – And the dumbness of a rock is smarter than a christian, and the blindess of a brick sees more than a religious person ever could.
        Apparently we're skipping #26...
        27 – Christians of the world shame the wise, that is normal humans who don't believe in monsters and fairies; and eye for an eye...but we forgot about that part...instead there is a magical guy that walks on H2o...but Harry Potter is evil for getting kids to read.
        29 – He chose to talk out of his bum – and out of the mouths of the stupid, the simple, and the easily swayed – to dumbify the smart, so as to pour heavenly molasses into the wheels of universal progress.

        June 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
      • NOTself-rightious

        Hey righteous, aka Ladyb....Please explain to everyone about Elisha and the 42 children, won't you?

        June 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Armando

    I guess Jesus didn't like. Would this fall under the first commandent? "I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides Me.". Since nobody knows what Jesus looked like because there were never any paintings or drawings of him. All they knew that he was Jewish with a beard. ha!ha!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  4. carlrosen

    Do you think that maybe the lightning gun may have blown up in Jesus' hand while he was trying to smitye someone?

    June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  5. Sarah

    Um, everyone knows that the real "Touchdown Jesus" (or as we non-ND fans like to call him, "4th and short Jesus") is in South Bend.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  6. chris

    Where is the moron Robertson now? He's always blaming the people of an area because of their heathenistic ways for for bringing down the wrath of God upon them. Isn't this the same? My guess is he would not agree with me. I wonder what the people of Haiti would think about this.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  7. JesusIsGay

    You heard it here first...

    The next big story will be "Lightning Struck the Pope" during Sunday mass.

    How cool would that be? Guaranteed an instant YouTube billion hit.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  8. Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan

    YOU FOOLS BELIEVE EVERYTHING SOCIETY TELLS YOU.YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING THE DEVIL WHISPERS IN YOUR EARS.YOU FOOLS ARE EMPTY HEADED COWARDS.THATS WHAT YOU ARE AND GOD FROWNS UPON YOU DEMON CONTROLLED LOONY BINS.IF YOU DONT SEE THAT THE WORLD IS ENDING,YOU WONT SEE WHEN YOUR LIFE ENDS EITHER! NATURAL DISASTER THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE YEAR RIGHT INTO 2011 AND ITS GOING TO CONTINUE INTO 2012.YOU WONT BE ABLE TO RECOVER FROM THE AMOUNT DAMAGE DONE.YOU WONT BE ABLE TO ENJOY WHAT GOD HAS BLESSED YOU WITH.HE'S TAKING EVERYTHING YOU OWN AWAY.HE'S GOING TO LEAVE YOU BARE FOOTED WITH NOTHING.MARK MY WORDS!! DEMONS!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • JesusIsGay

      looks like somebody's been smoking one too many alter boys...

      June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • Duderroddimy777

      "Death shall look upon the followers of Satan"

      Ummmm.........Doesn't 'death' look upon us all? We all have expiry dates right? Right?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Krreagan

      So, on 1/1/2013 we will rejoice in that god must not exist then?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • Truth Is Fireproof

      True. But can't I just repent at the last minute and still squeeze into heaven? That really seems like the best option, honestly. Do you by chance have the exact date in 2012? That would be awesome.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • Gunk

      I love this guys logic – I'm gonna say realy scarey things to you and if you don't just give up you are a coward. How does that work?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      You mean you actually worship such a tyrant?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • Russ

      LOOK OUT! He's got his Caps Lock on!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Russ

      Hey, when the rapture comes, can I have your car?

      June 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • Wild Wallaby

      Ummmmm, methinks that God does not have to shout so much to be heard. Smote away Captain All-Caps.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • asrael

      Finally, the truth revealed! God is the Caps Lock Key!!

      June 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  9. Sam

    I wish i knew if you guys have ever paid anything to widows and poor people when you critic a church that should have helped widows and poor instead of building a statue. have you ever? if not then you shouldnt judge churches.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Truth Is Fireproof

      Hey, I don't claim to live my life based on a book of principles (one of which is be charitable to the poor). If you do claim to be a follower of a certain philosophy, you then become accountable to those principles. Kind of how we as taxpayers can criticize elected officials without having been in their position.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Krreagan

      I'm an atheist and I give on a regular basis! The difference is I give only to organizations that don't spend millions on junk like this!
      If you want to give, then give to organizations where the leaders are not getting rich on your donations! It's idiots like you that give to churches like this and "think" your money is going to a worth while place! NOT!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
      • texokie

        In church, they admonish to give and not announce it to the world like you're doing. It's called humility. It is an abstract idea. A biochemical machine of the Darwin type cannot handle abstracts like humility.

        June 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
        • Truth Is Fireproof

          Really texaokie? I'm a biochemical machine and I can do algebra. Also, close your eyes and picture an apple. What you're seeing is an "abstract idea." I really hope you don't try and engage in this kind of conversation with real, educated people. By the way, humility is a behavior trait. It has biochemical properties.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
        • Whosis71

          I think what he's trying to say is that he's somehow some sort of higher life form than you because he believes in an undead water-walking carpenter.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
        • texokie

          Whois71: Didn't mean to crash the intellectual superiority party. From all of the above, it appears that only the atheist science groupies were invited.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
        • Whosis71

          Really? So your comment about "biomechanical Darwin machines" is actually an example of the humility you're supposedly espousing, and NOT an expression of your inherent superiority due to your belief in talkings snakes? Huh.. Whoda thunkit.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
        • Lee in Arlington Texas

          You are mentioning 'humility' in a comment section about a giant statue of Jesus. How does that term truly relate to this subject?

          June 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
        • SUSEJ

          humility??? here's humility, based on my life experience... the very Christians who went to church every sunday and attended every religious celebration and made donations and prayed the rosary etc... etc... were the same Christians who kicked out my parents from their apartment who lived there for 30 years when they could no longer afford the rent that they kept raising but not fixing anything, the same Christians that have used and abused me for five years. Now if they're all going to heaven, then I don't want to be there with them.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
        • Tex

          Ah, humility. I do rather enjoy the company of my fellow Christians for this quality. CNN's newsboards are filled with hate, sarcasm, and bitterness from those holding science and atheism as God's.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
        • Lee in Arlington Texas

          Ahh, humility. You do not need to be hateful to see that the word never entered into this topic.

          June 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
      • Jason

        Very well said, Krreagan!!

        June 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  10. johnny

    religions...what a joke

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  11. Truth Is Fireproof

    Hey, it was God's will to destroy a statue of his son (or is it himself?) and cause damage totaling $700,000, that will ironically be requested by God (through a man, of course, God doesn't' ask for cash directly) to repair the damage he himself caused. Makes perfect sense to me!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      God accepts VISA, MasterCard and American Express.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  12. texokie

    To you blathering athiests: if you can't tell the difference between the God of Juaism/Christianity/Islam and a fairey tail, than you have never read either the Bible or Marvel Comics or Mother Goose.
    Your lack of belief in God is caused because you only believe what your senses show you while believing comes through intuition – not imagining. Carl Jung recognized intuition as higher mental activity than sensing. Go ahead and "Imagine there's no heaven. It isn't hard to do." John Lenon said its easy so maybe you can do it.

    The astonishing pettiness you show keeps me in church where we are "brainwashed" into TRYING TO love and forgive our fellow human be he Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, or just petty, bitter, idiot.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Petty, bitter idiot? Pot, meet kettle...

      June 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Krreagan

      You are correct! The millions of people that have been tortured/killed/maimed... at the hands of the religious deserved all that they got! Talk about bigotry!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • SUSEJ

      "The astonishing pettiness you show keeps me in church where we are "brainwashed" into TRYING TO love and forgive our fellow human be he Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, or just petty, bitter, idiot."

      TRYING TO LOVE AND FORGIVE... yet we are in two wars with people who don't believe in your Christianity. The president and congress who approved of these wars were Christians, weren't they? So give me a break.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • SUSEJ

      LOVE AND FORGIVE are probably some of the words some soldier painted on the bombs. I'm agnostic and I only believe in treating other people the right way. I believe in truth and justice because truth and justice does not choose a religion

      June 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      If you theists ever manage to do good, it's only because you seek a reward or are attempting to avoid punishment. You will never do something good because it's intrinsically good....and that's pretty disgusting.

      June 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  13. Darryl

    Jesus is finally striking back at those pagan pretenders!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Umm...those "pagan pretenders" as you call them pre-date christianity by several thousand years.

      Study before you post.

      June 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  14. Eric

    most of these posts show that open hatred and bigotry is still fair game against certain groups in this country. The left speaks, or should I say preaches tolerance, but look that the posts found here.

    Some on the left are just are closed-minded and hateful as some on the right.

    loss is loss and should not be celebrated or enjoyed.

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

      Sorry...I enjoy when a tax-exempt organization loses a self-aggrandizing, quarter-million-dollar, fiberglass and styrofoam hood ornament to an act that they generally attribute to the very deity they have built their business around. Irony is fun. Plus we get to see their true colors when they proclaim they will now drop almost another million bucks to replace the thing. Never mind all the other things the church could do with $700 million. They need their Cheesus!!!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  15. Chip Pierce

    If there was ever any PROOF that Jesus is no God, there it is for you.
    Allah Akbar!!!!!
    Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!

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

      UR N Idiot... You obviosly aren't Muslim....so you must just b an idiot

      June 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Mike

      Classy

      June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  16. Lindsey

    The funny thing is we have a Hustler sign right down the street from touch down Jesus and the sign is Metal and Twice as high as the statue and no there was damage done to the sign.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  17. B&T

    Here's the best song done by Haywood Banks about this statue:

    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 2:19 pm |
    • Bonk

      Love it! 😀

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

    I bet they get awesome TV reception now.

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

      LOL!!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  19. Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan

    For those that mock God,nobody will be crying once you die and move on to the spirit realm.Your going to be a joke just like the way you portray God.When you wake up and see a flood that swallows your car or an earth quake that brings your house down on you.Remember what I've just told you.Night Night.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Whosis71

      AWW... Does somebody need a hug??

      June 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Just sit back, relax, enjoy reading those stupid comments and laugh with me!! They are hilarious!!! They won't be mocking God when they find themselves in H3LL....they will be trying to worship and praising God, but it will be too late.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Tell you what, "righteous"- why don't you go ahead and get yourself an advance box seat heaven-side?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Gunk

      "Righteous" seems a little to eager to watch other suffer. A little Godly sadism?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • SUSEJ

      Since you're an exemplary christian, may your god take you tonight

      June 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Mark

      "Earthquake" is one word, fyi....

      June 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • beebee

      haha take it down a notch it's only a CNN blog

      June 17, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  20. noosdf@yahoo.com

    AWESOME!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:17 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.