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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. toxictown

    Gooooooooaaaaaaaaaaallllllll!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  2. stupid people

    I love all these "keep religion out of school" and comments of the like. What was our country founded on? Why did people come here in the first place? Those who don't like that it was founded upon God can just get the hell out of here then. There are plenty of other places to live that weren't

    June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Gunk

      WOw – call people stupid and prove you own ignorance at the same time. We came here to get AWAY from forced religion, not to reinforce it!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      No one has even mentioned religion in schools until now. Do try to keep up, won't you?

      June 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  3. 1plus1

    Apparently God didn't like you guys worshiping "false idols".. Or maybe it was just nature..

    June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  4. Navy Chief

    Navy Chief

    For those that don't like or trust Christians/Jews or any other person that believes in God. Remember this.... there is a difference between religion and relationship. I have a relationship with G-d and therefore I don't pass judgement on anyone. I might NOT believe in what you say, but will fight for your freedom to say it. I'm not religious, I just have a relationship with G-d. For those that have a bad taste for G-d, I am truly sorry. He doesn't care for religion, he cares for relations.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Gunk

      Nice try Chief – Having a relashionship with God = being a thiest = religion.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  5. Spot

    Their god must be an art critic.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  6. sara

    Not believing in Jesus myself – I have to say that I read the article because I was hysterically laughing that it was struck down by lightning. Crazy, wacky, pushy, ignorant Christians.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  7. FugitivePoet

    Further proof that an intelligent and benevolent god does not exist or there would have been a greater symbolism revealed in a simultaneous trinity incineration of robertson, cheney and limbaugh.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  8. krf

    This really made CNN?! No flipping way!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  9. fedupin2010

    I work with a lady " use that word sparingly" who claims to be an athiest.... YET she uses the words jesus christ, god damn and go to hell in just about every sentence. It makes me sick. If you don't believe then how can you use the word god damn?? stupid athiest hypocrites. Believe in your beliefs and I will believe in mine. Oh yeah one last thing, The "athiest" at my office celebrates Christmas yes I said C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s. as in the birth of jesus christ. talk about hypocrites.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • NickB5

      Christmas as you call it is a holiday stolen from ancient Pagans (winter solstice) by the catholic church to help in converting Pagan Europeans into christians. Jesus was born during Spring.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • asrael

      Yes, it must be frustrating; almost as much so as to read a diatribe where atheist is misspelled repeatedly. Are you really complaining because an atheist is borrowing Christian curses?

      June 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  10. NickB5

    He shall rain down Pirates and Ninjas and Monkeys upon you and smite you with His Noodly appendage!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm |
  11. sorry_fools

    Well, from the looks of a lot of these comments Hell is going to be quite full. Remember to take your fire retardant blankets!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Oh Joy!! Weez-a gunna have us a heathen-burnin'!!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • NickB5

      What did the priest say to the alter boy? It's not a sin, it's not a sin, it's not a sin (w/ corresponding hand gestures and pelvic movements)

      June 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • Russ

      I'm bringing marshmallows!

      June 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  12. StoneMason

    Yo – "Death Shall Look Upon the Followers of Satan": Satan is as much your imaginary enemy as God is your imaginary friend. Seems to me all y'all Christians follow Satan much more closely than do we non-believers, for whom Satan is no more real or instructive than Zeus, Hades, Shiva or Uranus, for that matter. Regarding what we non-believers live for, is this life, here and now. When you recognize the fact that this life is all we've got, all we're every going to have, it becomes rather precious and worth enjoying. If you've quaffed the theocratic kool-aide and have deluded yourself into thinking that death is a portal into a better world, then you're apt to trash this planet and its co-inhabitants as not worth spit. But, apparently, worth a considerable amount of spittle, to judge by the sermonizing and inquisitions believers are wont to apply with sinful abandon. I'd be happy to leave you to your miserable self-loathing, if only you would leave the rest of us in peace rather than in pieces.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  13. joan

    That statue was put up to represent the church that built it. period. And hopefully they have good insurance.

    The real Jesus resides safely in heaven, and he must cry alot when he looks down on all us stupid idiots and the things we do and say. He love us and he is coming back soon. In person. and not one of you guys will be HAHAHAHAHAHAing then.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  14. George

    As a Christian I find the incident both ironic and humorous. If it was a directed act by God then I would have to say that it was a warning / test of faith. What is important, your faith in God and your fellow man, or a statue?

    June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  15. Navy Chief

    For those that don't like or trust Christians/Jews or any other person that believes in God. Remember this.... there is a difference between religion and relationship. I have a relationship with G-d and therefore I don't pass judgement on anyone. I might believe in what you say, but will fight for your freedom to say it. I'm not religious, I just have a relationship with G-d. For those that have a bad taste for G-d, I am truly sorry. He doesn't care for religion, he cares for relations.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  16. The Former Vice President, Al Gore

    Al Gore told us this would happen. Man Bear Pig IS more powerful than God.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  17. JAB

    How many of you Christian-haters have ever been to this church? Attended there? My guess is few or none at all.

    Most of you probably jump to the conclusion that these are bunch of racist white Republican haters who attend this church. I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that this is not the case. A solid majority (I would say 60+ percent) of the church's attendees are black. Many openly support Barack Obama. Though I'm sure you don't intend to, you insult them with the rest.

    I would suggest to all to get the FACTS and little more knowledge about the subject before you hastily brand them as "haters", and then spew your own hatred in your hypocrisy.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • JAB

      I base my knowledge from two years of attendance and playing guitar on their worship team for a year.

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

      If your faith was solid you wouldn't have to come across as so defensive.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • asrael

      And, if God were to have a sense of humor (surely that can't be a human characteristic only), he/she/it would be chuckling just a tiny bit at the fallout from this "natural" occurrence?

      June 16, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  18. darwinianScientist

    I do feel sorry for the congregation of the Church, to have lost their symbol. As long as no human lives were ended though and the mistakes of the statue's construction are learned from, I wish them well in recreating it. If we can't be humane toward each other on Earth, we have little chance of succeeding in getting at least a few human beings off of this planet and to another hospitable planet before a scientifically explainable disaster renders it unable to sustain our lives. Worship God(s) if you want or don't, but work with everyone else whether they believe or not, so we can acheive the goal of sustaining our species for all eternity...

    June 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Tbone

    This story along with all of the comments below, is HILARIOUS!!!! $700,000 and they are going to rebuild? How many times does your God have to tell you he/she/it isn't happy? Good lord – talk about thick!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  20. Bonk

    ..
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    Uh oh, here come the forum police removing everything that is mocking the almighty figment of their imagination!
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ..

    June 15, 2010 at 2:36 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.