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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. This Message Board is Proof...

    ... that civility and integrity is dead regardless of belief or unbelief.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Like Freedom, died a long time ago.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • asrael

      And this is news?

      June 16, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  2. Muhammad Likes Goats

    Touchdown Jesus to Torchdown Jesus

    June 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  3. vilma

    Lev 26:30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

    Exodus 20:4 ¶ Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

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

      Great scrips also Jeremiah 10 explains why to not do it.....it's the heathens way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  4. Interesting

    I love all of the comments... more room for me.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  5. The truth

    AND THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH, AND THEY WILL LOOK UPWARD AND CURSE THEIR GOD!

    ALL CHRISTIANS PUT JESUS IN THE SKY! smh

    June 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  6. Jonas Brother

    The Christian religion is full of hypocracy. Its selfish to think theres 1 god for just us out of the TRILLIONS of galaxies. Theres probably millions of planets exactly like ours. The book is a book of morals no more

    June 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • jonathan

      There is much more in the book than you could possibly ever imagine....For your information it condemns the making of images idols and what not..My heart is attually thrilled that this happened....

      June 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  7. MyEyesAreOpen

    Heard shortly after...
    "Oops, my bad"

    June 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  8. ROFL!

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read the part where lightning caused this fire. I wonder how "believers" will rationalize that.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  9. 1plus1

    the fact that it's even called "touchdown" jesus is telling... Do athletes really think that God favors their team in a game? Do they really think that God allowed them to make that touchdown? Same goes for actors who think God chose them for the Grammy. Or same goes for countries who think God is on their side of any conflict, and agrees with bombing the enemy.. It's ridiculous.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  10. Lee in Arlington Texas

    Struck by lightning?? Ummm, at what point does it shift from an act of nature to God's will. Oh right, if lightning struck a gay nightclub, a Mosque or strip joint that would be God's will. This is because someone made a Jesus statue out of a steel frame and styrofoam beer coolers. Obviously, this was an act of nature caused by a devious group of electric eels coaxed into attacking a styrofoam structure by their water dwelling brethren. All bent on stopping man from polluting the Earth's waterways.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  11. pg

    OMG!! I think I can see the shape of Jesus in that steel frame burnt out mess! It's a miracle! AND they can sell it on eBay...

    June 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  12. Carlton

    Jesus Christ is Lord!!! I love you Jesus and thank you for saving my SOUL and I look forward to your return!!! Amen!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  13. JGB

    The locals may have used this as a way of grounding their faith, but a bunch of electrons used it as a path to ground. Why must those electrons be so negative about everything?

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

      that is by far the best response... thank you for being actually clever.. 🙂

      June 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  14. StoneMason

    By the way, I've always wondered about Satan's gig. I mean, he's immortal, right? So there isn't "one god", gotta be at least two. Then, he's got the job of tormenting God's rejects in Hell for eternity. So, is he a subcontractor for God? Is he the Haliburton of Hell? Is he faithful to God's wishes, i.e. giving good torment? Orrrrrr... is he maybe putting on a good show, just to keep the Big Guy happy, but really as the enemy of God he's running an underground hedonism resort, rewarding all his loyal followers with endless pleasures involving sins of the flesh, etc. I mean, when you think of it, why would Satan work up a sweat to torment the folks who rejected God and favored him instead? Maybe he keeps up the ruse of Hell being, well, hellish just so most of the rubes crowd the Pearly Gates and keep the prime real estate down under from getting crowded. After all, what's the downside for Satan not tormenting souls? What's God gonna do – banish him to Hell for eternity? Been there, done that. I suppose God could threaten to seat Satan at his left hand. Then he'd have to suffer not only a gloating JC, but an eternity of angels singing hymns. And as Voltaire observed long ago – anything too stupid to be said, is sung!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  15. texokie

    I would call the great atheist minds on this page "groupies" ,Knowing little about science, and nothing about religion. ACTUAL scientists would be embarassed by your trying to hang around with them.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • asrael

      Ah, a gratuitous insult; it's been so long...

      June 16, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Spot

    I think we've got our answer to WWJD ... if struck by lightning.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  17. Lots of Hate

    I just find it sad whether you are religious or not that many of you spew so much hate towards each other on a freakin computer!!! This hate is based on nothing but the postion your "enemy" takes on religion! Damn, you people are just sad!!! I mean Really?????

    June 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      And yet here you are with you screen name. Were you going for witty or ironic when you selected "Lots of Hate"? or perhaps sarcasm? Either way, your screen name carries a certain anount of responsibilty with it. Now my question to you is: Where is it? Where's the hate? How much is there? An once? A pound? A metric ton? or just perhaps a smidge? Personally I don't think there is any hate. The hate on this thread had been well taken care of by righteous-in-christ and her sister Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan (and yes, there are those of us who think they are the same person.)

      So, go away emo-kid. And leave the hate to the professionals.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • asrael

      Yes, almost as sad as those who feel it necessary to announce how superior they are, compared to all those (other) sad people.

      June 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  18. NKYview

    God has spoken. Listen to Him and DO NOT waste valuable dollars rebuilding it!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  19. Nathan

    It was the real Gods and Goddesses who did this, about time they spoke up!

    June 15, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  20. Ponder

    Wow! We can look for love or we can look for hate. You can not see either emotion but you can see the results. Just like the wind, you can not see it, but you can see it moving a leaf through the air. We are all looking for validation and acceptance. We are all on a journey through life. It is healthy to debate..... but so mindless to hate. You can be ordinary or extraordinary! We all have the freedom to choose what legacy we will leave here when we are gone.........

    June 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lots of Hate

      Finally, someone else who actually gets it!!!

      June 17, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
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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.