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. Ryan Van Giesen

    How is the only thing I see posted is hatred towards the Muslim & Islamic societies , do you honestly believe these were the only people who committed murder ? Why don't you ( Christian Supporters ) who are against the Muslim teachings take a step back into history & take into account the factual history & evidence that transpired centuries ago. The Christians were one of the largest mass murderers in religious history. Take into account the Crusades for example , the unknown number of millions of heathens , pagans , tribes & other religious diversities that were massacred by the Crusaders during that bloody period. These same crimes were committed for generations well even into the 1600's. How many lives were lost for Christianities misjudgement ? How many people were falsely accused of being witches or medicine men & so much more and were condemned and burned at the stake. During the 1700's into the 1800's , Christianity spreaded hate , lies and deceat against other religious diversites , teaching people to hate others unlike them. Why don't you go back into the books and start reviewing the real historical facts instead of weighing your opinions , your theories and your faith as truth , because unfortunately those can't outweigh the hard-core facts & historical evidence. Why do you stop and think for a moment why so many other religious & cultural diversities hate Christianity and why their is such a heightened increase in other dominations and diversities other then Christianity ? Why don't you all go back and read up on the Council Of Nicea & Constantinople and read the origins of the Bible , why don't you read about how the Christians expelled certain texts & chapters from the bible itself ? Go and research the Coptic Texts & all that Biblical Apocrypha and you will see how Christianity has been twisted , altercated and transformed from century to century... The religion today is just one big joke & lie.

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

      Taking only your last sentence and removing "The", it seems many people would agree with you.

      June 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  2. eric b.

    as entertaining as this was to read, i have to say that the insults here only come from your fear of the unknown. faith is your answer to all of this. we don't know what God is thinking. I just know he loves you and has a place for you. all you need to do is choose to believe in him and love him. time was named after him. people go out of there way to mock him. they use his name to curse. it's funny that people spend all this energy on someone that they do not believe exists. God is so good. You will believe in him one day. God Bless You All!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • asrael

      Always nice to be entertained, but it seems as though there is plenty fear of the unknown to go around.

      June 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  3. Ponderthescribe

    "God is dead."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

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

      And to finish the joke:

      "Neitzche is dead."

      Not a christian. Just a comedian.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Satch

    I guess it worked. It got all of you talking about God, Christianity and eternity. Don't you think that was the point?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mike in VA


      June 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • BC659


      June 16, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  5. JER

    TO all who Hate JESUSCHRIST GOD of the UNIVERSEand EVEN BEYOND!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tell you there is no HOpe for you every one will Die someday either TOday or tomarrow NO ONE assures YOUR LIFE. TO THOSE who felt sad for the statue. ITS JUST A STATUE!!!! and that would be called IDOLATRY, JESUS GOD of everything placed HIs rath on that Statue because He is tired of seeing people PRaise the THING THINKING IT LOOKS LIKE HIM!!!! no ONE knows how Jesus looks Alright except the mere description in the Bible. NOW to all those Evolutionist, GOD CONTROLS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, the only thing is he will not force humanity to anything, whether you bend down upon HIM Today or After Death YOU will still bend DOWN UPON HIM!!!!!!! EveryThing PROVES HIS EXISTANCE, NO one will Have an excuse .

    June 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Sorry JER, but the raving zealot postion has already been filled by Righteous-In-Christ and Death Shall Look Upon The Followers Of Satan. We may need you in the next episode of Over-reaction Theatre.

      Don't call us, We'll call you.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • Tom

      How many rabid christians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

      June 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
    • jeff

      poe's law always gets me on guy's like you, I can never tell

      June 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  6. CherylS

    HMMM...Jesus struck by lightening. I wonder what point is being made here?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  7. Reba

    Always found this "statue" to be creepy and odd. Glad it is gone and hope they put the insurance money to better use! Or will the claim be denied due to "an act of God"?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  8. DaveC

    I'm an atheist who does not have a problem with Christians, and I know there are plenty of them who are good (non-hypocritcal) people. It's sad to see this sort of generalization. Mainly, I'm glad nobody was hurt. It could've been worse.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • Matt twin citties

      thank you Dave

      June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  9. Tim

    Why is it that when there is an "act of god" so-called "christians" are the first to blame gays for causing the disaster saying their god is angry, but when an act of god directly strikes them they don't get the message that He does not like what THEY are doing?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  10. ChiefOBoB

    For Truth Is Fireproof

    Hitler was an atheist (though raised Catholic) and the slave trade involved nations on three continents, and not everyone involved was a Christian. While there is no arguement on the Inquisition, the Crusades were not a war on Islam, they were wars over the Holy Land in which BOTH sides fought to retain possession of the Holy Lands.

    Seriously, did you think you could just post whatever hatefilled drivel you wanted and not get called on it.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Truth Is Fireproof

      Hitler was an atheist? Well someone needs to tell historians that "fact." I don't even know how to respond to your other claims you're obviously not a fan of "deep" history.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      The Catholic Church was instumental to the subjugation of the native indians, the destruction of Mezo-America, turned a blind eye to the holocaust, recieved millions in sloten assets from the nazis and before that there was the Inquisistion as well as the log standing molestations that are now just coming to light. This not an all inclusive list of crimes that should be brought against the catholic church.

      So tell me...how is your religion blameless again?

      June 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  11. BC659

    Here in our neck of Arizona, firefighters are setting a control burn of overgrown vegetation because of fire danger. I went out to watch and spoke to a burning bush. God said she didn't want to be involved. So I'm going to the movies.

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

    Nothing to see here. But our society discriminates against atheists a lot more than it discriminates any religion. Oddly, it is clear that most people really don't believe in God. They say they do to fit in, but they don't really think about it or use God's words to guide the way they live their lives. The commenter above is correct, there are very few atheists in prison. A lot of people who say they believe in God, but are lying to themselves. They don't really believe in God, and nor do most people.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  13. chancie

    That's what happens when you spend $250,000 on a statue instead of helping people in need. Jesus, who was charitable and humble, probably didn't appreciate the sentiment very much anyway. They may as well have made a golden cow statue.
    Help the needy you hypocrites!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • BC659

      You're absolutely right, chancie. It's like burning $250,000 that could have helped humanity!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • jonathan


      June 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  14. Ryan

    Ha these reactions are hilarious... That thing was an eyesore anyway good riddance.. It's amazing how many people still believe in god.. Dumb

    June 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus came to save the dumb....the smart assess he can do without.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Point Jonathan!

      June 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • asrael

      And even better once he learns how to spell "asses".

      June 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm |

    Thanks, B&T - love the lyrics about the big butter Jesus!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  16. Cyrano

    That's what those retard deserve for erecting such an idiotic monstrosity. The fact these idiots believe that Jesus even existed is one thing, but that he was more than just a man is just unfathomable. THERE IS NO GOD SO HOW COULD HE HAVE HAD A SON YOU MORONS!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus came to save morons and I am proof.....While you may laugh at that it's true...Jesus came and did save me! Amen.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • Lee in Arlington Texas

      Sadly,no matter which side you fall on about this posting, sounding like an uneducated nut is not the singular purvey of either group.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  17. jonathan

    This is why i absolutely loathe statues and images in christianity..symbols can be destroyed..and when they do they destroy the hope and faith people have in Christ. And rightfully so because they put their trust in man made works, rather than in the Words of God...which too many times they throw behind them..There are many of us who feel that the sing of the cross is the mark of the beast...Jeremiah chapter 10 talks a lot about it.. Read it and weep !!!!!! To me such people are like the heathen spoken in this chapter rather than the followers of Christ...

    June 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  18. ChiefOBoB

    Morons at CNN – Touchdown Jesus is in South Bend, IN

    June 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  19. John Lane

    It would seem evident that Jesus didn't like the statue.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
    • jonathan

      More than anything Jesus would love that his words were in the hearts of them who say they believe in him,.i tell you there is nothing more than that..

      June 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  20. 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.

    Exd 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 3:02 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.