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. Why Not

    Hey Truth Is Fireproof

    The greatest mass murderers in history (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Tojo) shared one common belief. There were athiests....

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

      I forgot that the Crusades and the Inquisition where all done in the name of atheists. As anyone that is a Christian should know (however you define that) we have no reason to feel morally superior or make any pretense at civility based on a comparison of atrocities committed by individuals and their followers when our religion's past shows we only need faith to find a reason to commit mass murders.

      June 15, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  2. Howard

    LMMFAO! Smite!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  3. John

    If there is no God name me one thing that man can create. I agree that man can take different things that already exist and combine, manipulate and change them but what can man actually create? The answer is nothing. If man with all his wisdom can't create anything do you expect me to believe that everything was created by nothing? God created it.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Well, THAT makes sense! After all if humans didn't do it, 'god' *must have, right? ...'Cause there couldn't POSSIBLY be ANY other explanation or anything...

      June 15, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • asrael

      So ... who created sin?

      June 16, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  4. bob

    the lightning was not atracted by the water. it was the 62foot metal lightning rod inside jesus that atracted the lightning.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  5. joshua

    Think about it, if there was a god don't you think he/she would have better things too do with its time . idk like solve world hunger cure disease etc etc, instead of striking a stupid statue. Just goes to show how stupid people really are lol!!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  6. Lee in Arlington Texas

    Beware the person that says, "I am a good Christian," for the next word is always 'but' followed by something no good Christian would do or say.

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

      Yep – it's like "I want to be famous for my humility"

      June 15, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  7. screaming eagle

    the reason this generation is so horrible is because most of it has no religion or faith. meaning no morals, no values, no respect, no fundamentals.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  8. SUSEJ

    you praise someone because you truly trust him and believe in his work. christianity and probably most types of religions are based on fear... fear that you will not go to heaven and burn in hell for eternity. how can you worship someone out of fear?

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

      Very easily, it seems.

      June 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  9. joe

    I think this was God's way of telling these and all the other stupid idiots out there that build these types of things to knock it off. No need for giant statues and giant churches driven by greed all in the name of Christ. Well there you go. Religion these days is a joke. That's right. I said it.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  10. He's Alive

    It saddens me to the core to read postings like this. You do not bring people to Jesus by casting them down and telling them they are going to hell. One of the tale-tale signs of a true Christian is the love they have for EVERYONE not just other Christians. Sometimes the only Jesus anyone sees is the Jesus in you. I do not look at myself as better than anyone else on this post, but what I do know is at one time I couldn’t think of anything else but partying and women, and after coming under such conviction I decided to get on my knees and turn it all over to God. If it wasn’t real I wouldn’t be typing this now as He has truly changed my life in ways that are unimaginable. The feeling of being truly set free from everything that holds you captive is amazing! Some of you may laugh….but I want you to know that I love each and every one of you…better yet, God loves you more! I will pray that God will touch your hearts in such a way that you will have no doubt that He is real.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      One of the few truly christian postings on this entire thread.

      Thank you.

      June 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • SteveM

      Why would you want to bring more people to an invisible, supernatural fairytale being in the sky. I'd sooner believe in unicorns, get a brain dude.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  11. knobe

    6 stories of styrofoam ? $700,000 damage for styrofoam ?

    Somebody made some profit on that one !

    Wouldn't concrete be less than $700K ?

    June 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  12. Benji

    I would just like to comment back to Thompson. Yes, church goers who blatantly live like the devil outside of church give Crhistians a bad name. But the thing I would like to add to that is that when you become a Christian that doesn't mean that you never sin again. It also doesn't give you a license to sin at will. I have seen where this type thing is used as an excuse not to have anythng t do with Christ – 'look at all of the hypocrites'. We Christians have to be concerned about this so as not to be a stumbling block. In the end tho, it is everyone's decision what they do with Christ.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  13. humanwii

    SteveM. you are an IDIOT, you will be very sorry the day you died and find out you were wrong , very wrong. Right In front of your eyes, you will see the Kings of Kings and Lords of Lords. You can say whatever you want and laught about it..but that day you will very sorry.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • SteveM

      I'M an idiot? You're the one that believes in invisible fairytale beings. Get a brain.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
    • asrael

      Ah, the essence of belief: I'm right, you're wrong, and you'll be sorry! Where does one sign up?

      June 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  14. 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. Some of you need to review the facts before you speak your opinions and theories.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  15. JohnDelusion

    Glad nobody got hurt, and the church looks a lot better without that tacky Styro-Savior in front. Bwaaa-haaa-haaa!

    June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  16. Gunk

    Eveyone doesn't believe in some Gods, Atheist just take it one God further.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  17. Peter

    The story is not newsworthy and what the %$#@ is that video? Of Nothing! Hello CNN it is bad enough that you keep repeating shows like Nancy Grace and Joy Behar several times a night on your "Sister" network, Maybe time to get out of the news business

    June 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  18. Winston

    –KansasCity: 'Before you go saying silly things, remember something along the lines of "Let he whom is without sin cast the first stone".' - KansasCity – maybe you should read up on your Bible passages. Along the lines of Exodus and the tables destroying the false god, a calf, made of gold. Maybe there is good reason to the fourth commandment.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  19. test

    looks like big JESUS took it up the ass there in Monroe, Ohio.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  20. Matt twin citties

    Do you know what's crazy?? if this was a muslim article about a muslim statue getting burned down or something like that..nobody would bash the muslim faith.

    June 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • test

      What's your point? You all r a bunch of nut cases. Big JESUS really took it up the ass there this time.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:34 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.