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. realistic85

    The definition of iorny... =)

    June 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • JayQ

      Fiction writers couldn't make this crap up... Love it!

      June 15, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  2. UncleSusan

    Oh my gosh! I have hated that statue since the put it up! I believe lightning IS an act of God! Thank you, Jesus!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  3. Chris M

    Big wheel keep on turning! Proud Jesus keep on burning! Rolling....rollling on the river!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Raiche58

      Chris M

      Big wheel keep on turning! Proud Jesus keep on burning! Rolling....rollling on the river!

      @ Chris M

      June 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Marlye

      Boiling, boiling, boiling in the river.....do ro to to to to to to.....

      June 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Caron

      rofl!!!! HILARIOUS!!!!!! Best comment of the day!

      June 16, 2010 at 12:15 am |
  4. Jesus Cristo

    Best business in America now days your own christian church...

    June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • James

      I am so sorry that these people claim to be followers of Jesus of Nazareth who had no place to lay HIS own head....I am sorry but I have to agree with your sentiment. Christendom has turned this into a business empire. I am so sorry to see this take place all around me. Take heart, the Lord does not approve.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Tom

      James – Jesus just sent me a note on Twitter. He's asking that you and your co-religionists stop claiming to speak for him. Thanks.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Ray

    How about feeding babies, ridding the world of molesters....nah let's just build a bigger idol to worship...!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • James

      I agree with your sentiment.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • ana44

      Ditto; I wholeheartedly agree. Let's get our priorities straight.

      June 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  6. Chris M

    Burn Jesus ! BURNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • James

      May the Lord Jesus speak to your heart today. Amen.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Tom

      James – she did. And she told me that you're gay.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
    • Russ

      Tom, ahahaha! ROFLMAO!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  7. tr8tr

    Zeus, Thor and Jesus walked into a bar...

    June 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      And what? It's a great set up! Keep going.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  8. Alex

    All I know is one way or another, somehow this is going to get pinned on Obama.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  9. Chris M

    Blah blah blah.................Thanks for the up date, mentally damaged freak! Also keep religion looking good and interesting! Spew out the hate, christ will reward you for it! righteous-in-Christ

    June 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  10. M

    Can you say.... Big Butter Jesus?

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • reap555

      I cant believe its not jeeeeesus

      June 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  11. Chris M

    Keep mocking God, keep being stiff-necked, keep being stubborn, keep being fools, keKeep mocking God, keep being stiff-necked, keep being stubborn, keep being fools, keep being disobedient........

    Blah blah blah.................Thanks for the up date, mentally damaged freak! Also keep religion looking good and interesting! Spew out the hate, christ will reward you for it!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • thedosai

      the only time I have seen real hate is from christians. I have been on the recieving end of that hate. I lost a job because of that hate. remember the witch trials? The inquisitions? let us talk about hate.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  12. Mark B.

    Guess we'll see who laughs last.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • vengence

      Maybe, but for the time being, I am rolling on the floor laughing my a$$ off. This is the funniest thing I have seen in ages!

      June 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Tyronio


      June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tom

      I bet you can't WAIT for that Mark, huh? You self-righteous sadistic little turd.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      I think I'll laugh last. I can't stop!! This story is just hilarious!!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  13. John

    The biggest threat in this country is 'jesus' religious extremists and all the brainwashing that goes on in churches like this one. Hope this incident will be a lesson for people to rationalize reality. every obsessively religious person in this country has only one goal and that is to convert as many other people as possible. sadly, in the next 50 years there's a good chance our country will be partially if not mostly a theocracy.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Mark B.

      If you can seriously take one look at this administratin and the Congress and say "The biggest threat in this country is 'jesus' religious extremists and all the brainwashing that goes on in churches like this one." Then you, sir are the the biggest problem wtih America. The brainwashing is going on in our schools with revisionist histroy that omits so much of what really happened. The problems occur when we teach our children to believe in and respect absolutely nothing. Ever since God was taken out of the schools and put on the back burner in government, things have pretty much spiraled downhill. One only has to observe to see the truth.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Tom

      Please take god out of everything like most civilized countries do.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tyronio

      I knew someone would blame this on Obama. A fundamentalist never disappoints.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
    • Russ

      I had so hoped, that in my lifetime, serious belief in fairy tale beings would come to an end or the people who believed in them would be marginal. It's scary living next to the biggest theocracy besides Iran.
      –Your Canadian atheist neighbour.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • TheRealJesus

      Radical followers of Jesus and his word. These radicals will give shelter to the homeless, will give food to the starving, will visit the prisoner in prison, will bless his enemy and in turn love them, will pray for and care for the fatherless, the widow and the least of these. If these are the radicals that you speak of then bring it on, I can't wait for this world to pass away. Right now this world is radical supporters of Satan and his AntiChrist. His system is in place and people are eating and buying up the lies of this system at a feverish rate. You either worship God or you worship this world.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Bryan

      Agreed. We would all do better to give up childish ideas of an eternal father whom we are commanded to love and fear at the same time and who is able to make those weak enough of mind commit atrocities. All the same, I'm glad this church is there to provide a bit of comic relief to us all.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • Soldierup

      There was a bang, then we climbed out of ooze, turned into monkeys, then eventually people... yea that makes sense, give it up control freaks theres a GOD.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      To Mark B. - We teach our kids to respect the truth, which is often different than the distorted version of things Fundamentalist Christians and hyper-patriots wish were true.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • NJ Bob

      To Soldierup – That's one of the most ignorant things I've heard lately. Are you a product of our educational system? If so, we need to take remedial steps immediately.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Soldierup

      @Bob its called sarcasim, i'm poking fun at big bang theorists, and evolutionists, maybe you should of went to my school.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • JAB

      The biggest threat to this country is bigots like you who harbor such hatred for Christians. You probably deride Christians for being intolerant, and yet you say such things? HYPOCRITE.

      About that church, have you ever even been there? Most likely NO. But I have. I used to play guitar there. It is not a group of racist white people as you probably think. Most (60+ percent) of the members are black. They are not brainwashed. Many of them openly support Barack Obama.

      I would suggest you get some facts before you spew your hate.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bryan

      @SoldierUp So you are saying that magic, and cheap wizardry (think parthenogenisis et al.) makes more sense than the gradual transition from one form to another? What logic, what evidence do you use to back this up? As I understand it, evolutionists have several examples of transitional fossils. What have you, a book?

      June 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • Rational Dan

      Not a chance. Religion is losing its grip and we are becoming a more religously tolerant country. In 50 years, it will be the religous people who will cling to the same seperation of church and state laws they are now trying to dismantle.

      June 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
  14. magusap

    I believe Jesus did not like that. Did it not say in the bible to humble yourself? Talk about the word of God, but you do not have to make it super out there. Was Jesus yelling, acting crazy when he was talking about the word when he was alive? NO...

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Sharon

      You are so correct. Jesus said do not make a show of prayer.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • knucklehead61

      See Matthew 7 or so...the part about going into your closet to pray...

      June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • SteveM

      Like I said, one less symbol of ignorance and stupidity in the world. I love it!

      June 15, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • thedosai

      yeah causing a riot by chasing the money lenders out of the temple, yeha that was keeping your cool, I wonder what a fart from jesus would have smelled like? what made him laugh? who cares?

      June 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • SteveM

      Would a Jesus turd be holy $#*%?

      June 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  15. marcia

    This is absolutely hilarious!
    It must have really gotten on Jesus' nerves
    to see himself like this!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  16. JAMA

    Touchdown God!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • knucklehead61

      After further review....

      June 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  17. Joey

    Here is a video I found online of it burning.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • dmmm

      Wow it sure looked like the work of the devil.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
    • darwin

      Holy Smokes! I saw the devil's face in the fire!! Maybe he did it.......

      June 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  18. Kat

    1 point Zeus

    June 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Allah

    I'm glad this happened.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  20. John

    Thank ya Jesus!!! The monstrosity's finally gone!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:35 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.