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. JustWondering

    Maybe God is trying to send His message to this church. I've heard some pretty terrible things about where the original money came from to build this church in the first place. I'll be honest, when the commercials for the church used to run on tv the way the minister and his wife looked reminded me so much of Jim and TammyFaye Baker. There's gotta be something wrong about all that.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  2. Marco Gonzalez

    but your p1ssing and moaning now arent you.....i shall do the same thanks....

    June 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Well then my friend, I guess that makes you just as big of a "moron" as anyone else here. Congratulations!

      June 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
    • referee

      There are two personal fouls on the play.

      There is a personal foul on Styrofoam Jesus for excessive celebration. He has already been penalized.

      There is also another personal foul on Marco Gonzalez and Whosis71 for unsportsmanlike conduct. These penalties offset, but you two are both morons for bickering back and forth.

      June 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • Beau2fool

      Whoa whoa whoa!!! Let's have a look at the instant replay:

      At 4:53, Marco Gonzalez commits the initial infraction by posting an off-subject post complaining about off-subject posts.

      At 5:09, Marco Gonzalez admits that the posts he's complaining about aren't really off-topic.

      The rest is just Whosis71 and Marco going back in forth in some sort of "I know you are but what am I" nonsense.

      So, on further review, both posters are indeed found to be morons, however since the degree of Marco's moron-i-tude far outweighs that of the other party the penalties do NOT offset. Five yards, 1st down!

      June 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ


      Yup, miserable you really are!

      June 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Lacey

    My religious views aside... Think of how many people this church could have helped with $700,000. What a disgusting waste of money.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • Carla

      Yes...and they are planning to waste another 700,000 to rebuild. I don't care what religion you subscribe to-wasting that much when people are in such financial need is horrible.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  4. Cieje3

    I refuse to believe that anything humans do on this planet can alter its well-being for better or worse, much less keep it from destroying it's own inhabitants in retaliation for its abuse. I also refuse to believe that I was evolved from a random chance encounter of amino acids and protein in a primordial soup of microorganisms.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  5. Sam

    This is a clear sign of god's distaste for idoltry and images which misrepresent his image as the omnipotent one. God is not a man and should never be worshipped as one. HE is the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-hearing who created the heavens and the earth. No image built by our hands can ever grasp that concept. These are the lessons to take away from this story.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  6. Marco Gonzalez

    maybe you were a little to focused on mine....if you dont like my posts' dont read them. Simple

    June 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Brosef, *I'm* not the one p1ssing and moaning and calling people "morons" over "off topic" posts that you've admitted AREN'T off topic. I'll read what I want and post what I want, thanks.

      June 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      You're just joining the thread now and that's really late in the game, thread jacker.

      The topic is "Was this a divine act? And if it was, is it still funny?"

      June 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  7. Tyronio

    1 sixty-two ft tall monstrosity of Jesus.

    1 bolt of lightning.

    Erasing a megachurch's hideous depiction of a beloved religious icon from the landscape? Priceless.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  8. Christian

    The statue was 6 stories tall and was a depiction of our Lord reaching towards the heavens. The church is the "solid rock" church.... the reality is this "solid rock" statue was really cheap foam with some plaster of paris smeared over it... is that a metaphor for the church? Now let me see.... a quarter of a million bucks to build this bit of worthless junk that God himself struck down and now another 700,000 to rebuild this trash? Over a million bucks that could have gone to feed how many people?

    June 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  9. Stop This

    How can any of you take this seriously. It was a G-d awful piece of advertising trash. There was nothing sacred about it. It is just something funny that happened.It will be on South Park or John Stewart tonight.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  10. Marco Gonzalez

    obviously you do know that he is his father but if your trying to make a point then i guess..do your thing...but your off topic now arent you

    June 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • Whosis71

      What are you- the 'topic police'? And who was it that started *this* particular little divergent thread, anyway? If you don't like certain posts, don't read them. Simple.

      June 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      Marco Gonzalez....THREAD JACKER!! (Bum-bum-buuuuummmmm.)

      June 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  11. JH Crist

    "Make no graven images..."

    June 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  12. Marco Gonzalez

    yes catholocism and/or christianity. identifies them as a whole

    June 15, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • Whosis71

      Then how is posting about god off-topic?

      June 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mike in VA

      The article was about a styrofoam statue of a religious figure being struck by lightning.

      What article did you read. Please heed you own advise and stay on topic.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • Beau2fool


      So... Um.... Doesn't this statement of yours kinda make you full of crap?

      June 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  13. Marco Gonzalez

    read the article..and dont get off subject

    June 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • Whosis71

      I thought god and Jesus were kinda the same dude and all, you know, 'cause of the whole 'trinity' thing...

      June 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Greg

    Jesus was a prophet and martyr. He would be ashamed at the way Christians and Jews(since he was Jewish) act these days. At least half of you are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. That is exactly what Jesus was fighting against, the hypocracy of the high Jewish priests. I had never seen the statue in person, but it looked pretty cool; however, everybody, Jesus is not now, and never was "God", or even the son of "God". Who of you who believes in "God", thinks that this "God" would let this happen? I guess, maybe "God" was just sleeping again.

    To the writer of this article: you are a goofball. The last paragraph should have been left out. I would have given you a ticket too. If you were also the final editor, you missed a spelling error.

    CNN, your standards are continuing to go down. How did either of these things make it into the final draft? I am unemployed right now and would be happy to be one of your editors; you definitely need some help. I will do it for $12.00 per hour, so how about it? I will be waiting for your reply, goofballs. Have a good day.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  15. Marco Gonzalez

    iam a believer in God and jesus and respect peoples belief at the same time..but both you christian fools and so called atheist keep talking about God when this was a statue of jesus...wow both of you group of people must be morons....

    June 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • asrael

      Lots of "respect" going on here...

      June 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  16. john

    This is a sign for Tom Izzo to not take cavalier job..

    June 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  17. joshua

    if your god was real why didnt he write the bible? hmm... man did!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  18. Bubba

    When my house got struck by lightning, my nasty next-door-preacher snickered that God struck me down. A month later a tornado wrecked his house and piled the bricks on his Caddy. He said that was just a big storm. I told him God was not mocked, nor blamed for others' misfortunes. He didn't like that much.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • asrael

      But your story, if true, is very likeable!

      June 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  19. Jeremiah Quarles

    A possible new site for Burning Man Festival? 🙂

    June 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  20. Head Shaking

    Wow. No matter what side of the fence you are sitting on, you all sound like little-educated, judgmental fools. I'll go have a discussion with others who do NOT have it all figured out. In the mean time, those of you who DO can continue to go about slashing each others' throats. Let me know how that works for all of ya.

    June 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • asrael

      Nice of you to let everyone know where he/she stands from your lofty perch.

      June 16, 2010 at 5:05 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.