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. Kari Horowitz

    I wish they would use the money for charity...help some of the soup kitchens or shelters in the area instead of spending the money on steel rods, fiberglass and Styrofoam. Put some food in people's stomach that act of charity is more in line with a religious act than erecting that statue

    June 16, 2010 at 4:04 am |
    • essie

      There is a church here in Houston on Interstate 45 north near Spring, Texas that wants to build a 500 foot cross. They are collecting the funds for it now. Members have complained about a local and national "gay agenda" for years (meaning the quest for civil rights). If a 500 foot cross on the side of a Texas interstate does not fall under the realm of an "agenda", I don't know what does. Gays simply want to be treated like all other American citizens. This church is simply using the cross and its location to attract dollars to add on to their elaborate church. The have acres and acres to spare. They cut down a nice forest and put up a huge parking lot. No money seems to have been spared. I don't think God wants the money spent on a 500 foot cross or an elaborate new east wing. I think he would be proud if they forgo the idea and help the needy.

      June 17, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  2. His daughter

    I will not comment on the article since what is done-is done. However, to all of you people out there who shout "I am an atheist": who you kiddin'? There is no such thing as atheism. You know there is a God and the thought of facing Him someday, scares you! Yet, when you are alone, when you are in pain, when you get divorced, have an abortion, abuse your chiildren, when some little rocks fall on your life's path and create obstacles that seem unbearable, who do you quietly pray to? Who did this country pray to after 9/11? Hurricane Katrina? You may not say the name of Jesus, but it is His help you seek. Science has not yet found a cure for anything and medication is proof of that: "take this and it will go away....for about a month" 🙂 How about pscychotic disorders? Depression? Drugs? Billions of dollars go into the "research" and there is zilch. I just want to tell all of you "unbelievers" out there: GOD HAS THE CURE. don't rant about how much you hate "religion", you know well that it's not about religion. What really ticks you off is the contenment that faithful christian find in God. It's jealousy. Yes, you are jealous because we worry about nothing – God is in control of our lives. He is in control of yours as well and that is what scares you. Guess what? If you give him the wheel of your ship today, you can have that contentment vs. the bitterness, jealousy and aggression you experience toward other christians. You are His creation and it is very natural for you to always be drawn to a Higher Power. That power is God. Just believe 🙂 Maybe right now this all sounds very idiotic to you but I want you to remember something: next time you are in search of happiness – you will remember these words. The Creator won't let you forget. God bless everyone reading this.

    June 16, 2010 at 2:39 am |
    • ben

      you fail.

      June 16, 2010 at 8:35 am |
    • Talon

      How utterly stupid. Blah blah blah blah oogah boogah to you too. Have fun with your imaginary friend.

      June 16, 2010 at 9:20 am |
    • klp

      I do agree on one point, it does sound very idiotic.

      June 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • MyEyesAreOpen

      Oh, My... Someone forgot to take their medication today...

      Can someone please escort this person back to their room.

      June 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ


      Yes, they can only express there fear behind this computer and think that they are strong. Even God's weakness is stronger than their strength! Pray for them, my fellow brothers & sisters, they need our compassion, inspite of their stiff-neck & stubborness, God loves them all!

      June 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
    • Saopaco

      Atheists do, in fact, exist. So do Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Jews, Rastafarians, Hindus, etc.
      Your religion may work fo you, which is great. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that since your religion works for you, that it is the only one that will work for others. People in crisis react according to their natures. Assuming that they must pray to your particular deity is narrow minded. They pray to whatever they have faith in. Or, maybe they do not pray at all.

      I wonder if you have considered that your religion may have been an accident of birth? What if you had been born into an Islamic society? Would you still worship Jesus?

      Thank you for your blessing, I am hoping that you consider that there are other equally valid viewpoints in the world beyond your own.

      June 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • asrael

      What is really scary is this particular expression of faithful Christian contentment...

      June 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
    • Just Me

      God has the CURE ? What did he do for 9/11 healing ? What did he do for Katrina ? While we are on that, why did he let so many Christian men, women and babies die in these events ? Oh wait, I know - "he works in mysterious ways"

      June 16, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jesus

      Bless you for your faith. Over one thousand emails and you my child are deserving of the bounties of heaven. A majority of men and women would never see him. The light shines on you and yours. Keep Believing!!!


      June 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  3. Greg

    Jesus was Jewish, and he was real. He was a true prophet and martyr. He was not, however, "God" or even the son of "God", and he himself never claimed to be that. I am sure if his spirit has lived on, and he could look down at earth, and the way people are living today, he would be ashamed at most of his own people, the Jews, and to those who practice the religion created after him. I am sure he must have witnessed the Crusades, and would have been disgusted. He would definitely be disappointed that people are still being put to death just like he was because of their political and religious beliefs. His goal was to create peace for all people. He was a political activist, and most importantly he was rising up against the hypocracy of the Roman authority and the Jewish high priests, which were basically one in the same.

    If there really is a "God", I wonder why this "God" would just let a statue of Jesus burn up like that? Sure makes you wonder, doesn't it?

    June 16, 2010 at 2:34 am |
  4. SanjoseMike

    I think this entire episode is funny. sanjosemike

    June 16, 2010 at 1:34 am |
  5. Noble9

    Hail Thor!

    June 16, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  6. exohioresident

    I used to live not far from there and that thing was scary, especially at night. The kids around there called it the "butter Jesus" because it looked like it was carved from butter. I'm thinking they shouldn't replace it.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  7. schuylermac

    elreyjones Jews are great, why is everybody hating on them. They have been counselors and physicians to almost every group of people throughout history. If they have an elitist view at least they can back it up.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:31 am |
  8. schuylermac

    I love how people keep on mentioning graven images. The Catholic church has been venerating images for 1900 years and has always been the most popular and powerful form of the religion.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  9. elreyjones

    CNN is an anti-white pro-Jew network anyway. It needs an affirmative action program just amongst the white tribes to ensure that the Jew tribees and other mainstreamers get put in check. Diversity to the CNN supremacists is balance the network with people of color and white Jews who generally have the same elitist views. It is a soap opera and trusted by no one anyway.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  10. Robert

    Think God might have been making a point about having graven images?

    June 15, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
  11. Andrew

    About time that monstrosity got hit. It's as ugly as (insert favourite word).

    June 15, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  12. ana44

    Having wondered, I've got to ask this of believers and non-believers of all persuasions:
    Which philosophy is more likely to plunder the world for greed and personal gain–those who think there is an afterlife or those who think this is all there is? Just curious.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
    • asrael

      And your provable point? Just curious...

      June 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  13. Kate26

    Symbolic Really.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  14. Kate26

    god thinks to himself "what is that ugly thing with its arms reached up to me "? I have been meaning to get rid it of it for quite sometime now. BOOM strike. The End. lol

    June 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm |

    I just want to say bravo and thank you all for taking my frown and turning it upside down!!!!!! Y'all are wonderful each and every one of you!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  16. Kate26

    I guess god must be Jewish after all .

    June 15, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  17. james

    The devil works in mysterious ways.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  18. Bill Schmitz

    The statue seemed like a beautiful depiction of Christ. It's shameful that people referred to it as "Touchdown Jesus". I'm not surprised God allowed this to happen. "God is not mocked" see Galatians 6:7.

    June 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  19. Blaze

    little ironic dont ya think .

    June 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  20. Jim

    If this had struck an atheist gathering it'd be an act of God. But since it stuck something Christian..it was ..."just a storm" lololols.

    June 15, 2010 at 8:52 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.