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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. punkin123

    GOD = Gold, oil & drugs

    There are 3 places on earth that are not under control of any country
    Vatican (spiritual)
    Washinton DC (Military)
    Baker street london (finances)

    3 ways to control people
    God/military/money

    It Works (only too well)

    June 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  2. General DR. Bad

    Notice behind this thing is a church bell tower as well as electrical poles which are much higher.
    And yes we see the so called christiansd love evry day as theyshoot missles and rop bombs on civilians.
    invade, murder and steal while braying God bless america.
    no most of you have no God. YOUR God is money.
    and even an athiest shuld follow Gods Main rule, do unto others as you would have done to you.
    even now in the guld of mexcio greed destroys you as you screma more drilling. and all you care about is money.
    Welcome to Hell you heathens.

    June 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Just Me

      I'll be nice and not pick on your spelling. But the quote is "Do on to others BEFORE they do on to you"

      June 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm |
  3. KH

    I don't think these people at this church were actually worshipping the statue. Just because someone builds something, it doesn't mean that they are bowing down to it.

    June 16, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  4. Sim Sim

    Jesus couldn't save himself!!
    we are in the 21th century , and still there pagans(Christians) worshiping and idol..:)
    even they don't follow their holy bible
    Ex / 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:. : KJV
    Lv / 26-1
    Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up {any} image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I {am} the LORD your God.. : KJV

    June 16, 2010 at 11:31 am |
  5. Chowman

    Thor 1, Jesus 0.

    June 16, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  6. Li Ran

    Somehow this article turned into a Muslim vs. Christian battle. One thing I want to get out there.... I really wish people would stop bringing up the damn Crusades to defend the way that Muslims act today. Would you idiots like to jump into the year 2010? You're bringing up crap that happened over 700 – 900 years ago. Get a life.

    June 16, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  7. Dylan

    I think that statues like that are a clear sign of greed within the church. I'm glad it was destroyed. People wonder why Islam is starting to overtake Christianity as the world's largest religion. It is because American Christians with these stadium churches have been corrupted. The size of a church is not the sign of Christianity's power it is the greatness of our actions. This church and all churches like it need to reexamine what it means to be a true Christian.

    June 16, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  8. Jerry

    I don't really think this is anything to get real bunched up about. Do you know how many times lightning strikes in the world everyday? It tends to strike taller objects quite frequently too. This most likely wasn't something to be blamed on God although He did say not to make any graven images to Him. Since we have no biblical clue exactly what Jesus looked like, we probably should pay attention to what was written and just refrain from making some kind of goofy looking statues and paintings we think look like Jesus. Jesus wanted to be remembered in specific ways that are outlined in the bible. No where – NO WHERE – was there any mention of painting a picture or making a statue of him for that or any other purpose. Im glad its gone and hope they have the sense not to rebuild it.

    June 16, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • Umme Omar

      You make the most sense on this subject

      June 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  9. WINK11HUN

    thanks lord jesus!! for the warnings, but they keep overlooking them. why????

    June 16, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  10. Abdallah

    Very funny, the Statue of Jesus peace be upon him got burnt, and people in their comments talk about muslims and islam, very weird, but probably I should not be surprised, there are 1.5 Billion muslims in the world, and if islam really teaches terrorism then none of the nonmuslims will be alive. few thousdands of terrorists live in afghanistan, and the NATO is fighting them for 9 years and will never win the war, can you imagine if all muslims were terrorists as you guys think!!!!. islam teaches us that if you killed one person, it is as bad as if you killed all mankind, and if you save one life, it is as great as if you saved all man kind, that is how human life is precious for muslims, Allah is the one who created life, and it is illogical he will ask muslims to take it form people, why would he create the life in the first place if he orders people to kill. this is the media fooling you, they are attacking muslims days and nights, non stop, but they don't know the power islam, the more you attack islam in media, the more people get interested about islam, they read about it, and they find the truth. prophet mohammad peace be upon him had a jew neighbor, and the jew used to put dirt in front of the prophet house all the time, one day our prophet didn't find any dirt, and he went to the jew house, he asked him what happend, and found out the jew was sick, and the jew fell on the ground crying for what he used to do to Mohammad, and announced his islam. Islam prohibited making statues 1400 years ago, and now the lord is telling you, and gave you a proof not to make statue, and gave you another proof that jesus is not a god. Peace

    June 16, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • KH

      Sure "God" hated and felt threatened by the statue. If that is the case then the Jesus the Redeemer" statue outside of Rio and other religious artifacts (not including what men destroy) would have disappeared a long time ago. Fiber glass and Styrofoam are not match for lightning.

      June 16, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • lovelyme

      so true

      June 17, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
  11. WeRUponTruth

    The message is clear and loud i.e Jesus is neither a god or son of God

    June 16, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  12. jim

    Seems to me I read where God said do not build an image of anything in heaven. Hmm

    June 16, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  13. Talon

    Looks like he was saying, "Oh no! Where are my legs, I can't feel my legs! Help! Help! "

    June 16, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  14. RWESTUPID

    Look at the statue. "Dad! Help! I'm stuck in this damn lake!" ZAP!! "Woops, sorry junior."

    June 16, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  15. Josef

    Dosen't christian religion state that your god says there should be no idols. Well maybe your god destroyed the statue to make a point "thou shall have no idols, I mean it.

    June 16, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  16. Satan

    I guess Thor doesn't like jewish zombies.

    June 16, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  17. ben

    they should recreate a statue of jesus that is always on fire instead of only for a short time.

    June 16, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  18. Mad King George the Fourth

    "Thou shalt not make graven images...!"

    So there.. so learn, ye wise....if not then tough!!!

    June 16, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  19. Reality

    Please note that the sculptured polystyrene bead foam used to create the statue is typically 98% air which is also typical of the hot air content spewed by Christian evangelists.

    A realist"s view of these type of preachers:

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adulterous preachers, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology

    June 16, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  20. ybs

    Islam kids: blow yourself up & receive the fruits of 72 virgins
    Christian kids: bend over & receive the fruits of god's love

    a tough choice! 🙂

    June 16, 2010 at 6:30 am |
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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.