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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. Umme Omar

    Behold! Allah said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.Quran (3,55)

    June 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed -Quran (61,14)

      June 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
    • doh!

      all holy books are written by man. Religion is nothing more then brainwashing to control the ignorant...

      who are the rich in religion dominated countries? Who are the powerfull in religion dominated countries? If the poor and mistreated speak out against their oppressers, it's a sin and they shall be stoned! Pathetic.

      June 17, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  2. Umme Omar

    Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah;Quran (3,45)

    June 16, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  3. Umme Omar

    We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?- Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay! Quran (2,87)

    June 16, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Jesus

    The Rio DeJjaneiro statue is next on my list

    June 16, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
  5. Willy

    If I were religious, I would take this as a sign to maybe take religion a little less seriously. But I'm not, so it was just another lightning strike.

    June 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  6. May25

    I'm so confused. I've spent years trying to find a religion that relies only on reason and solid logic. I have failed. I thought I had found my salvation in Pastafarianism, but it was not to be. I realized that if the Flying Spaghetti really does have power over all things, how does one explain white clam sauce, Chef Boyardee & Franco-American?

    I guess I'll just have to put out my thumb and find a community populated with those who follow my train of thought.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish . . .

    June 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • Donovan

      R-Amen!

      June 17, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  7. mel

    guess god didn't like being a white guy

    June 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  8. Carrie

    Is it true about the fish, anyone know?

    June 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  9. Carrie

    I live near this thing.The irony is so funny. But, my opinion is, I am surprised this did not happen sooner. Ok, it is right next to a huge line of electric power lines, it is the tallest thing besides these towers, it is made of syrofoam with huge steel beams shooting right up to the clouds, if you ask me, it was a lighting magnet and a fire hazard. What were they thinking when they built this? For round two, consider concrete and a pole near it to attract the lighting, away from the statue. Additionally, as a rumor, I hear all the fish in the lake were killed as well due to the chemical reaction of the material in the Jesus. Look at the video and you can see dead fish all over the place.

    June 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      WOW, really? I will see the video...thanks!

      June 16, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Lanessa

      and their plan is to rebuild it... it is the shape of a double lightning rod, and stryofoam is BAD when burning... I'm positive it would kill the fish

      June 16, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  10. God

    My Son and I felt it looked bad.Now it's gone.So everybody calm down.

    June 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  11. righteous-in-Christ

    Susie, by you saying that we should all be struck by lightning doesn't make you look better than any of us, believers or non believers. You have just struck yourself with stupidity! You have just acting as a child! You need God as many of us here do. God bless you.

    June 16, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      Wow. "You're being stupid and you need God". Great way to win followers, there, "righteous". I'm sure everyone will be beating down the doors to worship the cynical thug you've painted God as. Perhaps you should change your handle to SELF-righteous-in-Christ?

      June 17, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      @ Leah – I am guessing you are among the weak Christians that stands back and just sit there as others are acting foolish and mocking God. Susie was referring to all of us and it is very dumnb for anyone to wish others to be struck by a lightening and you sit there and justify her comment. Maybe, you need to becom stronger in Christ to realize that we don't speak death on others or need salvation, as we all need it!

      June 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      Just for clarification, you are the same one who posted earlier about how God kills those who mock him with floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, correct? And you say you and God laugh at "athiests"? And yet you feel you are in a position to judge Susie for doing essentially the same thing? I'm not "justifying" anything, just pointing out your blatant hypocrisy.

      Why are you so angry?

      June 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  12. Susie

    I can't beleive how dumb you ppl are. C'mon fighing over this? Some are offending Jesus and some are defending ... blah blah blah. Grow up. All of you should be struck by lightning for acting like children. (And if you're saying "I'm not a child I'm just defending my "blah blah blah) ... you can get struck by lighting too.

    June 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
    • Just Me

      That reminds me .. George Carlin begged god on stage to strike him down by lightning – it never happened.

      June 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  13. Pablo

    What did J-sus do to make G-d so angry?

    June 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Just Me

      Why would you sk-p lett-rs in jesus and god ?

      June 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  14. Saopaco

    This just drips with irony, lol.
    I am glad that no one was hurt, and I hope that they church does not spend $700k rebuilding this 'sculpture' when the money could be used to help people in these difficult times. I see it as a sign from the almighty that lightning does not value any icons except that they provide an easy path to ground =)

    June 16, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  15. dmbstuff8

    This truly makes me happy. First of all, this dumb church spent half a million on this statue. Second, it was a statue of a man claiming to be the son of god. Complete BS. I can't believe people actually believe in any kind of religion. Guess people like to be brainwashed into believing in an invisible spirit that lives in the sky. No one believes in the easter bunny or santa claus, so why do people believe in god? people tell me "because he is real." prove it idiot. i only feel sorry for you people cuz you're living a lie. go ahead, hate on me. i will live my life how i choose and when i die, nothing will happen. i'm just dead. there's no heaven, no hell. just no more.

    June 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  16. righteous-in-Christ

    ALL of the Anti-Christ ( ATHEISTS, AGNOSTICS, CULTS), really know how to enlighten me with your ignorance and foolishness. As far as I am concern and confident, you, Zeus, and all false RELIGION (idol worshipers) will do according to the Word of the Living God, Jesus Christ, you Maker:

    Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Isaiah Chapter 45, Verse 9

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Bible Book 45, Chapter 9 (Romans 9:20f)

    June 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
    • Marlye

      I'm totally convinced, righteous-in-christ is darth sidious.

      June 16, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  17. Baptiste6

    It was the wrath of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarianism strikes again...

    June 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • NickB5

      Praise his noodly goodness.

      June 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • Marlye

      He's so saucy!

      June 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  18. Cody

    Really? What year are we in? God's wrath...this isn't the year 10 people, it's 2010. No gods control the weather...haven't we outgrown this yet? /sigh

    June 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Marlye

      You're right Cody, this is a Century most of the truly self-righteous, scripture vomitters can't relate to. They're stuck in another time where they honestly think there's a "living god." righteous-in-Christ reminds me of Emperor Palpatine as he tries to lure Luke Skywalker to take a walk on the dark side: If you will not be turned, you will be destroyed! Young fool. Only now, at the end, do you understand. Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the dark side! You have paid the price for your lack of vision!

      June 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      @ Marlye – James 4:13-16 for instance: "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil." Here, James tells us tomorrow is as uncertain as the wind, No one knows when there last day on earth will take place, The Bible says that we shouldn't make our plans out of God's will since we never know what tomorrow will bring, For someone to boast or brag about their future plans is evil because the Lord is the one who will ultimately decide if we will live to partake in those activities. James advises us to say, "If it is God's will, then I will go...."

      Consider the words of Psalm 103:13-17 "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children." In reality, we cannot fully depend upon anyone but God and God alone. Our days on this earth are limited, but the Lord isn't restricted by a life span. He is the one "who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." 1 Timothy 6:16

      Psalm 90:4-6 shows the contrast between God and the life of man: "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. You carry them away like a flood; they are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers" The psalmist compares the human life to grass in order to help us realize how helpless and weak we are without God! Grass is entirely dependent upon the sun and the rain in order for it to survive. Without these provisions, it simply withers up and dies. If we're living apart from Jesus, then our future isn't very bright,

      Peter also describes the frailty of man: "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." 1 Peter 1:24-25 Life truly is short. We often don't like to think about it, but this really could be our last day to live. But that shouldn't frighten us as Christians, because Jesus has promised that He will give eternal life to all those who put their faith in Him (John 10:28).

      June 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Just Me

      Righteous, I think it is sort of cute that you have such strong beliefs – but I am sad about your state of mind. It just isn't right.

      June 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • Cody

      I would like to thank you, righteous-in-Christ, for your concern over my spiritual well being! I assure you, however, I am quite comfortable with my inevitable death.

      Also, as I'm wrapping up my doctorate in astrobiology, I will spend a great deal looking at objects I can't see with my physical eye while peering off light years into the galaxy in search of life. I only hope it's intelligent, because I am sure having a hard time finding it here!

      June 16, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
    • Marlye

      @Cody–Star Wars nerd for a long time now. I've always found a correlation between extreme religious fanatics and the "Something, something, Dark Side. If you make a video, I'll keep an eye out for it on YouTube. Later...

      June 17, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Marlye

      @Cody–It seem that righteous-in-xrist has been busy deleting posts she doesn't like. By the looks of things, all her posts are still up and the "mocking her god" posts are gone. Way to play fair righteous-in-crap.

      June 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  19. Yaz

    So when a statue of Jesus gets zapped, it's just a storm, but when someone finds a potato chip shaped like the Virgin Mary, THAT'S a sign? I'm confused.

    June 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      If I see an image of the Virgin Mary, or even of Jesus Christ, I will gladly eat it and enjoy! These people that proclaim that they have seen an image of Mary of God are as lost and crazy as all of these Anti-Christ (Atheists/Agnostics) are.

      June 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  20. asrael

    Actually, his "foolishness" is rather enjoyable. And there is certainly no apparent lack of people eager to give special credence to the Bible.

    June 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
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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.