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

    Non-Christians may not understand the following, but Christians should:

    Exodus 20:4 (i.e. the second Commandment listed of the 10 Commandments)


    1 Samuel 5:2-4

    A cross would have been more appropriate.

    June 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
  2. phil

    I think god did this because of the gays. Jesus never said a word against being gay and god is smiting him for it.

    Man, that was one creepy statue.

    June 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  3. WMT

    Agree with ANA. But you'll get the classic argument, "but it's nothing more then a test of my faith!" whenever there's a "grey" area they fill it with this "faith" to fill a gap that their brainwashed minds are trying to make sense of. classic!

    June 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  4. Ana

    I am an atheist, but I rarely mock religion or people's sacred beliefs. However, in this instance, I think I will. This is freaking hilarious !!! How appropriate. Now- all the fundies who claim God is always in control, must backpeddle and say 'Well, maybe not this time !' Ummm.....you can't have it both ways. Reminds me of that cross that survived in a church close to the World Trade center attacks. All the religious zealots squealed ' Look at that !! Proof that God cares !! ' – while there were strewn body parts lying around from the buildings' collapse. Yep- God does care. Makes sense to me !! It's just a statue, a symbol, but it does not prove anything- one way or the other. If I were a Christian, I would feel the same way.

    June 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      It only proves one thing. God is not a statue and He cannot be burned down by lightening. This whole episode did not change a single thing. Jesus was a Prophet and Prophets are chosen people of God. But they should not make his statues. It is idoltary and at best, waste of money.

      June 17, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • Bernard Webb

      If the adult bookstore had been destroyed and the Hideous Jesus had been spared, the True Believers would have pronounced it the Judgment Of the Lord. Since their graven image got hit instead, the religious nuts say it was "just an accident. It was "just a coincidence".

      Modern-day "Christians" tend to be hypocrites with double standards. Hmm, just like modern-day "Conservatives". Anyone see a pattern?

      June 20, 2010 at 7:04 am |
  5. jo

    I live close to this staue.....we call it butter jesus...it looks like its made of butter..or touch down jesus...It does look amazing though...Glad they are going to redo it!!

    June 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      No statue or picture of Jesus, no matter how amazing it looks, can possibly encompass the beauty of Jesus (PBUH)'s character.

      June 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  6. Byrd

    Youmight think that these christians would be able to recognize signs from above, but I guess not. OK, build another if you like. It'll just burn down again. I'm sure Zeus's throwing arm is still warmed up from the last one. What was it that Stevie Nicks of Fleetwod Mac sang: "Lighting strikes, maybe once, maybe twice...."

    June 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  7. kent

    I guess I should have assumed a forum like this would just inspire hateful posts and attacks. I am a christian, and to the others on this forum, telling someone they will be sorry when they die or they will burn in hell is no way to approach this matter. You should have love in your hearts for everyone. If someone chooses to believe in something you don't, there is no point to attack that person. Atheists can choose to not believe in God, and thats fine, it is their right. Regardless, as a christian you should have love in your hearts for all, believers and non believers

    June 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Gary

      Kent nice post.....As an agnostic a respect your believes and wish you a happy productive life and after life as well!

      June 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  8. Da Blogster

    You think it was a hint?

    June 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  9. bjr2212

    Many American pastors called Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 God's punishment for "the gays". This must be God's punishment of the over commercialization and self righteousness of the American church.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  10. Lak

    Dear God! how beauty varies in nature and art.
    In a woman the flesh must be like marble; in a statue the marble must be like flesh..
    So statue should be taken care like a human..

    June 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  11. Satan Himself

    Why does everyone assume god sent the bolt of lightning ? Fire is my forte .. and I was tired of looking at that thing.

    June 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  12. EJ

    Looks like Thor won this round...

    June 17, 2010 at 11:40 am |
  13. No brainer

    In a world with poverty, priest se*ually abused children, and violence, the church opts to spend 700K on an idolotrous statue.
    Gee. no wonder so many people are losing faith these days

    June 17, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  14. doh!

    I'm not a religious fanatic, but i thought creating huge statues of christ is idolotry...or however you spell that word.

    No wonder it was struck down by lightening.

    June 17, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  15. RonnieC

    All hail the new insect god!

    June 17, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  16. Ashfak kudroli

    The bible warns against idolatry so is this scripture true about those that use statues , icons ,crosses ?
    4 But their idols are silver and gold,
    made by the hands of men.
    5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
    eyes, but they cannot see;
    6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
    noses, but they cannot smell;
    7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
    feet, but they cannot walk;
    nor can they utter a sound with their throats.

    8 Those who make them will be like them,
    and so will all who trust in them.

    Is the use of symbols , icons , images & others as worship aids , just an excuses to justify idolatry ?
    Have those making those arguments to justify there use become what verse 8 says ?

    June 17, 2010 at 6:46 am |
  17. El Piloto

    And righteous-in-Crisco, I GET IT!!! After looking at your posts I totally get it! You are, in fact, a fellow atheist and are completely egging everyone on! Well done! Bravo! You did well and should be proud at your skills of pretending to play different sides/viewpoints. I suspect you have different login names and post inverse opinions to make people believe you are two different people. Brilliant! Duh, why didn't I think of it? I was really starting to believe you were religious.....you had me fooled! Now that we know the truth of righteous-in-Crisco, any one else that can provide us with more religious comic relief?

    June 17, 2010 at 12:49 am |
    • righteous-in-Christ

      Even if Jesus Christ came down from heaven and preached to you, you probably would say the same thing. The Lord stood His ground when He preached, I am a follower of Christ and do the same.

      June 17, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • El Piloto

      Ooops, resurrected in 1960, sorry, typo.

      June 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • El Piloto

      Oh, and righteous-in-Crisco, keep the religious login/persona going for a little while longer as it is much more entertaining than your atheist one. I think the people on this blog like the silly stuff and the religious persona delivers in volumes! Thanks, El Piloto

      June 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • El Piloto

      righteous-in-Crisco, if you stand your ground then don't stand in the same spot Lord Jesus Christ did a few weeks ago. Poor dude was hit by a car and suffered some facial lacerations. Also, instead of praying to him just go ask him since he lives in Massachusetts and was "resurrected" in 1960 to little fanfare. Don't believe me? Well then just do a search on "Lord Jesus Christ Hit By Car" and you will see it's true. So now religious people can breathe a collective sigh and go home, the show is over.

      June 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Marlye

      @El Piloto–LMFAO!! WOW!! First getting hit by a car then coming back to get hit by lightning. Good thing he's a zombie.

      June 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  18. El Piloto

    Ok, so the pain in my side was finally subsiding from laughing so hard about the Touchdown Jesus burning down that is until I discovered this blog and now the laughing and pain continues. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the people of religion for injecting humor in our lives. Yes, I know the religious humor can be delusional and sad but ultimately still very funny (well, ok, Jihad is not very humorous but the 72 virgin thing is-especially if it ends up being same gender virgins!). Humor is the best medicine and for those of us that are rational non-believers, we can sit back and TRY to stifle our giggles but the humor is so far reaching that giggles turn in to full, side-splitting laughter. Bill Maher is back on the air on HBO in September and will need new material and stories/forums like this is perfect! COME ON PEOPLE OF RELIGION! BRING ON THE HUMOR.

    June 17, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  19. lovelyme

    how could so many people call a statue GOD? GOD don't need food, sleep, drink, or etc JESUS did. Don't know GOD has a mother that would make him a child JESUS was. Can't nobody drag or temp GOD JESUS was. So come on people JESUS and GOD are not even in the same category he was only his Prophet and that's how he introduced himself not as GOD even though Paul did make it seem otherwise. BTW nobody knows how GOD looks so why even temp to call a statue GOD and say he didn't like how he looks.

    June 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  20. Fran

    Seriously what is with all the fire and brimstone comments(no pun intended)? It was a 60 foot statue made out of styrefoam! What the hell did you people think would happen if it were struck by lightning?? Grow up. If anything God was angry that they made his son's statue out of flamable materials.

    June 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • doh!

      they should make the next one out of metal and hook it up to a generator...that way they could harness Gods wrath and use it to power their nintendo stations and marital aids.

      June 17, 2010 at 10:12 am |
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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.