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. Skip Tracy

    Touchdown Mantis! Go TIDS!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  2. Luv This Site

    Wow, these responses where funny. Made my day!

    Steel and Styrofoam in a giant pool of outdoor water? Good thing the 'creators' of this statue didn't waste their time with stupid liberal, anti-God science classes.

    Although I think and Home Electronics 101 class would have mentioned a few things about lightning and flammability.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Brian

    flashing,not flasing...sorry

    June 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • LookingforReality

      so, now the big jesus is flashing? well beter than molesting I GUESS.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  4. JonathanL

    FYI – On my last trip to Italy I saw a rare large bronze satue of Hercules that had been preserved because the night it was erected it was struck by lightening. The people in Rome thought it was a sign that Jupiter, the God of the gods, did not like it, so they buried it. Thus it was preserved and protected from man who later melted down most of the bronze statues to make weapons. But one thing. At least now we know the meteorological causes of thunder and lightning and realize it has nothing to do with God. If there is a lightning storm, you can expect the lightning will strike most any object that stands taller than than anything immediately around it. FYI – I don't even believe in God anymore. It is amazing to me that this myth still has a following in this day and age.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Loki

    Zeus is not amused by your zombie worship!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  6. Brian

    Just drove by the church 1hr ago. The sign out in front keeps flasing (and im not kidding) "He'll Be Back"

    June 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • joe

      What's your point, goober?

      June 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  7. KLP

    Let's see if Jesus raises from the dead in 3 days.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • skeptic

      Amazingly, despite the fact the forces that be saw fit for it to burn to the ground (quickly), they will rebuild it. $700,000 worth of adulation. That money could start a program to help make the city beautiful, or help inner-city kids to read. A mentoring program, feed the homeless, or a plethora of other good deeds. Instead they are going to spend ANOTHER $700,000 (making it 1.4 million) for a tacky, pointless, atrocity. I'm not a christian, but I thought Jesus wanted people to help each other. Which is why he supposedly got pi$$ed and tore up a temple when they turned it into a marketplace. Money and religion do not belong together, and whatever forces there are out there seem to be against this structure. Lightning has impeccable taste apparently. 😛

      June 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Thomas

    i didn't read all the comments....did a religious person explain it yet by saying that god acts in mysterious ways?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • NickB5

      Nope, they seem to be mostly rushing to science to explain how GOD didn't have a hand in destroying this abomination of styrofoam steel and fiberglass. The ones not doing that are mostly flagellating them selves and praying that the rest of us come to jesus.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Anon

    This is a sign that god hates organized religion. If jesus could see these fat cats getting rich off him he would send them all to HELL!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  10. evenS

    Where is the moderator on this one, if this comments were made about another religons statue buring...you may be called a Nazi or anit-muslim, but I guess we are differnt.......hmmm.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • The Dude

      Yeah, sure buddy. Because no one on the internets criticizes the Jews or Muslims.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  11. Marie09

    lol... God apparently didn't like the statue. He didn't like statues back in the bible days, either.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  12. Josh

    God struck the blasphemous statue down, with his usual bolt-of-lightning method.

    Who's next?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  13. mathetes

    Actually, they are pseudoprophetes-fire worshippers.....and God IS a consuming fire.......Just sayin'.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  14. fuyuko

    I think its sad it burnt down. Obviously they liked it, and it worked for them so I hope they rebuild- this time with an even better sculpt.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  15. Atheist

    I love all these comments by my fellow non-believers. I also love the fact that the stupid 60' fiberglass jeebus burned down.


    June 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lookingforhope

      Wow, what love you have..... glad your day was made.... I see you practice tolerance.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • ZEUS

      Yeah, Atheist. It's not like I don't have regrets for striking down Butter Jesus. Think of all the styrofoam that was wasted!
      Think of how many possible egg cartons, or waterwings Jesus could have been recycled into!
      Oh, well! On to zapping the Creation "Science" Museum!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  16. PeterPaulandBob

    NOOOO, Churches can't burn! Not in a steady state universe! Maybe the church will be forced to EVOLVE into an orginization that uses non-flamible materials.....

    June 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  17. D

    Thor is angry

    June 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  18. Shelly

    Well said Mark B. The problem with this country is Atheist screaming and throwing temper tantrums to take God out of everything Atheist: Ignorance at it's finest... I pity them and pray for them God forgive's PRAISE GOD IT WILL BE REBUILT.............

    June 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • The Dude

      Who's ignorant Shelly? You don't even know how to use an apostrophe!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  19. Martin

    Exo 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:
    Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    June 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  20. LookingforReality

    uhh... golly... I just dont know....

    June 15, 2010 at 1:04 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.