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. Bonk


    It was a STATUE not a PERSON. Nobody is IN PAIN over this.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  2. racerjg24

    Gee. Steel structure = lightening rod.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  3. mathetes

    I can't believe it's not butter.........

    June 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  4. Alec

    Making fun of a Styrofoam Jesus is not mocking God. I'll do that in a later post.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  5. Shoos

    That was so funny!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  6. JR

    How come he is half submerged? I thought he can walk on water.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Russ

    maybe they should rebuild it in marshmallow. That way when it gets hit again people can enjoy a giant marshmallow roast – Jesus s'mores!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  8. Wee Willy Winky

    Heaven's to Betsy, all you petunias! God is dead, doncha know? Haven't you folks read any Nietzsche? Thus Spoke Zarathustra, baby!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • Chris Lewis


      June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  9. RANDY


    June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  10. Mike

    What ever happened to making graven images?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
    • NickB5

      It's a tough economy, lots of fire sales.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  11. SUSEJ

    About time a message is sent to IDOL worshipers... both religious and the TV show.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Swindsohn

    The Thunderer is no longer amused by the Galilean.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  13. kevin

    Another form of idol worship and idolatry snuffed out, such a rush. It is a graven image and back to the dust it goes,but keep worshiping your crosses,rosary,and assumed likeness of Jesus, he wants you to worship him and God, not the material thing of what it represents, but people just don't get it!!!!!!!!.........he didn't die on a cross, religions in the past twisted what he was crucified on and put that in the bible centuries ago that you you now read today. And Mary is not the mother of God, she was the mother of Jesus (even Jesus looked down from his crucifixion before he died and called her mother). Mary gave birth to Jesus though the Holy Spirit which is Gods life force . And there is no trinity, the Son and the Holy spirit and God are not separate powers, Go controls the holy spirit, it is his life force, and Jesus is the Son of God who himself was God in the flesh when he was on this earth. And God is the ultimate creator of all life and this earth and all that is in it belongs to him as well as your souls upon death for his keeping until it is time for him to do with you as he sees fit regarding judgement. Noone goes to heaven immediatley after death, and hell is what is known as the grave, not a place of eternal torment. The place of eternal torment is called the lake of fire, even Christ refered to the grave as hell, a place of total inactivity until you are called from the grave for his judgement. Judgement is not passed upon your death.......Even those that pierced him will come up from the grave to be judged!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Nancy

      finally someone who understands. i believe God desroyed this Himself because it was a form of idol worship.this proves that God DOES exist and i hope He will destroy all idols in America

      June 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Rich

      How does this prove God exists? Lightning strikes things all the time. Especially tall things. It's not like as soon as the statue was erected with clear blue skies, a bolt of lightning flew out of fluffy white clouds to destroy the thing.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  14. KMO

    God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  15. bg

    Can lightening also hit the Phelps family?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • smackwaterjack

      ...I believe that the burning of 'toxic waste', such as the fred Phelps family, would require a permit...

      June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Albert Correa

    Everyone has a point. But the fact is that this had nothing to do with God. Then in the other hand believing that we evolved from a chemical or astronomical explosions makes less sense than to believe that an intelligent being created all. Everyone has the right to believe as they please. What no one has the right is to belittle other's believes. By the way, science has not proven that we evolved, look up the definition of THEORY....
    As one person once said...." I rather live believing in a God, than living as if there is not... then to die and find out there actually is ...." play it safe. Believing in a God, should give good structure to your life. And yes, there are SO MANY HYPOCRETES in religion. Being "holier than thou"... hypocritical to the highest degree. You make people hate religion and God. Why do God not do something about this Earth? We do not deserve it. We are the reason we are in the condition we are. We deserve it. We put more trust in humans, and then we think we are so special we have nothing to offer. It is for religious reasons mankind keeps going to war, think about it, and stop being so critical of others.
    We will find peace when we learn to live with other people differences and accept them, as long as it is not forced on us. It is our choice to accept or not.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • Theory Man

      Not sure why you had to ask someone to do this, but:
      "in general theories are expected to be functional and parsimonious: i.e. a theory should be the simplest possible tool that can be used to effectively address the given class of phenomena. Such theories are constructed from elementary theorems that consist in empirical data about observable phenomena. A scientific theory is used as a plausible general principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon."

      Anyway, by your logic, science still hasn't proven gravity either. Hold on to something or you might float away!

      June 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  17. allanhowls

    Angie: what makes your beliefs so special that they are above joking? Are you going to tell me that you are equally as offended when people mock Islam or any other faith? Besides, it's pretty arrogant of you to assume you're on your way to heaven. You're trusting in the veracity of a book written by humans about something you've never actually seen.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • Angie

      You are so true...I beleive in something I've never seen..It's called faith. I never seen the wind either yet I feel it when I walk outside. I've never seen your brain yet I assume you have one.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  18. Angie

    How sad it is that people would mock the name of the Lord. Not some silly statue but would actually say such things as "Burn Jesus".. I love the Lord with all my heart and I realy upon Him daily, I count on Him to be there for me and I respect His very exsistance. I would not change one part of my Christian life....I'm happy, fulfilled and on my way to heaven.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Rich

      You're so naive, it's downright adorable.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  19. Bonk

    This is now the best thread ever, I knew I should've checked the blog earlier! HAHAHAHAHA

    June 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  20. Joshua Parker

    It worked for Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:13 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.