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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. Cabezon99

    lightening strikes are random, often random is funny, comments that relate this random occurrence to god.... priceless

    June 15, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  2. MyEyesAreOpen

    Dear God,

    THANK YOU!

    This was a *GOOD* start, now if you could do something about that horrid statue down in Rio...

    June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • ROTFLMFAO

      Ha Ha,

      Now that is funny. Maybe there is a web cam somwhere pointed at the Rio statue. Stay tuned...

      June 16, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  3. Bill K

    This made my day! LOL! So many things come to mind. Bha hahahahahahah! Jesus is on fire! I'm sure the members of the church have a perfectly logical explaination, as usuall.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Austin

    People,

    God loves you just the way you are. He doesn't need statues. He would probably rather you spent that $700,000 feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless, not forking it over to some construction company to rebuild some styrofoam effigy.

    God bless,
    Austin

    June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
    • JAB

      FYI - that same church, on the same campus, has a rehabilitation center for abused women and pregnant teens. The pastors put these helpless women up for free, and provide them with food and counseling. They also have a very large food distribution center and feed the homeless and local families on a regular basis.

      The pastors have spent MILLIONS on what you criticized them for not doing. You've probably never been to that church. I have. I went there for two years. Shut your mouth before you criticize what you don't know about.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  5. Kamic

    Now they can pray in Spirit and in Thruth without the need of a statue. Jesus is Spirit and those who pray to him should pray in Spirit.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Sari

    Mwahahahahaa!!! This is the best thing I have seen or heard all day. Thank you CNN. =)

    June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  7. Satan

    I have lightning bolts too, watch out.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  8. shidarezakura

    Haha! Fabulous.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  9. Gunk

    Dang – Thor just pegged for excessive celebration. JC gets his choice, 10 yds or kick the holy hand grenade to Thor.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Me

      gotta go with the kick this time!

      June 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  10. bucpimpin

    Surely there arent this many non believers out there? Blasphemy on the CPU is the same as in public, however nobody ever admits to being a non believer in public. Cowards.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • Evolve

      Proud non believer in the Big Styrofoam and Fiberglass Jesus.

      There is NOTHING holy or divine in what that statue represented. The modern church is a fraud and disgrace to what Jesus taught. Jesus symbolized tolerance, sustainability and grace. Not the terms I'd use to describe the mainstream church in this country.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Tyronio

      You mean BLAST! phemy

      June 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
    • pimpbucin

      Two thousand years of crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, and repressive laws passed in the name of Christianity tend to make us a bit cautious about who we admit our non-belief to. It's not cowardice. It's self preservation.

      But yeah, there are a lot more "non-believers" out here than you realize.

      June 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  11. Cash Cow

    Images like this really make God look cheap and ridiculous. Faith, hope, and charity make a monument with much more meaning in the hearts of humankind.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  12. CRUSADES

    it is more like:
    Mother Nature 1 Jesus 0

    June 15, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Carl

    I just think this is delicious irony.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  14. bruce

    This is easily one of the top ten most ironic things that has ever happened.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  15. Guest452

    Oh gawd. Best laugh I've had all day. Jesus is the bees knees but that statue was TACKY. God smack down!! But they're going to rebuild it... Jeez, what's a God gotta do to get the point across? River of blood, plague of locusts...??

    June 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
  16. Dan

    See what happens when priests play with little boys

    June 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  17. tom brady

    See what happens when you mess with the patriots! Its called touchdown PATRIOTS!!

    June 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  18. The Truth

    To be honest, churches do not follow the Bible. Almost all have idols or images right in the church itself and also, as was in this case, right outside. Ex 20:3-4 (NIV) "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."

    June 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • The truth

      They are led by man and not the holy spirit, that do as I do won't cut it in this day and age! My people are destroyed for LACK of knowledge! smh.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Soldierup

    It's our own human pride that lets us look around and see all the beautiful things of this world and because of our fear of not being in control of our own destiny the explanation the "intelligent" come up with is a big bang, and evolution, if you beleive that you sound crazy to me! It's funny to me how the nonbeleivers use "natural occuring effects" as a way to say it wasn't god, God does what he wants and hides his ways in mysteries to the nonbelievers. He has infinite mercy (if you read the bible you would know this) thats why he lets you mock him, but the next time you're in trouble I hope you call out to God cause nobody else is gonna care.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • man of science, man of faith

      In other words, believing things that can be seen with our eyes and measured empirically, that's crazy. But worshipping an unseen god who is supposedly flawless and merciful, but at the same time needs a place called hell to punish the creatures he created for their failures, that's perfectly logical.

      Didn't Jesus teach that people should be tolerant of all others and their beliefs?

      June 15, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  20. uhuhreally

    Thou shalt not make any graven images of thy God. Aparently Christinas don't listen and were punished.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
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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.