“Jesus statue destroyed by act of God” is how the Cincinnati Enquirer linked to its story this morning, saying the statue caught fire about 11:15 pm as a thunderstorm swept through Greater Cincinnati.
“It burned to the ground. The whole statue is gone,” said Kim Peace, a police dispatcher.
The large “King of Kings” statue was a Butler County landmark since it was erected in 2004 outside Solid Rock Church… along northbound Interstate 75 in Monroe.
The statue was 62 feet high and weighed about eight tons, according to the Solid Rock Church, which says it was “a wood and styrofoam sculpture over a steel framework anchored in
concrete… covered with a fiberglass mat and resin exterior.”
The statue helped put the Solid Rock Church on the map when it was built, and it quickly became a famous marker on the drive from Cincinnati to Dayton. (“As fire gorged the iconic statue, several motorists along I-75 pulled
over to photograph the sight,” notes the Enquirer.)
Wags called the statue “Touchdown Jesus” and “Big Butter Jesus.” Still, along with the Creation Museum
in nearby Kentucky, the King of Kings helped make Cincinnati a
center of high-profile holiness. Just two months ago the church had announced it was repainting the Jesus statue with 60 gallons of white paint.
“I can’t believe Jesus was struck,” said [a church member], who noted the
giant Hustler Hollywood sign for the adult store across the street was
untouched. “It’s the last thing I expected to happen.”
So let the theological arguments begin. Random event or message from God? And if the latter, what was the message?
Update! Video of the fire: