A six-story-high foam and fiberglass statue of Jesus Christ outside the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio — nicknamed "Touchdown Jesus" by locals — burned to the ground last night after being struck by lightning.
If you've driven through Ohio along Interstate 75 since 2004, right outside of Cincinnati in Monroe you've looked to the east to see a sixty-two foot high, 16,000 lb Jesus statue and said to yourself "What in the world?" To the uninformed, the all-white statue depicts the likeness of Jesus Christ from about mid-chest up, apparently struggling to escape from a lake with a quicksand bottom.
It sits in a man-made lake which spans the distance between I-75 and the non-denominational Solid Rock mega-church, which has four thousand members and three jumbotrons inside. Those who drive a route along I-75 use it as a very strange but noteworthy landmark and nicknames include Quicksand Jesus, Big Butter Jesus and Touchdown Jesus (the latter being totally ridiculous, everybody knows the real Touchdown Jesus lives near the stadium at Notre Dame). Yesterday the giant statue was struck by lightning during a violent storm and caught fire. Despite the fire department's best efforts, the foam, wood, and fiberglass construction of the statue meant it was a lost cause. By this morning all that remained was the steel support frame beneath.
Church officials have indicated the structure will be rebuilt, though have not indicated a time table so, for everyone who uses the giant statue as a landmark, it will be resurrected. (Hat tip to Sean!)
Photo credit Tiffani West-May