“Touchdown Jesus” statue torched by God.

If you’ve ever traveled I-75 through Ohio in the past six years then you’ve probably passed by the Solid Rock Church which is famous for a 62-foot tall statue of Jesus that faces the freeway. This is what it looks like:

Pic of Touchdown Jesus Statue

And the Lord saw the touchdown and it was good!

Or rather I should say, that is what it used to look like. Apparently God got sick of staring at such a tacky looking statue and decided to lay a little Biblical wrath upon it:

MONROE — Charred remnants remained this morning, June 15, of the large Jesus statue iconic to Interstate 75 that was destroyed following an apparent lightning strike during a thunderstorm late Monday night.

The Lawrence Bishop Music Theater at Solid Rock Church on Union Road endured smoke damage, according to officials. Damages to the King of Kings statue and the theater were estimated to be around $700,000, said Monroe Fire Chief Mark Neu.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Pic of Touchdown Jesus on fire.

I bet he never thought he'd prefer being nailed to a tree.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how the fuck a statue burns. It must be some honest-to-God kind of miracle, right? Well, not quite:

Since its completion in 2004, the statue, which appeared to come out of a pond in front of the nondenominational megachurch, was known by multiple nicknames, including “Touchdown Jesus” because the arms and hands were raised upward. It also was known as “Big Butter Jesus” after comedian Heywood Banks referred to it as such and created a song about the statue, which he performed on radio’s popular “The Bob and Tom Show.”

The statue was constructed of wood and styrofoam over a steel framework that was anchored in concrete and covered with a fiberglass mat and resin exterior, according to the church. It was slated to undergo renovations this summer.

Yeah, that shit will burn pretty easily even with a thin fiberglass coating over it. My mistake was thinking it was made out of traditional statue material like plaster or marble or cement. Shit that doesn’t burn. Apparently it cost $250,000 to build, which seems a tad ridiculous considering how cheaply it was made and how tacky it was, but I’m no art critic so what the hell do I know. The cost of the damages to the statue and the amphitheater behind it are estimated to be around $700,000.

OK, so a statue of a mythical figure made out of easily combustible materials gets struck by lightening and burns to the ground isn’t really all that interesting to me. Sure, there’s some humor to be found in an image of a God being destroyed by what would be called an act-of-God, but irony of this sort is pretty easy. What really interests me in this story is the response of some of the believers. Like these two guys:

Also gathered along Union Road were Franklin twins and storm chasers Levi and Seth Walsh, who said they were out in the thunderstorm when they heard about the fire through a Facebook update.

“It sent goosebumps through my whole body because I am a believer,” said Levi Walsh, 29. “Of all the things that could have been struck, I just think that that would be protected. … It’s something that’s not supposed to happen, Jesus burning,” he said. “I had to see it with my own eyes.”

I can’t believe Jesus was struck,” said his brother, 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.”

You’d think that perhaps this would clue these two in that there is no God. Or, if there is, that he’s much different than what they imagine him to be. Apparently he really doesn’t like cheap statues of himself, but finds stores selling porn right across the street from his supposed house of worship to be quite tolerable. Not surprising when you consider that Jesus spent a fair amount of time hanging out with prostitutes.

But this won’t do anything to change their minds. They’ll sit around for awhile and wonder what the church could have done to have God torch the graven image of himself. Perhaps they’ll find something they can latch onto as a rationalization for it and then they’ll put it our of their minds altogether. No, it’ll take more than some simple irony to change their minds.

Story sent in by a whole lot of people all at once. You guys were all over this one.

21 thoughts on ““Touchdown Jesus” statue torched by God.

  1. I was thinking of sending you a link to this story myself, Les. It is a pretty funny story, though thankfully no one was hurt. I think it was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus that was destroyed by an earthquake in ancient times with Christians calling it an act of God destroying a Pagan site. Well, I wonder how they will explain this one.

  2. I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
    Long as I got my Burning Jesus
    Flaming on the front lawn of my church.
    Glows in colors bright and pleasant…
    Stops the traffic ’cause it’s incandescent
    Always flames up when the lightning strikes!

    Yes, I’m going to hell if it exists. I believe I’m pretty much safe on that account!

  3. I’ll bet you that the pastor will tell his congregation that god struck the statue because the flock has been unsuccessful in getting rid of the porn shop across the street and is mad at their complacency and inaction regarding the house of filth.

  4. Can you imagine being the insurance co. adjuster who gets to explain to them that it was an act of god?

  5. Good one george !

    Nature is the most powerful presence in the Universe! Some call it a Science while others of us refer to it as a Spiritual experience.

  6. Damn you Rosie! I spit coffee all over my laptop when I read your little ditty! LOL

  7. It’s no surprise the thing got zapped; it’s a giant lightning rod in a pool of water.

  8. I don’t mind the statue as much as i do the huge building behind it. Too bad lighting didn’t strike it burning it down with all its sheep inside.

  9. YAY! Burn cult symbol 😀

    I believe something along the lines of “Thou shalt not create any engraven images to worship”, springs to mind.

  10. I’ll probably lose a few popularity points here, but I must protest Ravious’ comment. As amused as I am by the statue being torched by lightening I would never actually be disappointed that harm didn’t befall the people inside the church. Even the Westboro church members, as odious as they are, are not a group I would like to see literally die in a fire.

    One would hope the members would see this as evidence that the Universe is not governed by the hand of a loving God and is, in fact, unconscious and uncaring the plight of the matter within itself, but that’s probably wishful thinking on a scale as great as what the people in the church engage in.

  11. I’m with Les on this – I wouldn’t wish burning to death on my worst enemies, let alone religious people who are generally just deluded. Think of it like an illness. Would you burn people to death for their illness? We tend not to kill people who believe they are Napoleon.

  12. I’m also with Les. Also generally amused, but I’ve never been disposed to wish people harm who’d never done me any (nor the intent thereof).

  13. That always pisses me off. When I here a church spends 700 000 on a stupid statue instead of may be giving the money to people who are not well off in the comunity, or maybe there church goers that can’t afford much and tell there priest how they are trying to get by. It’s fustrating. I know it takes a lot of money to restore an old cathderal and what not, but it still sucks.

  14. I agree with Ashley – they could give that money to people who need it. I guess it shows where their priorities lie. But, as Jesus said: “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.” (Mark 14: 7). So I guess they’re just following his teachings. Unfortunately.

  15. One should think there was other things they could spend the money on than a styrofoam statue! One thing is art that will stand for hundreds of years, but 250,000$ for a styrofoam satue! What a waste! Maybe better than spending the money missionering some poor country, we all know how that turns out! You do however get quite a lot of food for that money! Only confirms the fear that many churches exist for their own sake, not for the good of human kind.

  16. When my family and I drove past “Touchdown Jesus” in November 2008 on our way to spend Thankgiving with my uncle, we named him “Bathtub Jesus.” We also decided that if we lived around this church, we would have put bubble bath in the water, maybe some rubber ducks. Would have been fun and I’m sure Bathtub Jesus would have enjoyed it.

  17. Well I guess that’s what you get for putting a large steel structure in a clearing….

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