Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
June 15, 2010
The congregation of the Solid Rock megachurch in Monroe, Ohio, will have difficulty explaining it: a lightning bolt from heaven — favorite weapon of a wrathful god — has destroyed the church’s “Touchdown Jesus.” (Though if it is a “sign” of some sort… sorry atheists!)
The giant Jesus was built in 2004, appearing to erupt from the ground at the end of the church’s baptismal pond, facing traffic on I-75. Officially titled “King of Kings,” the statue quickly acquired its “Touchdown” nickname, as well as “Drowning Jesus” and “Big Butter Jesus,” the title of a novelty song.
A lightning bolt is believed to have struck the 62-foot-tall statue around 11 PM on June 14, 2010. The plastic-resin-and-styrofoam-Savior burst into flames, a fate similar to the one suffered by the former World’s Largest Turkey. By dawn, all that remained was Christ’s scorched steel framework.
Touchdown Jesus becomes the second giant American religious icon to vanish this year. Its rival in size, Christ of the Ozarks, is built of millions pounds of lightning-resistant mortar, and remains unscathed.
Along with the nicknames, Touchdown Jesus became a favorite subject for roadsideamerica.com novelty photos, which perhaps fueled heavenly wrath and hastened its demise.
Update: – Police are ticketing Jesus shutterbugs who are stopping on the interstate to photograph the ruins. – Video of the statue burning. [Thanks to the dozens of travelers and tipsters who reported this last night!]