Ohio Jesus Burns

June 15th, 2010

Possible theories as to why God threw a bolt of lightning at his own statue...

1.  The statue made him look fat.

2.  He walks on the water.  On!  ON!  He does not wade chest high with hands extended begging for mercy!

3.  The cross was poking him in the clavicle.

4.  The whole nearby power line thing… it made his shoulders ache just looking at it.

5.  The quarter of a million dollars it cost to make this statue was just not impressive enough.

6. There weren’t any Haitians nearby.  

7.  To raise awareness.

8.  To create buzz.

9.  He was aiming for the ‘Jesus in the Wheat’ billboard on Interstate 70, but Gabriel bumped into his elbow right when he threw the bolt.  

10. Insert your own theory here internet and remember!  God is NOT MOCKED!


  • Amy:

    God read the results of a recent poll that showed subtle was in and “in your face” (or in this case “in your lane”) was out when it came to religious iconic attractions.

    89% of Christians prefer more intimate venues like “Jesus in a Tortilla”

  • Emily:

    Australia lost. God had $50 on that game.

  • Nadine:

    Jesus took God’s last bonbon.

    (I saw some comments on an article on this claiming the devil did it, but let’s be clear, folks, the Bible states that God’s in charge of lightning:
    32 He fills his hands with lightning
    and commands it to strike its mark. – Job 36:32)

  • I’m originally from SW Ohio and this was, of course, big news! The real irony, though, is that there is a “Hustler Hollywood” billboard right nearby that survived the storm! :) Seriously, though, the pastor of this church and his wife spent $250K on this statue and according to the Dayton Daily News, built it “not to impress people, but to help them”. As a Christian and human being, I’m pretty sure of two things: 1) No statue, no matter how big, ever saved anyone’s soul and 2) That $250K could have been much better spent helping people eat, find shelter, find jobs, etc.

  • Samantha:

    The lightning god is more powerful than the Jesus god or the statue god, it’s that simple.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I think your theory #9 was correct.

    And thanks for the double laugh this morning with the Roadside America link. Hubby and I love Roadside America and have the book. Our favorite review is for Precious Moments in Carthage, MO. My mother is a P.M. collector and considers the P.M. compound to be the American Holy Land. But as the Roadside America people point out, all those figurines with halos and wings must mean they are the angels of dead babies… creepy. Needless to say, Hubby and I have troubles being mature in the local Hallmark store in the Precious Moments, a.k.a. “Dead Baby Angel” section. We’ve also never joined the pilgrimage to Carthage.

  • Heywood Banks wrote a song about this statue called Big Butter Jesus. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-ksuOaI61g

  • I heard a comment on the radio this morning – ‘Big Butter Jesus is toast!’

  • 10plus:

    Consistent with the other biblical messages, it was some sort of vague metaphor for what God’s trying to tell us, like ‘Jesus has a burning desire to know us,’ or something. Or possibly, because his arms were locked in place he couldn’t reach his (unseen) nether region to pleasure himself, so God just put him out of his misery.

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    I have no theory but–Heywood Banks! Love the guy. And seeing as we’re on World Cup overload my first thought is GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!!

  • Spinny:

    God was tired of his son being made out of styrofoam and fiberglass. He’s way too high class for that.

  • Allen:

    @pam – ‘Big Butter Jesus is toast!’

    Wouldn’t that be clarified?

    Anyway, I am almost certain there is a commandment against this kind of thing, but you know they don’t follow that rule anyway.

  • Kris:

    Idolitry anyone??

  • km:

    touchdown Jesus says “I’ve done all I could do, sent them Beckham, told that woman to take off her shirt, but they still won’t watch soccer. I give up”.

  • Maybe Zeus was finally fed up with the constant upstaging and general show-offy-ness of Jesus & Co. What’s better than just one god? Why, 13 of course!

    And Nikki, I totally agree with you about the Precious Moments. Those things are creepy!

  • Thor wants a throw down with God.

  • susan:

    He walked too near the burning bush with his cotton robe.

  • Mary:

    I have the unique honor of living just 30 minutes from this ruination. Unless you have driven by this renowned landmark and seen the thing in person, you cannot know the utter creepiness of it. The entire church compound, designed in some sort of Spanish Mission style, reeks of conspicuous consumption. Hustler Hollywood, by comparison, is housed in a modest building on the other side of the highway. I have long wondered which actually does more business.

    Poor Big Buttuh, as we call him in our house. He has long been the object of ridicule and scorn in this area, save for football season, when he is often called upon to participate in the O-H-I-O stance of faithful OSU fans and show the world just whose side God is really on. ;-)

  • Carry:

    I expect they’ll soon be saying that satan was involved somehow. Or that it’s a test…

    The pictures of it actually burning are quite impressive. But the leftover rebar? Creepy as fuck.

  • Carrie:

    thank goodness we still have the “lovely” Christ of the Ozarks: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/17113
    I’m sure it’s been struck by lightning too, but didn’t burn since it wasn’t made of styrofoam!

  • Joel Wheeler:

    Hey, let up: give it three days first. Then we’ll just see, won’t we?

    OMG: too… many… jokes…

    Also, glad to see you enjoyed Letter to a Christian Nation. It’s like The End of Faith’s Cliff’s Notes or Reader’s Digest version.

  • Anna:

    Heywood Banks has already wrote a new verse and chorus for his song Big Butter Jesus:


    Personally, I agree with those who 1. call the whole thing idolatry in the first place, and 2. say that the money that went into building the thing could have been put to MUCH better use.

    And @Mary, I’ve NEVER been to that church, yet have visited the Hustler store several times. :)

  • km:

    d’ya think Dad is ever going to throw the ball back?

  • km:

    this sun salutation is killing me !

  • I was waiting to see what you’d say when you got a hold of this story. It was good. The comments from other readers are just as entertaining.

    I think that it is simply evidence that good taste DOES exist in the universe.

  • Touchdown Jesus was touched by His Noodely Appendage and burst into flame.

    Nobody messes with The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • Action Squirrel:

    Because He was not pleased with mere plastic/plaster of paris/wax/bee poop/whatever that was. Too weak, too static. He demanded an effigy of fire, which is more fitting. It was then His wish that this subpar statue of fire be replaced per His heavenly direction shortly thereafter by a moveable statue of water, and on the following morning, a cloth made of magical thoughts and religious dreams, through which His graciousness can easily be observed. It was a Holy Performance Art, and it was Good.

  • I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!
    Ok that sucked but it was all that came to mind.

  • Melissa Ann:

    I actually grew up about 20 minutes from the big jesus, and have had to pass the spectacle for years whenever we go home to visit my parents. You simply can’t imagine it in person — it’s just bizarre and creepy (or it WAS!)… Anyways, I guess I’ll now be passing its remains :)

  • I saw that on the news. How about that??
    Makes you wonder, doesn’t it…people putting all their faith into a sculpture.

  • Mindy:

    Mwahahaha! It makes me insanely pleased to see that creepy thing burn. I live about half an hour from it and pass it on the way to Cinci. Maybe it’s a sign that the Bengals will win the superbowl!!!! Whoever made the deal with the devil saying they would make the playoffs last year finally fulfilled their part of the deal.

  • garden:

    maybe they should take the money that it will cost to rebuild it and put it toward doing good for PEOPLE in need and not in a fake representation of God and faith. Be Jesus and do good works among men…just be good!

  • charlie:

    And you think these above comments are not knocking GOD?

    I feel pity for you all and ask for God’s understanding.

    • Charlie – If god has a problem with it, he sure can show up on my front porch and talk to me about it. I will insist that he turn the pond into wine first though – I don’t have any interest in talking to a god that can’t deliver the goods.

  • I don’t usually respond to other commenter, but I simply couldn’t resist.

    Charlie, as a Christian, I really don’t feel that the other commenters are “knocking God”. I just can’t believe that my Jesus would approve of such blatant commercialism. New reports are that the statue will cost $300K-$400K to rebuild…and the plan IS to rebuild. Reverend Bishop insists that they “didn’t build the “King of Kings” statue to impress, but to help and inspire.”

    I think that many Christians have forgotten that Christ was a simple man who spoke His mind and listened to everyone. He even disagreed with people, flipping tables and chairs and yelling at the moneychangers in the temple. The demise of this statue in this way is/was sure to bring comments like the ones above, both from believers and non-believers alike.

    Remember that Rechelle (and many of her readers) is an atheist, and frankly, doesn’t care about the pity of self-righteous Christians (or anyone else for that matter) or the understanding of God. I have found, however, that she (and many of her readers) is well-read in Christianity and sparks lively conversation and debate. I believe that the Jesus of the Gospels would have enjoyed a conversation here, even joking about something as ridiculous as spending huge amounts of money on a statue, when so many people are in need.

    I reiterate a quote from a comment I made on a previous post:

    “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” (Mohandas Gandhi)

    • Thoughtful comment ElleBee. I can’t believe that they are considering re-building it.

  • Jay:

    I was in Cincinnati the day that Big Butter Jesus melted. The local news there was afire (bad pun) with comments and debate.

    Since all that is left of the statue is the metal skeleton, the local people renamed “Touchdown Jesus” as “Terminator Jesus”. :)

    It boggles my mind that people would pay so much money to cover a giant metal lightning rod in a flammable material.

  • Mary:

    Yes, they are rebuilding. Our local NPR station reported that church officials said damages would total 1.5 million…and that donations are simply pouring in!

    Ohio has been hit hard by economic problems. Food banks have lost funding, donations are down, and the need is greater than ever. 1.5 mil could fill a lot of pantry shelves…

  • Lori E:

    I have to say, as a christian, that it makes me sick they are thinking of rebuilding. Seriously. The VBS my boys are attending is collecting dollars to send to Africa because ONE DOLLAR provides a family with clean water FOR A YEAR!!! What a complete waste of resources to rebuild that monstrosity of a statue.

  • Charlie:

    God is on your front porch!

  • We drive by Jebus daily. We were sorely tempted (pre-lightning strike) to put bubbles in the pond and make Bathtub Jebus.

  • Spinny:

    Charlie, could you ask god to pick the dead leaves off the plants on my front porch? Obviously he has nothing better to do if he’s hanging out on front porches all day.

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Did you notice the church’s choir is called the Fire Choir? I think they should have known!

    I’ve spent the last few minutes asking myself what it means that this happened on my birthday. Here’s my conclusion… it was a much more exciting day in Ohio than in Kansas! LOL!

  • Happy Slightly late birthday Martha!

  • Charlie, God needs to hose down my front porch. I’ve still got all that stupid moss stuff from the oak trees lying around. And if he could water the plants, with the hose, none of that show-offy making it rain, I would appreciate it.

  • jen:

    God’s little stimulus project? After all, the folks that will get paid to rebuild need jobs, too….

  • Kristina:

    We Ohioans lovingly referred to him by the name “Touchdown Jesus.” I believe it was a message from God saying – “I don’t like football!”

  • Roman:

    I’d say it was the finger of God. Yeah, THAT finger.

  • How can you look at something like this and think that God doesn’t have a sense of humor? (Presuming, of course, that you believe God exists at all.) Come on, this is hilarious! God strikes down a rather vainglorious display, and the best thing the people in His church can think to do to “help and inspire” the local community is to rebuild it?

    Let’s face it: if Jesus exists, he’s almost certainly reading these comment threads and snickering. I’ll bet his Internet connection is a lot faster than mine, too.

  • Sarah S. in NM:

    I know I’m late to the party here, but no one pointed out the obvious: since there’s no such thing as god, no one is pissed at a tacky statue except us, and the only humans who are controlling weather right now are the Chinese. So let’s be accurate about what this all means: The Chinese do not like football. Cloud-seeding jerks…

  • Kathy J:

    Personally I think there are really only two possible explanations. First – don’t build a lightning rod and cover it with a statue. It is still a lightning rod.
    Secondly – it is some kind of comment on Nebraska joining the Big 10, don’t quite know if it is a positive or negative comment. God must be a husker (sorry Rechelle) Honestly this God or no God thing is small potatoes compared to college football – Geesh!

    Actually I am going with the lightning rod story, but I like the Husker one better.