An “act of God” (I mean that in the legal sense, if not a metaphysical one) has claimed a well-known (locally, anyway) icon of Christianity in Monroe, Ohio. It was a statue of Christ known popularly as the “Touchdown Jesus” because both its hands reached up like a referee signaling a touchdown. USA Today reports on its heavenly destruction (WebCite cached article):
Monroe fire officials set damage at $700,000 after lightning struck and burned down a 62-foot-high Jesus Christ statue and an adjacent amphitheater at Solid Rock Church late Monday.
Church leaders are vowing to rebuild the iconic “King of Kings” statue — also dubbed “Touchdown Jesus” — which alone was valued at $300,000.
In what might be viewed as the reverse of the “loaves and fishes” miracles of the gospels, the statue wasn’t the only casualty of this disaster:
A pond surrounding the statue that used to be full of fish is now filled with remnants of the structure, made of fiber glass and foam. All the fish are either dead or dying, [Monroe Fire Capt. Richard] Mascarella said.
This catastrophe has also spawned a potential secondary danger due to the devotion of the ruined statue’s worshippers:
Authorities on Tuesday were urging motorists to resist the temptation to stop on Interstate 75 and snap photos, fearing that drivers pulling on and off the berm could cause crashes.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is issuing warnings to those who stop — and will soon start writing citations, a dispatcher for the patrol’s Lebanon post said.
I’m sure the Solid Rock Church, which built the statue and on whose property it sat, will rebuild this statue — probably with an even-larger and more ostentatious version. I don’t know what Jesus himself would have made of such a massive and splashy idol of himself … I’m fairly sure God is no big fan of idols in the first place … but I doubt the Christians who venerate it even care about little considerations like the Second Commandment (among Protestant & Orthodox Christians, and Jews; Catholics include this within the First).
Photo credit: Wikipedia (English).Tags: act of god, act of nature, christian, Christianity, christians, destroy, I75, idolatry, interstate 75, jesus, jesus christ, king of kings, king of kings statue, lightning, monroe OH, Separation of church and state, solid rock church, statue, touchdown jesus