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A giant Jesus statue was struck by lightning at 11:15 p.m. and burned to the ground late Monday night in Monroe, Ohio. The King of Kings statue stood next to the Solid Rock Church on Union Road just off Interstate 75, and served as an iconic symbol for travelers along that route.

The 62 foot tall statue was erected in 2004 and spanned 42 feet between its outstretched arms. The massive $250,000 structure, intended as a beacon of hope and salvation, definitely got the attention of passing motorists, who dubbed it ‘Touchdown Jesus’.

The church parking lot became an impromptu stopping off point for passersby who felt compelled to capture a Kodak moment. The congregation even funded a special walkway to accommodate the daily crowds.

Word quickly spread throughout Monroe and many of the 4,000 church parishioners gathered to observe the eerie carnage of their Jesus being destroyed in a towering inferno of flames. One member said, “This is not right. This cannot be a coincidence.”

Heywood Banks created a comedic song in early 2007 about the statue that he dubbed “Big Butter Jesus” – see video below.

More photos and video of the fire below:

Photos: Video screenshots