King of Kings (statue)
King of Kings was a 62-foot (19 m)-tall statue of Jesus on the east side of Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church, a 4000+ member Christian megachurch near Monroe, Ohio, in the United States. It was destroyed by a lightning strike and subsequent fire on June 14, 2010.
Located on the interstate-facing side of the church's outdoor amphitheater, the statue was set on an island at the head of the church's baptismal pool, flanked by fountains and lit by colored spotlights. It depicted Jesus from the chest up, with his arms and head raised to the sky. The statue had a 42-foot (13 m) span between its upraised hands and a 40-foot (12 m) Christian cross at its base. The completed statue weighed 16,000 pounds (7,000 kg).
It was designed by Brad Coriell, sculpted by James Lynch, and assembled by Mark Mitten.
Constructed on a metal frame or armature manufactured in nearby Lebanon, Ohio, the sculpted figure itself was created in Jacksonville, Florida, then trucked north. The main body of the statue was made from a core of Styrofoam covered by a thin skin of fiberglass.
Popularity and nicknames
The statue was given many nicknames, both affectionate and derisive, by local residents and I-75 travelers. Among them were:
- Big J
- Big Butter Jesus
- Touchdown Jesus (The statue's most popular nickname, albeit one more commonly associated with the mural on the Hesburgh Library overlooking Notre Dame Stadium; American football referees signal a touchdown with a similar gesture)
- Super Jesus
- MC 62-Foot Jesus (like musician MC 900 Ft. Jesus)
- Terminator Jesus (after its destruction)
The statue was also credited with inspiring two musical works:
- Comedian Heywood Banks wrote and performed his novelty song "Big Butter Jesus" about the statue.
- Singer-songwriter Robbie Schaefer of the band Eddie from Ohio wrote the song "Monroe, OH" after driving past the statue.
On June 14, 2010, the statue was struck by lightning and consumed in the resulting blaze. The statue had been sculpted using a thin skin of fiberglass over a flammable styrofoam interior stabilized by a metal frame, and the fire consumed all but the internal metal structure. Following the fire, the pastor of the church stated that the church planned to rebuild the statue with fireproof material. In the days after the destruction, the church's digital sign displayed the message "He'll be back".
Although the statue cost about $250,000 to construct, it was insured for $500,000 because the artist, Brad Coriell, had donated his time to the creation. It was estimated the statue and amphitheater sustained an estimated $700,000 in damages — $300,000 for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater. PETA offered funding through an "anonymous Christian donor" to help rebuild the statue if allowed to promote veganism at the church.
Construction of a 52-foot replacement statue with a substantially different design began in June 2012. The new statue, called Lux Mundi, was assembled on the site on September 19, 2012 and dedicated on September 30, 2012.
- Maag, Chris (2005-11-18). "Giant Jesus statue keeps watch over Ohio interstate". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- "Lightning Razes 'King Of Kings' Statue". Cincinnati, Ohio: WLWT. 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- Morse, Janice (2010-06-16). "'Touchdown Jesus' statue's destruction brings flood of donations". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Abramson, Dan (2010-03-11). "Big Butter Jesus Dominates Google, Arteries". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- "Big Butter Jesus [video where artist discusses origin of song]". 2007-01-02.
- Robbie Schaefer, Strange and Lovely World
- "King of Kings statue destroyed by fire". kypost.com.[dead link]
- "Statue of Jesus destroyed by lightning strike". WXIX-TV "Fox 19". 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-06-15.[dead link]
- "Lightning strike destroys Touchdown Jesus statue". The Guardian. London. Associated Press. 2010-06-16.
- "Lightning Razes 'King Of Kings' Statue; 'He'll Be Back'". WLWT Cincinnati. Hearst Television, Inc. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.[dead link]
- Baker, Jennifer (2010-06-16). "'Touchdown Jesus' fire leads to few gawking tickets". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.[dead link]
- Grossman, Cathy Lynn (22 June 2010). "PETA offers to rebuild, brand Jesus statue: Next offer, NRA?". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- McCrabb, Rick (19 September 2012). "Giant Jesus landmark returns to I-75". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "52 foot Jesus replaces predecessor". Cincinnati.com. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
- "Solid Rock Church website".
- "Pictures of the statue".
- "Video of Heywood Banks performing "Big Butter Jesus"".
- "From the Vault: Remember 'Touchdown Jesus?'". WCPO. 22 June 2017.