14 years since lightning destroyed ‘Touchdown Jesus’ statue in Monroe

It has been 14 years since the 62-foot landmark “Touchdown Jesus” was destroyed by fire after a lightning bolt struck the sculpture bust in Monroe in June 2010.

Located at Solid Rock Church on I-75 near Cincinnati, the statue once known for its “grand size and prominent hand gesture,” was rebuilt in 2012 with a slightly different hand pose, 52-foot height wise and a new but unofficial title of “Hug Me Jesus.”

The fire had also caused damage to the church’s amphitheater in 2010 as well.

The original “Touchdown Jesus” statue, was known as “King of Kings” by the Solid Rock Church, while the replacement “Hug Me Jesus” is also known as “5 Dollar Footlong Jesus” or more officially “Lux Mundi,” which means “light of the world” in Latin.

Some popular nicknames for the bust include: “Big J,” “Big Butter Jesus” and “Super Jesus.”

The current replacement has fire-resistance materials to ensure a repeat of what happened in 2010 would never happen again.

In 2015, one of our then reporters interviewed a citizen on what having the statue meant. “I thought it was a neat statement to make,” Joel Smith, of Dayton, said of having the statue by the highway. “I think that’s the beauty of America is every one of us is entitled to say what we believe. Not everybody has to like what each other says.”

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