I Can’t Believe It’s Not ButterKnown as “Touchdown Jesus” (or “Drowning Jesus”) for its upstretched arms, and sometimes “Big Butter Jesus” for its creamy color, the statue in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, was a landmark, especially considering it was right next to Interstate 75. The $250,000, 62-foot-tall (even though it only depicted Jesus from the chest up) monument was built in 2004, but when it was hit by lightning, it was destroyed in minutes — it was made from fiberglass and flammable foam. Good riddance, locals say: “If it was supposed to be here, it would still be here,” said one. Rev. Darlene Bishop disagrees. “I knew that there would be a lot of critics that would say, ‘Oh, Jesus didn’t like it and that’s why he done this’,” Bishop said, adding the church will rebuild the statue — perhaps making it even larger — and this time, fireproof. Donations are streaming in. “We’re not encouraging people to do it, but we’re not rejecting [donations],” she said. Replacement is expected to cost $750,000. “We don’t have no problems,” she says. “Jesus knows how to get it for us and get it for us free.” (RC/Springfield News-Sun) ...In other words, it was insured.
Story Update: It took more than two years, but “Touchdown Jesus” was replaced by a standing Jesus figure with outstretched arms — which has earned it the name “Hug Me Jesus”. The church’s senior pastor, Rev. Lawrence Bishop (Darlene’s husband) didn’t live to see it, however: he died the year before after getting the replacement plans in place.
The replacement was not larger: Lux Mundi (Latin for “Light of the World”) is 52 feet tall, and was completed in September 2012. It does not look like sculpted butter.
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 16.