Last night, a thunderbolt from the heavens struck a 62 foot tall statue of Jesus in Ohio, and burned it to the ground. The statue, originally titled “King of Kings”, has become known as the “Touchdown Jesus” by pretty much everyone who has seen it:

The fact that a statue of Jesus was struck by lightning is likely to cause quite a stir in some circles. How could this have happened? Is there more than a random weather pattern at play?

Watch Touchdown Jesus Burn

People who watched the statue burn had a variety of reactions:

One woman said, “It sent goosebumps through my whole body because I am a believer. Of all the things that could have been struck, I just think that that would be protected. … It’s something that’s not supposed to happen, Jesus burning. I had to see it with my own eyes.”

Another woman was quoted as saying, “God struck God, I like the irony. Jesus struck Jesus.”

The sign for an adult store across the street was untouched.

Touchdown Jesus was constructed out of styrofoam, resin, fiberglass, wood and concrete. Total damages from the fire are estimated at around $700,000.

While I’ll leave the final conclusion to the theologians, I thought I would offer up at least a few ideas about how something like this could have happened. Please feel free to add to my list.

  • God has had enough of Big Butter Jesus video
  • Too many Obama voters in the church (Obama=antichrist)
  • Message from God (something about idolatry)
  • Stern message from Rio de Janeiro Jesus
  • Demonic terrorist attack
  • “Touchdown Jesus” victim of sabotage from other heavenly football team
  • Aliens mistook Touchdown Jesus for nuclear strike system
  • Failed attempt to raise Touchdown Jesus by alien tractor beam
  • Zeus has spoken
  • The statue was asking for it
  • God is actually Jewish
  • Jesus statue was in a pose of “drowning” – act of mercy from above
  • Flyby smiting…
  • Touchdown Jesus forgot to discharge static at the pump
  • Touchdown Jesus failed to follow up Doritos 3rd Degree Burn with Pepsi Max Cease Fire


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ERIKA RAE is the author of Devangelical, a humor memoir about growing up Evangelical (Emergency Press, December, 2012). She is editor-in-chief at Scree Magazine and nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Erika earned her MA in Lit­er­a­ture and Lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong and to this day can ask where the bath­room is in Can­tonese, although it is likely that she will not under­stand the answer. In her dream world, she fan­cies her­self a kung fu mas­ter clev­erly dis­guised as a gen­tle moun­tain dweller, eagerly antic­i­pat­ing dan­ger at the bot­tom of every latte. When she is not whipping one of her 3 children and denying them bread with their broth, she runs an ISP with her husband from their home in the Colorado Rockies.

89 responses to “Touchdown Jesus Struck By Lightning”

  1. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Okay, I feel really badly that I just laughed out loud when I read the phrase, “Watch Touchdown Jesus Burn.” Stepping aside now for the bolt of lightning searching me out because of it. And, wow, what the hell was this statue made of? Toilet paper and lighter fluid? That baby’s lit up like Christmas (ba dum *cymbal crash*).

  2. Matt says:

    You forgot the gays! And socialism!

    Doubtless Glenn Beck or Anne Coulter or one of those types will blame it on those socialist gays. The ones trying to marry and regulate the free market and wage a war on Christmas! Surely they’re at fault!

  3. Richard Cox says:

    A butterfly in China flaps his wings, and Touchdown Jesus burns. Communist Chaos Theory in action!

  4. dwoz says:

    This is a deep question, but paradoxically, one that has a simple answer.

    When you’re building a massive statue of the King of Kings, you of course want to get it right. That kinda goes without saying. And of course, when you want to Do It Right, you have to go to the source, right? YES! Praise! you want to go straight to the BIBLE for your guidance.

    The BIBLE.

    THE bible.

    er……..which bible?

    The problem here, is that there are SO MANY DIFFERENT BIBLES. Apparently, the builders of the statue FOLLOWED THE WRONG BIBLE.

    When you’re building a flock of the TRULY faithful, the only rational choice of Bible is the KJV.

    However, when you’re building a 62 foot high structure, the only rational choice of Bible is the NEC *.

    The NEC is arguably the more important Bible in this instance. While the KJV saves souls, the NEC saves lives.

    Next time you’re onto an idolatry jag on a massive scale, pick the correct bible.

    *(National Electrical Code)

  5. Joe Daly says:

    God punished Jesus after catching Jesus watching Cougartown

  6. Irene Zion says:

    Erika Rae,

    I’m going to go with Flyby smiting, myself.

    I couldn’t get the you tube to work!
    I need to see this.

  7. Other possible causes for your list:

    -Stephen Baldwin speaks poorly of Baal, praises own work in Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas.
    -Condom use up in greater Akron area.
    -Styrofoam content too high for strict new Fourth Commandment zoning rules.
    -Martini-soaked Christopher Hitchens trips while showing off new “Kill ’em All, Let God Sort ‘Em Out” Zippo.
    -Cleveland teenager depicts Mohammad as Tofu Dog in margins of algebra text.
    -“Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” blasts out of passing Escort one too many times for irritable Creator.
    -Council of Nicea finally gets answer.
    -Sheer coincidence
    -Nostradamus predicted it in following quatrain: “Nazarene statuus meltus flatus eres es, burneth to groundeth, Bechtel headquartersus next.”

  8. Don Mitchell says:

    That image looks like the “going down Jesus” more than the TD Jesus.

    As in “going down for the third time.”

    What did you think I meant?

    Erika, you win the nimble posting award, for sure.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I agree, Don,
      I think it was drowning or burning and God probably gave him the choice.
      I myself would have picked the former, when forced, but, there you go, he did pick crucifixion in the past, for heaven sakes!

    • Erika Rae says:

      Had to act quickly on this one, Don. I imagine TNBers were lining up to be the first to cover it.

  9. Slade Ham says:

    I remember when I saw the story, my first thought was that Jesus is My Lightning Rod sounded like a really good name for a gospel song.

    • Erika Rae says:

      Better than “Big Butter Jesus”, at any rate.

      • Slade Ham says:

        So he can walk on water, but he can’t put out a fire with it…


        • Erika Rae says:

          It’s complicated, Slade. A spiritual mystery, if you will. It’s like firewater is neither fire, nor water. Like Palmolive is neither palm nor olive. Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island. A Tijuana Ninja is neither…you get the point. You have to be tuned in, brother Slade. Dial #9 for your own personal Touchdown Jesus. TJ is there for you all the time. Like 7-11, the GOP and hemorrhoids.

          And now I’m feeling verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

  10. Lorna says:

    Jesus should have been holding a lightning rod….just in case.

  11. Becky Palapala says:

    I was trying to put together something that combined the drowning and the burning…something about John the Baptist finishing the job where he had failed before, but I couldn’t get it to come together.

    Fix it Erika.

    Make my joke funny.

    • Erika Rae says:

      I dunno, Becky. All I got is something about being baptized with tongues of fire.

    • dwoz says:

      Jesus looked out into the lake, and saw a man flailing around in the water, screaming, then disappearing under the surface, only to rise again, flailing and screaming before going under yet again.

      “oh, for fuck’s sake” Jesus said, under his breath, and walked out across the lake to the man. When he reached him, Jesus spoke.

      “Excuse me, sir.” the holy man said to the drowning man. “I don’t mean to butt in here, but you’re doing it all wrong.”

  12. Miles Tougeaux says:

    Defense switched from man on (son of) man coverage to a pre(-ad)vent zone. QB with a lightning arm will burn you every time.

  13. D.R. Haney says:

    Home Run Santa finally cut a deal on yellow-cake uranium?

  14. Erika Rae says:

    NORAD that statue was not.

  15. Uche Ogbuji says:

    “The sign for an adult store across the street was untouched.”

    Lucifer rests.

    • Judy Prince says:

      Yo, Uche, you can’t be righter than right!

      Jeez, styrofoam—-what were those creators thinking? Pre-packaging for Heaven?

      Double Jeez—-it was like way too big for its britches I mean for the buildings round it. The Real Jesus was prolly embarrassed so he had it torched.

      OK, let’s face it—-it was ugly. And ugly ain’t beautiful.

      Erika, as always, you baaaaaad girl———-U ROCK, MATILDA!!!!!!!

      Love this! And I agree with everybody who loves calling it Touchdown Jesus.

  16. dwoz says:

    I’m going to have to mosey on over to the landover baptists, and see what they have to say about all this.

  17. Kymberlee says:

    I love “Flyby smiting”! hahahaha! Thanks for the laugh.

  18. jmblaine says:

    I think someone said I was the TNB
    But I will defer to a very
    profound Vanderbilt
    friend who gives an excellent exegesis
    “Shit Happens”

    Here’s some Scripture references
    for fun though:

    I Kings 18:

    38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

    39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!”

    John 2:19

    “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.”

    • Erika Rae says:

      I don’t know, Jmb. This is the third day…

      Yeah, shit happens.

      • jmb says:

        Actually me Rabbi buddy here gave a talk
        about seeing two cars
        one with the bumper sticker that says
        Miracles Happen
        and another with a sticker that said
        Shit Happens
        And he thought that was just the right balance.
        Shit happens, what a miracle.

        The jesus we sell
        here in America
        is rarely the real Jesus.
        Touchdown jesus?
        down in flames
        Yeshua Jesus?
        The Third Day
        is on the way…

  19. Brin says:

    Why have I never heard of “Touchdown Jesus” before?

    You’re a little more funny than you deserve to be, Erika.

  20. dwoz says:

    You know something?

    Touchdown Jesus was so ugly, I wouldn’t piss on it if it was on fire.

  21. Judy Prince says:

    Maybe the adult bookstore folks had it torched. But, nah, prolly not. They coulda, though, had a buncha books in each of TJ’s hands—–hmmmm…..good or bad advertising, hard to know…..

    • Erika Rae says:

      It IS hard to know. And therein lies the problem. No doubt theologians will be debating this one for years. I mean…imagine if it had happened to Rio Jesus. Think of the discussion! RDJ is way bigger and more popular than TJ at 130 ft tall. What would be next? The Vatican? The Crystal Cathedral? The Focus on the Family Welcome Center and Bookstore? And here is where my mind scrambles to static.

  22. Jordan Ancel says:

    The sign for an adult store across the street was untouched.

    Excellent juxtaposition.

    I’m fairly certain it was vandalized by the other heavenly football team.


  23. Zara Potts says:

    Could this have anything to do with the God Lube that Megan was talking about?

  24. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    I particularly enjoyed the poignant yet understated: ‘Watch Touchdown Jesus Burn’ link.

    Jesus dropped his blowdryer in the pond?

  25. Marni Grossman says:

    Undoubtedly, this has something to do with extramarital fornication and sodomy.

    But then again, doesn’t everything?

  26. JM Blaine says:

    Zechariah 13

    I will
    Strike the Shepard
    & the sheep
    will scatter

  27. Simon Smithson says:

    Jesus had one too many beers after the game:

    ‘Hey. Hey you guys. Hey you guys. I’m gonna catch this – guys. Hey guys. Are you watching? Watch me catch this. I’m totally gonna catch this.’

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