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Big Butter Jesus

I've recently moved to Cincinnati, and on a recent trip up I-75 exploring my new surroundings, I found Jesus. Literally.

Standing 62 feet high, with a 42-foot wing span between the hands, the Solid Rock Church's statue of Jesus rises out of the ground in Monroe, Ohio.

The statue, erected in 2003, was the inspiration of Lawrence and Darlene Bishop, evangelical Christian pastors of the 3,400-member Solid Rock Church here, which spent $250,000 on a project that did not go smoothly.

The image's steel frame was built in nearby Lebanon, Ohio, and the body, made of Styrofoam and fiberglass, on the beach in Jacksonville, Fla. The body was then trucked north. But when workers started installing the statue on an island in a man-made reflecting pool behind the church, they found that the head and arms were too small for the chest.

The builder, James Lynch, then spent three months ripping the fiberglass apart and recasting the outstretched arms and upturned face. The completed figure weighs 16,000 pounds and, at 62 feet, stands 20 feet taller than originally planned, though its skin is so thin that it bends to the touch of a finger.

Some congregants say the statue keeps watch over a section of freeway that was once among the most dangerous in Ohio. Twelve people died along that 15-mile stretch of I-75 in the two years before the image was erected, eight of them killed after cars jumped the median into oncoming traffic. Since the statue went up more than five years ago, there have been no such crossover deaths.

Officials at the Ohio Department of Transportation attribute the improved safety to a $1.1-million high-tension cable that the department built in the freeway's median about the time, coincidentally, that the statue was erected. Cars have hit the cable 183 times since then, and in three of those cases, crashes have occurred within three-tenths of a mile of the church.

There is also a running disagreement over the statue's name. Postcards for sale in the church's gift shop refer to it as the King of Kings. Many locals call it Touchdown Jesus, since, a bit like the famed mural at the University of Notre Dame, it resembles a robed and bearded referee signaling a score at the goal line. Others call it Super Jesus, MC 62ft Jesus (for the technomusician of a similar name) or simply Big J.

Personally, I prefer the name Big Butter Jesus, because it looks like one of the butter sculptures you'd see at a state fair. Comedian Heywood Banks created a HILARIOUS song for the Big Butter Man, and I guarantee it will be stuck in your head for days. The best line is "I can't believe it's not Jesus, Oleo lord . . ." The video also includes a bunch of photoshopped images of the Big Man, a few of which are chuckle-worthy.

From personal experience, I can tell you the creepiness factor of this thing is off the charts! It's worth a stop if you're ever in the area, just to see it for yourself. The creepiness is not only a result of the giant statue, but also the layout of the entire church "complex." I took a shot of this (awesome) statue there, too:

Finally, if your outing to see the Giant Jesus hasn't been sacrilegious enough, be sure to get a high five with Jesus, or try to see if that's a plane he's looking at:


wow, there's one more thing I need to do in Ohio.
I'm such a bad Ohioan. haha. I've never even heard of that!!
I think when I go, I'll make it look like Jesus is sneaking a feelski.
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I live in Cincinnati, born & raised, and you wouldn't believe the uproar when that thing was built. Now the 'Nati has settled down into a more comfortable love-hate relationship with the Buttery One, as in, most of us hate it but love to see people's faces when they experience it for the first time! We love to give the ol' Land-o-Lakes Lord a hard time (who doesn't love the Heywood Banks song? Hilarious!).
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I'm in Cincinnati too. We also call it Touchdown Jesus, Rollercoaster Jesus, and Sinking Jesus. The Heywood Banks song was played on Bob & Tom, a crude (and usually hilarious) local morning show.
I'm not religious, but I would love to be able to say "Oh yeah, I go to the Butter Jesus church..." >.> or not.
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Lame song.

Reminds me of the two statues at the top of the steps to the Campidoglio in Rome. I've seen girls having their picture taken halfway down the steps, apparently cupping the statues' genitalia in either hand.
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That statue of the angel defeating Satan is a fairly blatant rip-off of one that sits in Place Saint Michel in Paris, a hop, skip and a jump away from the Sorbonne.

... Not that religious artists are generally rewarded for their originality....
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I lived in the 'Nati for 2 years, and I always took visitors to see "Creepy Jesus", as we called it. I wanted to go to a service there sometime, but was warned that I might encounter proselytizing that verged on stalking. Makes you wonder what the local food pantry or women's shelter could have done with that $250,000.

As an aside, have you been by the Mushroom House yet?
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Sacrilegious, I think. Traveling regularly to Cinci and seeing this always makes me shake my head and think how awful these "mega-churches" really are. Are the people there worshiping God, or are they worshiping the pastor and his graven creations?

Besides, it figures it would be next to the Traders World flea market and across from the Turtle Creek flea market in Mason.

Oh, and the "truck stop" there on Route 63 is a known prostitutional "den of iniquity", and the Hustler Mega Store is just around the corner!

Lots to do down there in good ol' Mason.
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Wieeerd. The song is hilarious, though. but you have to wonder what those people were thinking. Instead of dedicating the time, money and food it took to build the statue, they could have easily fed hundreds of people (not with solid butter of course, but you get the idea) and helped the community instead of being a national punchline.
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i grew up in west chester, which is two exits down 75 from what i call touchdown jesus. whenever i pass it, i yell "touchdown!" and sometimes spout out an elaborate play prior to the yell, JUST because it's so ridiculous and evangelical. anyways, so i've been up here in dayton for that last 4 years going to school and i just so happen to pass this damn statue every time i visit the family or make a general trip back home. well, when my boyfriend and i started dating, he lived down in west chester while i was in dayton (only a couple exits off 75 up from jesus), and of course every trip up here, he passed the statue as well. it was perfectly placed though, because it was EXACTLY half-way between our locations: exactly 60 minutes. so every time he was coming up to see me, he would throw me a "touchdown" to let me know that he would be there in half-hour. it's just amzing how much i've heard about this dumb statue outside of my own expriences with it, and trust me, people.. it's not that great a spectacle. if you haven't seen it, it's worth an hour drive, but any further you're wasting your time. actually, no-- come far and wide! everyone needs to know how far we've sunk.
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This is in Monroe - it is 15 miles from Mason (where I live) - man o man - people down here are really embarrassed by this monster.

The Pastor IS the owner of the truckstop and flea market...

several years ago he decoded to become a pastor - and then built his own church - and now has his own following...

a little too "cultish" for me.
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