As you drive north away from Cincinatti on I-75, you will be greeted by a 62 feet tall, 16,000 pound statue of Jesus looming over you and, to hear some tell it, watching over you. Sold Rock Church, a 3400 member mega-church under the leadership of pastors Lawrence and Darlene Bishop, spent $250,000 on the statue 40 miles north of Cincinatti. Many would no doubt question the merits of such an expenditure, but many in the church see a higher plan at work.
It turns out that this particular section of I-75 has been the scene of numerous accidents, and twelve people died along that stretch of highway in the two years prior to the erection of the statue, most from cars crossing the median. Since the big Jesus statue went up there have been no such accidents. It is a testimony (of sorts) to the pulpit ministry at Solid Rock that many in the church attribute the decline in accidents to the statue, saying it watches over the freeway. Member James Nelms, 23, aptly makes the point: “Can’t too much go wrong next to a big statue of Jesus.” Indeed -how can you argue with logic like that?
Well the naysayers at the Ohio Department of Transportation don’t think that the Giant Jesus has much to do with it at all. They tend to think that accidents have declined as a result of a $1.1 million high-tension cable that was installed in the median about the same time the statue went up. They go so far as to claim that 183 cars have hit it. Oh well.