PETA offers to rebuild giant Jesus statue - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

PETA offers to rebuild giant Jesus statue

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By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

MONROE, OH (FOX19) - It has been just over a week since lightning hit the "King Of King's" statue along I-75 in Monroe and set it on fire.

That wild video has become an Internet sensation but already, there's movement to rebuild.

PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has offered to rebuild the giant Jesus, but the Solid Rock Church has rejected PETA's offer.

FOX19's Stefano DiPietrantonio sat down with the church's pastor at his cattle ranch in Butler County.

Whether you call it the "Big Butter Jesus", the "Touchdown Jesus", there are more than a hundred reasons walking around in the fields at Pastor Lawrence Bishop's cattle ranch, why the statue will never be called, the "PETA Jesus".

Pastor Bishop has been a cowboy all his life. Walking his ranch with real spurs on his boots, he has worked on farms since he was a kid, including his family's farm in rural Kentucky.

"I've been good to them," Pastor Bishop said of his prized steers, many varieties from all over the globe. "If you're good to them, they'll be good to you."

He has been raising cattle and quarter-horses for 50 years. His animals are his life.

"Hopefully somebody'll make Big Macs out of them one day," he jokes. "And I'll make a profit."

So when a PETA donor suggested replacing the statue at his church, he promptly rejected their offer.

"If I wanted to promote somebody's agenda," Bishop said. "They'd be the last person in the world."

The PETA-proposed statue would show Jesus with a lamb around his shoulder.

"The only requirement is we want him to be holding a sheep," Bishop said.

And the message on the statue? "Blessed Are The Merciful" on the top line.. and, "Go Vegan", is the slogan scripted below, on the bottom line.

"The hope of our donor, which we share completely," said PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich, "Was that we would be able to take over the statue and use it to promote Christ's message of compassion and non-violence."

"But to be merciful," said Pastor Bishop. "He (meaning God) is talking about showing mercy to those who trespass against you and so he is a God of mercy but they're sidetracked on everything PETA is, a little bit looney, and a little bit far out."

"For the animals at the end of the day," Friedrich said. "It's a gruesome, bloody end that can't be reconciled with mercy or compassion and certainly can't be reconciled with the idea that the animals were treated well."

The church has gotten lots of offers from different sculptors and plenty of new ideas.

"And one with him standing with his arms outstretched," Bishop said. "I like that one."

Christ is a lot of things to a lot of people.

"For people that are hurting," Bishop said. "Especially in rough economic times, and we've had people who were contemplating suicide, driving down the highway, they said that sign did something to them, it gave them hope and it turned their whole life around."

The statue drew protestors and police at the first services after the statue burned. And given the trouble they had at last Wednesday night's services, Pastor Bishop said he expects to have a police presence again, at services this Wednesday night. 

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