A decade after Hurricane Sandy came ashore and leveled the area, the Methodist-based Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association raised $1.3 million to restore the fishing pier and build other facilities on Ocean Grove Beach.
Michael Badger, president of the camp meeting association, tells AFN the Jersey fishermen would get congested at one end of a rectangular pier. So a cross-shaped pier, with three fishing spots, made sense.
“It wasn't like we set ought to brand Christianity in such a way,” he says, “but we see it as an inspiration.”
The ministry, which has legal authority over the beach property, is reportedly causing an uproar with its cross-shaped pier. According to an article by local newspaper NJ.com, its cross shape has upset the “L-G-B-T-Q-plus community” after the construction plans were unveiled in July. The pier’s shape could be viewed by some as an endorsement of “Christian nationalism,” too, the story said.
In the same story, a semi-retired Presbyterian pastor huffed the Methodist association is attempting to bully its “captive, vulnerable, secular citizenry.”
According to the NJ.com story, that pastor is threatening to raise the issue at a Sept. 27 home owners association meeting. That association could vote to halt construction of the pier, the story said, but the homeowners association and the Methodist association are not affiliated. So the vote won't matter even though the pastor says the First Amendment is in peril.
Asked by AFN about opposition to the pier, Badger says there are a “few members” of the community who don’t want to look at a cross-shaped pier.