After a Christian special interest group built a pier on the public beach that resembles a Christian cross, many residents are outraged. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association defends its decision to design the pier in the shape of a Christian cross, but thousands of Jersey Shore residents are furious that they may be forced into unwanted Christian worship.
Despite the public outcry, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association stands by its choice to build the pier to resemble a cross, claiming that they make “no apology for that we love the fact that it looks like a cross.”
The first pier in Ocean Grove was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. According to reports, the pier was built on religious convictions, so the group wished to resurrect their Christian ideals in the shape of a Christian cross pier for everyone to use.
The cross-shaped pier, available to the public, is privately funded. The group behind the monument did not have to go through an official approval process because they were using secret or dark money. This allowed them to bypass the first amendment and bring their Christian values closer to state affairs in New Jersey.
Some argue that the $1.3 million, the 500-foot long cross-shaped pier is an act of “Christian bullying.” These individuals have asked state and local officials to intervene before construction finishes. If all goes according to plan, the pier will open on December 7, 2022. However, this may be delayed if groups opposing Christianity are successful in using their government power to impede progress.
The new pier, which was built on the site of a former synagogue in Brooklyn, has been called a pathetic example of “Christian bullying” by Presbyterian Pastor Douglas Grote.
“I fear that my faith’s lovely cross may soon become as toxic as a Trojan horse for Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, and all of New Jersey,” Pastor Grote said in a guest column for NJ.com.
The pastor continued, “To me, any political power that would appear to bully its captive, vulnerable, secular citizenry into accepting a sectarian cross as the center of its cultural life is a likely human rights violator. With the pier’s construction set to begin soon, I fear that my faith’s lovely cross may soon become as toxic as a Trojan horse for Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, and all of New Jersey.”
Mr. Grote intends to take a stand against Christianity during the next Ocean Grove Home Owners Association, which will be held on September 24, 2022. He’d want a vote to halt construction of the pier “until matters are investigated, all of its citizenry are consulted, and approve the cross-shaped pier, or not, just like democracy ought to work.”