A little town called Ocean Grove in New Jersey has been given the nickname, “God’s square mile.” The New Jersey Shore town was originally established over 150 years ago by a Methodist group called, “The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.”
Ocean Grove has been touted as a lovely and desirable place for a relaxing weekend getaway.
However, thousands of Jersey Shore residents are outraged over a religious group’s fishing pier design that is in the shape of a Christian cross and is being built on a public beach which they attribute to Christian symbolism and nationalism.
Some residents are calling the pier “Christian bullying” following its groundbreaking in July. They are demanding that state and local officials intervene. The pier is slated to open on December 7.
Astonishingly, the charge of “bullying” comes from those who have been agitated by the pier’s cross-like appearance.
He has lobbied state and local officials on behalf of the LGBTQ community to try to put a stop to the rebuilding.
“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,” Grote said.
The pastor said that the pier is another instance of the “holier than thou” bullying that is prevalent in what some refer to as “God’s square mile.”
“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,” he bizarrely asserted.
At the upcoming Ocean Grove Home Owners Association meeting on September 24, Grote plans to present a motion in opposition to the pier. In order for democracy to function as it should, he wants a vote to be taken requesting the camp meeting association to put the construction of the pier on hold “until matters are investigated, all of its citizenry are consulted, and approve the cross-shaped pier, or not.”
However, the pier design was subject to a three-year public comment period, according to Camp Meeting Association President Michael Badger, who also made the designs online-viewable. But no grievances were lodged throughout that period.
“Look, I think some people think we set out to design a pier that looks like a cross. That was not the case,” Badger said. “We did not start out to create a cross-shaped pier to make a statement.”
“What we wanted to do was expand access to the water, expand viewing points to look at the Atlantic Ocean and give more fishing spots than the old pier had,” Badger said. “But as we went along, we realized it looked like a cross and that seemed pretty cool to us. We recognize the shape and we are very excited to present it to the community. We do celebrate our faith.”