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Jersey Shore Cross Shaped Pier that Sparked Controversy to Open on Memorial Day

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Jersey Shore Cross Shaped Pier that Sparked Controversy to Open on Memorial Day

Edited by: TJVNews.com

The Methodist ministry behind the 500-foot crossed-shaped pier that sparked controversy on the Jersey Shore said it will be open to the public on Memorial Day, as was reported by the New York Post.

Speaking to NJ.com,  Michael Badger, president of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association said, “We don’t mean to hurt anyone and we don’t mean to offend anyone. We are Christians and we are going to continue to be Christians in the public square, on our private lands.”

The $2-million-dollar project to restore the Ocean Grove pier, which was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, met with criticism when its design was unveiled in July, the Post reported.

The Post recently reported that some local officials and members of the LGBTQ+ community in the seaside town of about 3,000 residents expressed their concerns about erecting religious symbols in public spaces.

Ground was broken for the  $1.3 million pier in the summer of 2022 and it was mired in controversy from the very start.

The Post reported in August 2022 that Presbyterian Pastor Douglas Grote, who had lobbied state and local officials for divine intervention, likened the rebuild underwritten by the powerful Methodist Ministry Camp Meeting Association to “Christian bullying.”

“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 wrote in a guest column for NJ.com on Aug. 23, 2022.

New Jersey news station News12 reported in 2022 that the group’s COO, Jamie Jackson told News12, “We make no apology for that — we love the fact that it looks like a cross. This is a religious town founded as such in Ocean Grove and most people are excited, we will be able to have this pier shaped this way for these purposes.”

This past summer,  Badger  told The Post, “Our hope continues to be that people of varying points of view will enjoy the peace of a stroll out over the Atlantic on the new pier.”

According to Post report in the summer of 2022, the seaside community of 3,100 — located just south of Asbury Park — was founded in 1869 as a Methodist summer camp. The Camp Meeting Association owns all the land in Ocean Grove, including the beach, boardwalk and the area where the pier will be built. No government funding is required to rebuild the pier.

The group is not requiring anyone wishing to visit the pier when it is completed pay an entrance fee or have any sort of permit, the Post reported in 2022. Badger said the CMA did not receive complaints about the design during the public comment period and noted that the plan has been available online for three years.

In opposition to the pier and its religious overtones, Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, two longtime residents of Ocean Grove, told the Post: “Ocean Grove is a diverse community including LGBTQ residents and people of various religious affiliations, who are never asked for input about the OGCMA projects that impact all of us. … The problem is not solely the pier in the shape of the cross, but the total lack of regard for their tenants.”

“These same progressives would probably celebrate if the pier looked like a Crescent and Star, to them Christianity represents Republicans and conservatives, nothing to do with religion, these people are mentally ill” a local NJ resident told TJV in the summer of 2022.

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