NJ Religious Group Accused of ‘Christian Bullying’ for Trying to Build Cross-Shaped Pier on Land It Owns

NJ Religious Group Accused of ‘Christian Bullying’ for Trying to Build Cross-Shaped Pier on Land It Owns By  for Faith Wire

A New Jersey religious community that has been in operation since 1869 is rebuilding a beach pier with its boardwalk in the shape of a cross, prompting backlash from the local LGBTQ community.

NJ.com reports the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist ministry, is replacing a pier that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  The end of the pier is t-shaped, resembling a cross with north and south-facing wings, similar to a pier at Coney Island.

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“We make no apology for that, we love the fact that it looks like a cross,” Camp Meeting Association COO Jamie Jackson told News 12 New Jersey. “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.”

“We’ve added the extensions north and south to create opportunities for better life saving, weather stations, lightning detection,” Jackson explained.

Ocean Grove is a small seaside community of almost 3,000 residents, located south of Asbury Park. Ocean Grove is not a town, but a small section of Neptune Township, set aside with a unique charter, according to NJ.com.

Founded more than 150 years ago as a religious retreat, the area was governed by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for a century until the New Jersey Supreme Court declared the association’s charter unconstitutional.

However, the association still owns all of the land. When buying a home in Ocean Grove, residents must sign a land-lease agreement with the camp. This means while residents and businesses can own buildings in Ocean Grove, the Methodist group owns the land, according to NJ.com.

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