In order to reflect its “Christian mission,” the town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, will open a cross-shaped pier on Saturday. Religious leaders from all around the country have praised this action.
With reference to the new boardwalk, which replaces the previous pier that Hurricane Sandy obliterated in 2012, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association president Michael Badger said that the cross should still be “part of the American fabric… even in public settings.”
“We can’t hide our faith,” he said. “It’s something we live out day to day, and I would be concerned if there ever came a day when that wasn’t allowed.”
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association still owns the town, which was established as a Christian holiday destination by a group of Methodist pastors in 1869.
Badger claimed that he and his crew worked to construct the “best pier” imaginable, which happened to take the shape of a cross.
“It’s functional,” said Badger. “But it became obvious to us that it is in the shape of a cross — and how fitting it is for our Christian mission.”
“So this is just a culminating of a design process that sought to create an optimal pier — and we do see the blessing of God’s hand in this,” he said.
The new pier is around 500 feet long and 24 feet broad at the cross, and building on it has been donor-funded.
There have been many who have criticized the pier’s design. Several LGBTQ+ people are worried that the pier’s design “represents a renewed effort toward religious coercion,” according to The New Jersey Monthly.
Badger stated that “that’s not a sentiment that we agree [with], but there are some people who feel that, in this day and age, Christians should take the crosses and relocate them inside their buildings and close the doors.”
Leading preacher Franklin Graham commented on the initiative on Friday, telling his ten million Facebook fans that the action was commendable.
“The town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, is opening a beautiful new pier—and it’s in the shape of a cross!” wrote Graham. “What a great landmark for their town. They said they wanted to build the best pier possible, and that’s what they did.”