Ocean Grove, NJ Ś September 1, 2009
As the summer chills to a close here, I received the sad news that the ACLU has turned down my petition to challenge an organization that accepts taxpayer money but denies beach access based on religious beliefs.
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (OGCMA), a religious ministry whose trustees must all be members of the United Methodist Church, receives an annual $500,000 taxpayer largesse in the form of a New Jersey open space tax exemption.
For decades they have closed the beach to all on summer Sunday mornings during their worship services.
No, it's not just no lifeguards on duty. They literally rope off the beach. No one is allowed on the sand or near the water.