Jonathan V. Last
November 22, 2013
So despite everything, the residents of Ocean Grove counted themselves lucky. That is, until they had to deal with the federal government. Ocean Grove has been denied rebuilding funds from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In one sense, this denial is part of the Obama administration’s quiet campaign against religion in the public square. Yet the story of FEMA’s conflict with Ocean Grove is about more than just Barack Obama. It’s the story of modern America’s rebellion against its religious foundations, rendered in miniature.
In the late 1860s, a Methodist preacher named William Osborn assembled a small group of pastors from around Philadelphia to purchase a patch of land at the shore in central New Jersey. On July 31, 1869, they christened their one square mile of paradise “Ocean Grove.”