The tide goes out on religious liberty Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
Ocean Grove, N.J.
When Sandy swept across the Jersey shore in October 2012, the coastal town of Ocean Grove was spared the worst. Sure, half the town’s boardwalk was destroyed and its pier was swept out to sea. And yes, sand, trees, and concrete benches were carried two blocks inland, while entire buildings were picked up and moved across town. But Ocean Grove’s crown jewel, an ornate and beautiful 6,250-seat auditorium, built in 1894, survived. It only had a third of its roof torn off. The auditorium’s foundation was intact and, most important, its 11,561-pipe organ was unscathed by the wind and rain.
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.”
At first, it was just a campsite—the preachers and their flocks pitched tents during the summer in order to get away from the bustle of the city. That December they organized a government for the nascent community, setting up the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the Northeast of the 1860s, this was a commonplace: Camp meeting associations stemming from the Second Great Awakening were formed in Martha’s Vineyard, Willimantic, Conn., Merrick, N.Y., and elsewhere.
Ocean Grove’s camp meeting was particularly successful. In 1870 the New Jersey state legislature granted the Camp Meeting Association a charter, giving them the power to hold and maintain their property, establish infrastructure, and even create a police force—all in the name of setting their land aside for “the perpetual worship of Jesus Christ.” It was, as they say, a different time.
Moving beyond simple campsites, the association set about building a town. They mapped a network of streets and plots of land. They dug wells and eventually ran electric lines. In 1894, the Great Auditorium, a grand Victorian building at the center of town, was erected in just 92 days. Throughout this period, Ocean Grove thrived. Before he was elected president, James Garfield summered there. Later, Ulysses Grant would be a frequent visitor, often popping in to see his sister, who lived in town.
One of the peculiar laws the town established was a prohibition against the presence of horses (and later cars) anywhere on the streets, parked or moving, from sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday. This ban was absolute. One Sunday in 1875, President Grant arrived by carriage and, upon reaching the gates at the town limits, tethered his horses and walked the remaining half mile to his sister’s house. (Grant was so fond of Ocean Grove that his final public appearance took place at the Great Auditorium, during a reunion of Civil War Army chaplains. As Wayne Bell recounts in his history of the town, Grant was introduced to speak by one Dr. A. J. Palmer, who concluded his remarks by declaring that “no combination of Wall Street sharpers shall tarnish the luster of my old commander’s fame for me.” Bell reports, “Grant was too overcome with emotion to acknowledge the thunderous ovation and retired without a word.”)
In 1879, the state created a new township, called Neptune, and placed Ocean Grove within its boundaries. But while Ocean Grove paid some taxes to Neptune, they continued to provide their own city services and retained independent authority over local laws.
Yet eventually, Ocean Grove was caught in the church-state tensions that were building between elected officials and the judiciary. In 1920, the state legislature incorporated Ocean Grove as a fully independent borough. But a year later, the state court of appeals held that this was unconstitutional because of Ocean Grove’s religiously based ordinances. The municipality was dissolved, and Ocean Grove reverted to being a semi-autonomous part of Neptune township, with the Camp Meeting Association still in charge of governance.
Populists versus elitists in the Republican party.Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By FRED BARNES
The least interesting thing that happened in the odd-year election was Chris Christie’s reelection as governor of New Jersey. It was like a football game between Alabama and Vassar: A Republican governor with extraordinary political skills and an impressive record in his first term crushes a throwaway Democratic challenger in a blue state. This was totally expected, thus devoid of excitement or drama.
The New Jersey governor muscles his way to the front of the pack, for now. Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Morris Plains, N.J.
On election eve, Chris Christie has come home to rally a few hundred supporters in Morris County, the place where he was first elected and now lives with his wife, Mary Pat, and their four children.
Will the GOP be ready?Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By JAY COST
The governorship of Virginia has been held by some of the most eminent men in American history: Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Randolph, Henry Lee, James Monroe. And now, Terry McAuliffe will sit in their chair. Depressing?
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:15 PM, Nov 6, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes recapping the 2013 elections in Virginia, New Jersey, New York and across the country.
4:41 PM, Nov 5, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Republican, is on his way to winning big in his bid for reelection Tuesday, and there's already talk he may be on his way to running for president in three years. Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper, Christie argued he's not a moderate as he's sometimes portrayed.
1:01 PM, Oct 31, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New Jersey governor Chris Christie is practically coasting toward reelection next week. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls show a race that isn't even close. On Tuesday, just a year after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, the Republican spoke in Sea Bright, on the Jersey shore, about the work of his citizens to rebuild the communities devastated by the storm. Watch video of Christie's remarks below:
12:18 PM, Oct 17, 2013 • By JEFFREY BELL
In his concession speech to Senator-elect Cory Booker in Bridgewater, N.J., on election night, Steve Lonegan announced that he would retire from elective politics and enter private business, rather than mount another U.S. Senate race against Booker next year or return to his post as New Jersey director of Americans for Prosperity, a high-profile position he held from 2007 until mid-2013. Whether or not he holds to this withdrawal, conservatives not just in New Jersey but the nation owe Lonegan a debt of gratitude for the underfunded yet exciting campaign he waged, and what it suggests for the future of Republican politics.
9:43 PM, Oct 16, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, has defeated Republican Steve Lonegan in New Jersey's special election for the U.S. Senate Wednesday night. The Associated Press called the race for Booker just after 9:30 pm.
With 58 percent of precincts reporting, Booker leads Lonegan in the vote, 56 percent to 43 percent.
Yes. Oct 14, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 06 • By SCOTT BEYER
A five-minute tirade recently unleashed by a Newark resident against Mayor Cory Booker may not have surprised anyone had it remained a local TV news clip. “We are hurting here, this crime is killing us, blood runs on our streets,” the woman moaned to a reporter, responding to a late-summer murder spree. “The sham that has been portrayed about this city, that we’re getting better . . . that is a lie!”
8:31 AM, Sep 18, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a plea for bipartisanship at building ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chris Christie said, "I may be the only damn Republican here."
"As I look around this room, at least among the elected officials, I may be the only damn Republican here. But, that’s ok. It’s alright," said Christie.
7:00 AM, Sep 12, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New Jersey governor Chris Christie launched his first general election campaign ad Thursday. The 30-second spot touts the Republican's achievements in his first term, including "four balanaced budgets," cuts to "wasteful spending," a property tax cap, and "the most education funding--ever." Watch the ad below:
The Christie campaign says the ad will air in both the New York and Philadelphia TV markets, with a $1.5 million buy over the next 10 days.
7:28 AM, Aug 14, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
To the surprise of nobody, Cory Booker cruised to victory in the New Jersey primary. He will almost certainly next win a general election and become a United State senator, a job that doesn't seem quite large enough for the man but, then, he is still young. Booker may soon be the junior senator from New Jersey but his real constituency is so very much larger, as CNN reports: