Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baptist divinity-school dean: Mountaintop-removal coal mining 'is just plain wrong'

The dean of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity tells his fellow Baptists in a column for Associated Baptist Press this week, "Some things are just plain wrong. And mountaintop removal (MTR) is just plain wrong. It may have approval from certain corporations; Congress, local municipalities and some mountain folk, but it is still just plain wrong. Indeed, MTR is fast becoming a ghastly symptom of what is wrong with America: an abiding loss of identity politically, economically, communally and spiritually."

Dean Bill Leonard, left, cites a senior thesis by "a son of Appalachia," Wake graduate student Greg Griffey; Uneven Ground, the recent book by renowned Appalachian historian Ron Eller about the region's economy since 1945; and the 1995 book Appalachian Mountain Religion by Deborah McCauley, who wrote: "The mountainous terrain that is the Appalachian region has had enormous impact on its character, its texture, and its religious values."

Leonard writes, "Building on the work of Eller and McCauley, Greg Griffey insists that: 'By destroying the mountainous landscape of a geographical region formed millions of years ago, we are now effacing, and thereby choosing to forget, storied identities that have beckoned habitation, provided navigation through space, and evoked senses of rootedness in the mountains for thousands of years.' . . . These studies suggest that a dramatic symbol of the loss of American regional and religious identity is found in the environment." (Read more)

Leonard and Eller, a history professor at the University of Kentucky, are members of the national advisory board of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which is based at UK and publishes The Rural Blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad the Baptists (I am one) are getting onboard. I was pleasantly surprised the Methodist church I go to since I've been here at Lake Norman actually devoted an entire Sunday service to preserving the environment. I wrote an article which appeared on the called The Preacher and Mountaintop Removal. Where I come from in West Virginia the Preacher may have more power than the politicians.