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Coal Debate Is Not About The Will of God

I have written a good number of articles over the last few years about the debate over mountaintop removal coal mining. I’ve given some positive coverage to protesters demonstrating against mountaintop removal.

This morning, however, I find that I can’t give that positive coverage. Yesterday morning, there was a protest that I cannot bring myself to sympathize with.

god coal protesterBefore dawn, Roland Micklem and three other activists chained themselves to a guard gate, preventing people at the Massey Energy company from going to work at a regional office. “As far as I’m concerned it is destroying God’s creation, which I think is a sin,” Micklem said, explaining why he was taking part in the protest. He continued, “I am exercising a spiritual obligation as a steward of Creation. It was not God’s intent that these mountains be destroyed to enhance the wealth of a few individuals.”

How does Roland Micklem know whether it is the intent of God that the Appalachians be destroyed for the sake of mining coal? No one has yet even gathered any objective evidence that can confirm that God exists at all, much less any proof of what God’s political opinions about coal mining are. Roland Micklem may think that he knows the will of God, but what he claims as God’s intent is really his own.

That’s a dangerous confusion, one which was shared by the Islamic revolution in Iran, George W. Bush in the White House, and Scott Roeder as he strode forward with righteous anger to murder George Tiller. It’s the same confusion that led Jose Mar Flores Pereira to hijack an airplane over Mexico yesterday. Certainty about the will of God seems to lead toward a kind of extremism which disregards other people’s rights.

Micklem suggests that mountaintop coal mining is a bad idea because it is a sin, a defiance of the will of God. If we accept this kind of political reasoning, then we have to accept that any kook can come along, declare a special understanding of God’s will, and demand that the law be twisted in order to comply with that understanding. If Roland Micklem is allowed to have his way, what’s to stop Creationists from imposing their understanding of God’s will, and outlawing the teaching of evolution?

Public policy on coal mining is not a religious affair, and it must not be settled through a battle of faiths. I support people who protest mountaintop coal mining, but only when the motivation and the methods of their protest are based on reason and fact.

6 thoughts on “Coal Debate Is Not About The Will of God”

  1. Jacob says:

    Funny. There are dozens of articles on this site about how Christians must not care about the enviornment because they are never part of the protest. You find one who is part of the protest, one who is doing exactly what you say Christians are not doing and the article is a ‘look at this idiot’ article…

    1. Green Man says:

      Jacob, you’re mischaracterizing both aspects. No article here said Christians are “never” part of an environmentalist protest. Also, it isn’t the religious identity of this particular protester, but the religious arguments he makes, that are criticized in this article.

  2. ReMarker says:

    I’m with you Green Man. Reason and facts rule!!!

  3. Tom says:

    @ReMarker: Uh, not with the wing nut Republicans – they’re anti-science, fundamentalist (ie. non-critical thinking), Bible mischaracterizing, out and out lying, loudly yelling, corporate-funded, and for the most part anti-self interest (without realizing it). It’s rah-rah, hoo-ray for our troops (no matter how wrong headed the policy) all the time, anti-abortion but pro death penalty (go figure), me first, black and white on every issue (no grey areas for them), anti-immigrant, anti-gay (anti-anything that isn’t like them actually), gun toting, might makes right, throwbacks to the segregated, sexist days of the past. Any one who disagrees with them is a anti-Amurikan, fascist, socialist, treasonous librul and should move to some other country (despite the overwhelming election of Obama). They’re as mad as i was when Bush was “elected” TWICE to the detriment of the former U.S.A.

    1. ReMarker says:

      Yep yep Mr. Tom. My scentiments too.

      When I said, “reason and facts rule”, I was trying to be “contemporary” in refering to Green Man’s, “but only when the motivation and the methods of their protest are based on reason and fact”. I surely didn’t mean to imply the
      psuedo-Christian Republicans had a mastery of reason or identifying facts.

  4. Kevin says:

    ha ha that man does not know his bible!1

    God told us to dominate the Earth and make it bring forth what we need to make more copies of ourselves so we would have more people to worship Him.

    God WANTS us to destroy His creation so that we can build churches and have lavish Bible-reading ceremonies. I mean we are not doing that in MUD HUTS people!

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