Doing the Lord's Work, according to the Kentucky Coal Association (Isaiah 40:4)

A few years ago the Kentucky Coal Association got wind that “some religious leaders are railing against mountaintop mining and, as we hear it, invoking the Almighty to bring an end to the mining method.” We suspect the KCA would rather Christians stay inside their church buildings enjoying their stained-glass windows and contemplating the after-life, and leave the nitty-gritty business of running the world to the experts, namely those who know how to make money.

But not to be outdone, the KCA has come up with its own scriptural backing that proves mountaintop mining is biblically mandated.  Yes, blasting mountains down and filling valleys up is in the Bible. So as the tried and true saying goes, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”  KCA quotes Isaiah 40:4-5.  Although not stated by the KCA, this same scripture is also quoted by the fiery prophet John the Baptist (Luke 3:4-6).  Even Martin Luther King, jr. quoted the same scripture in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. KCA has a dream, too.

The KCA posts this following piece on religion and its profound biblical exegesis about half-way down its “Mountain Top Mining Issues & Responses” section of its website, http://www.kentuckycoal.org/index.cfm?pageToken=mtmIssues

Mixing Religion and Mining

Under most circumstances, we are of the opinion religion should not play a role in political debate.  Recently, however, we’ve learned some religious leaders are railing against mountaintop mining and, as we hear it, invoking the Almighty to bring an end to the mining method.

While these folks are certainly within their right to do so, it made us wonder, should we call for the same help to continue this mining practice, which is, after all, a temporary use of the land?  Mountaintop mining employs thousands of people and makes it possible for them to provide for their households, (see 1 Timothy 5:8, below).  It also can spur economic development, creating even more jobs in areas where people desperately need work.  The reclaimed flat land is and can be used for building factories, schools, recreational and tourist-based businesses, and housing in areas where flat land is a premium and land development costs very high.

We, therefore, even though reluctant to inject them into the debate, enter this scriptural citations for reflection:

“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.  Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all mankind shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Isaiah 40:4-5, (New American Bible)

–Allen Johnson