Quotes from Tuesday's Interfaith Alliance panel on MTR

Holly Shipley holding up a map of mining sitesRev. Holly Shipley could think of no other way to describe it.

"To me, it's a plain, outright sin."

An up-close look at mountaintop removal brought a similar reaction from Dr. Matthew Sleeth. Standing on half of a mountain – the other half having been blasted away for its coal – "I was never so certain I was seeing hubris and sin."

Shipley, Sleeth, Mary Alice Pratt and Rev. David Miller were in Lexington June 26 to at a meeting of the Interfaith Alliance of the Bluegrass and shared their reflections about mountaintop removal. All had been on a mountaintop removal tour in early May.

Miller said his interest in the issue was prompted by students he works with at Union College in Barbourville who had attended a faith and justice conference. The important of being involved was reinforced when he drove past some mountaintop removal operations near Hazard.

"It seemed to be more than ugly," Miller recalled. "There was something of a spiritual nature going on."

"This is an interfaith issue because it is a universal struggle against a system of domination," Miller added.

Panel members "not only see what is happening but our connection to it," said Mary Alice Pratt.

Shipley recognized "my own sin of leaving a light on. I'm part of it, I admit it."

Sleeth agreed, and recognized the need for individual action as well as collective action.

"Ultimately the power lies in those who use energy. We vote when we turn the lights on."

Click here to learn more about KFTC's religious leaders tour of MTR sites

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