On the grounds of the state capitol in Charleston, W.Va., more than 150 people gathered Thursday to pray beside the West Virginia Coal Miner memorial statue. The occasion for the service was not the loss of lives from a dangerous line of work, but the potential loss of life-saving health benefits for 23,000 miners and their dependents.
Later in April, he and members of Interfaith Worker Justice and Religious Leaders for Coalfield Justice held a fact-finding mission at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Charleston to learn more about the situation and hear from the miners themselves.
Among those speaking was David McCloud, a retired miner and Free Will Baptist preacher. Breaking from his faith's usual avoidance of political issues, McCloud said he felt "the Lord may have called me to open my big mouth" and speak out against Peabody.