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The Green Life: Preaching It: An Activist Reverend Takes on Mountaintop Removal

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April 08, 2010

Preaching It: An Activist Reverend Takes on Mountaintop Removal

Billy Talen A group best known for exorcising cash registers and preaching about the sin of shopping recently turned its attention to mountaintop-removal mining.

On Easter Sunday, the NYPD arrested Reverend Billy Talen, leader of the Church of Life After Shopping, for piling mounds of "murdered mountain mud" inside Chase Bank. Chase, according to Reverend Billy and others, financially supports mountaintop removal. Police arrested Talen shortly after he placed an Easter egg atop a "mountain" made from mud that the group recently obtained from West Virginia. The egg contained a message for the bank's CEO, imploring him to stop investing in removing mountains and start helping communities.

"When you start with such a general plea as 'Stop shopping,' your work can go in so many directions," says Reverend Billy on his site. "Now, mountaintop removal, the shopping for energy that murders citizens living on the streams below and poisons the air at great distancesnow this must be our cause."

The Easter action will be the first of many that target mountaintop removal, says Talen. On Sunday, April 18, the Church of Life After Shopping will hold a "Mountaintop Revival," complete with coal-themed songs and sermon, at New York's Highline Ballroom. 

--Jamie Hansen

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