A mountain preacher said yesterday that a local radio station banned his broadcast devotional services supporting the striking United Mine Workers on grounds they were "inflammatory and inciting to riot."
The Rev. Don Prange, head of a 12 member Church of the People in the Tiny mountain town of Nora, 25 miles northeast of here, said station WDIC on Dickenson County's Big Ridge canceled the daily 15-minute broadcast Wednesday and also refused to sell the Church any advertising time.
Station manager Larry C. Sutherland refused to discuss the matter. "We're probably going to be in court over this situation, and I don't want to make any comment whatsoever," he said.
Prange, 46, said his first broadcast last Monday, one of a daily series by the Dickenson County Ministerial Association, dealt with reconciling oneself to God during Lent.
"Injustice can't be reconciled to God. If there are injustices in the [UMW proposed] contract, they can't be roconciled to God and any serious minded church person ought to be supporting the miners," Prange summed up.
His second broadcast, which led to the cancellation, discussed the strike issues, criticized President Carter's decision to invoke that Taft-Hartley Act and suggested that Carter seize the mines instead.
Prange said Sutherland then called him and said the broadcasts "did not fit the station's criteria of being devotional and inspirational and were inflammatory and inciting to riot. That's just ludicrous," Prange added.
Prange, who said he is ordained in the Missouri Synod of the United Lutheran Church, related that he set up the Church of the People, only one of its kind, in 1974. He called it a way of experiencing religious faith in an inclusive way to include social, economic an dpolitical issues."
An Arkansas native, Prage had been working in the mining country of southwest Virginia as a staff member of the ecumenical Commission on Education in Applachia when he decided to organize the church in Nora, a community which he described as a "collection" of 30 houses.
"Around here, folks aren't much for joining organizations, and the church is more of a daily process than just going to services on Sunday," he said.