Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Over the past few weeks, black crosses have appeared in various locations around the country, including coal mines and energy meetings. Even the White House became a target. After a march from Freedom Plaza and a rally at Lafayette Park, more than 100 staged a sit-in in front of the White House to demand President Obama end mountaintop mining. Approximately 100 people from the group, called The Black Cross Alliance, were arrested when they refused orders from U.S. Park Police to vacate the sidewalk.

Why all the hubbub? These people have displayed a negative symbol of a black cross around the nation, including our national capitol. In some ways they remind me of the cross burnings of the South. Cross burners sought to uphold their own twisted brand of justice, while abusing the rights of thousands of blacks. The same group of people who were victimized by the KKK are the victims in the energy debates of our day - poor blacks. The Black Cross Alliance shackles people’s hopes and living standards. They make it harder for people to heat and cool their homes, pay their rent and mortgage, afford a car or medical treatment.

The issue is the radical green community’s insistence on raising the cost of energy for everyone in order to force conservation. Further, they ignore the economic war that radical environmentalists are waging on the finances of the poorest of the poor in our culture by dramatically raising their energy costs. In fact, this is tantamount to levying a regressive tax on the poor.

Let’s start with the dirtiest of fuels. Coal has been mined in the United States for centuries. Our economy and way of life has been supported directly by coal without protest from any group. Only 10% of America’s coal supply is mined from the tops of mountains. Let’s then look at oil. We are currently still dependent upon foreign oil when there is plenty of oil within the United States if we chose to drill for it. It has saddened to see how the Gulf Goast has been jeopardized environmentally, economically, and socially because of current off-shore drilling regulations and approaches. Washington needs to make better decisions about how we transition to cleaner energy sources.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.