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Moyers Mailbag
December 7, 2007

We like to hear from you to know what you're thinking of THE JOURNAL. So right now we want to share some of your comments that have had us talking.

Our interview with theologian James Cone explored thorny issues on race and religion in America. That struck a nerve.

JAMES CONE: Crucifixion and lynchings are symbols. They are symbols of the power of domination. They are symbols of the destruction of people's humanity.

Here's what some of you had to say:

Bill Moyers' interview with Dr. Cone was a welcome, life-renewing experience. As a preacher, I like to listen to other preachers - when he or she tells the truth...Uniting the cross and the lynching tree was such a new truth. Our reluctance as a nation to engage in such conversations hinders our growth, our healing and we as a nation are certainly the poorer because of it.
Rev. Dr. Mike Jones

...The whole story of lynching should have mentioned that a significant percentage of persons lynched in America were white. Once you know this fact you realize lynching was a more complex story, not just race, not just black and white.
Robb Moffett

I will surely teach my children of the slaves of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, of the lynchings, of the extermination of Native Americans, and of all the other barbaric acts performed throughout American history...What I will not tell them, however, is that they are of a certain group that either must self-flagellate itself for the crimes of humanity's past or demand from others atonement ... They will learn to demand justice and dignity rather than pity for all people.
J. Ginn

Excellent discussion. One that quite frankly has been going on for years among black people...for America to truly be great and live up to its ideas it has to face its sordid past and realize that actions done in the past still reverberate with us today.
Nashid Habeeb

We reported on Christians invoking faith to help save the mountains of Appalachia from destructive mining practices.

JUDY BONDS: Never doubt that this is a battle between good and evil! And now is not a time to be silent. Now is a time to stand up and be counted for. The earth is God's body!

West Virginia Mountaintop My uncle was a coal miner and later owned mines. I know the value of coal to the mountain economy. But the pollution of the water and the destruction of the land is too high a price to pay. President Bush has once again allied himself with industry and the wealthy while he ignores the land and the people.
Charles May

Believers and non-believers have this in common: we all breathe the Earth's air, we all need the Earth's water...I do not live near the source of such degradation of the Earth, but I weep for those subjected...And I will fight for their rights with my vote and my dollars. Alone we may struggle. United we may stand and win.
P. Jewell

And our discussion with best-selling historian Thomas Cahill provoked a powerful, thoughtful response on the blogs. He told us of Dominique Green's last days on death row and questioned the morality of capital punishment...

THOMAS CAHILL: There are certain people in our society that we are willing to offer up. And not others. And they're the people who have no power. We're not killing Dominique Green because he committed murder. We're killing Dominique Green because we want to kill somebody.

Thomas Cahill, photo by Robin Holland
Do you feel anything for the victim or the victim's family? My niece was murdered May 19, 2007...My niece received a death sentence, without a trial and all who loved her, including her nine year old son, must serve a life sentence of being deprived of our precious loved one.

In order to maintain the death penalty for people who have actually done capital crimes, how many innocent people are we willing to execute? If you are a death penalty supporter, what is your answer? Are you willing to tolerate the execution of one innocent person in in a hundred, one in a thousand, or one in a million?
Ed Guerrant

Keep telling us what you think of our show — by mail, e-mail, or on the blog at and we'll keep reading.

Published on December 7, 2007

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Related Media:
James H. Cone
With the noose and the lynching tree entering the national discussion in the wake of recent news events, Bill Moyers interviews theologian James Cone about how these powerful images relate to the symbol of the cross and how they signify both tragedy and triumph.

Mountaintop Mining
As proposed new rules may allow coal companies to expand mountain top removal mining, Bill Moyers Journal reports on local evangelical Christians who are turning to their faith to help save the earth.

Thomas Cahill
Bill Moyers interviews best-selling historian Thomas Cahill in a far ranging interview that takes viewers from the Coliseum in Rome to death row in Texas and examines what our attitudes toward cruelty can tell us about who we are as Americans.

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Explore the evolution of campaign ads and get tools to fact-check the candidates.

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