Religion News: Religious college calls for students to vote locally

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The chancellor of Liberty University has an ambitious plan to get the 10,500 students at the evangelical Christian college registered to vote in Virginia, a swing state that could be crucial to victory in the presidential election.

According to wire reports, Jerry Falwell Jr. said the key is to register Liberty students in Lynchburg, home to the conservative college his late father founded in 1971.

To make sure students don't have any excuses for not voting, Falwell has canceled classes on Election Day and has arranged for city buses to take students to the polls.

Many Virginia elections are decided by margins smaller than Liberty's student population, according to wire reports. In 2006, Republican George Allen lost his Senate seat to Democrat Jim Webb by about 9,300 votes.

Pope says tourists must not harm the planet

Pope Benedict XVI is urging tourists to respect the environment and local cultures, touching again on a theme that has earned him a reputation as the "green pope."

According to wire reports, Benedict says tourism depends greatly on pristine environments, and the industry is among the first to suffer from the "improper use" of natural resources and the "abuse of the culture" of local populations.

The pope made the comments last week at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome as he received two groups that promote sustainable tourism. The meeting marked World Tourism Day, which this year focuses on how the industry can respond to climate changes.

Survey Says

Compared with the nation as a whole, Alaska is home to a higher-than-average number of people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion.

More than 1 in 4 Alaskans (27 percent) describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular, compared with 16 percent among the adult population of the continental U.S.

In this respect, Alaska closely resembles some other Northwestern states, including Oregon (27 percent unaffiliated with any particular religion) and Washington (23 percent unaffiliated).

-- Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

Good Book?

“Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile” by Rob Bell and Don Golden.

From the back cover of the book: “It's a book about faith and fear, wealth and war, poverty, power, safety, terror, Bibles, bombs, and homeland insecurity.

“It's about empty empires and the truth that everybody's a priest, it's about oppression, occupation, and what happens when Christians support, animate and participate in the very things Jesus came to set people free from.

“It's about what it means to be a part of the church of Jesus in a world where some people fly planes into buildings while others pick up groceries in Hummers.”

Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. Bell teaches in a short film format called NOOMA. Don Golden is senior vice president of church engagement at World Relief in Baltimore, Md.

Get to Know … Saint Faustina

Mary Faustina Kowalska, commonly known as Saint Faustina, born Helena Kowalska (Aug. 25, 1905 – Oct. 5, 1938) was a Polish nun, visionary and mystic, now venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as a saint.

Sister Faustina reported having seen Christ in purgatory, and having seen and spoken to Jesus and Mary several times. She wrote that Jesus revealed to her her purpose: to spread the devotion of the Mercy of God.

When the future Pope John Paul II became Archbishop of Krakow, a new investigation into the life and diary of Faustina was launched. Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, John Paul II's successor as archbishop of Krakow, said that Faustina "reminds us of the gospel we had forgotten."

Faustina was beatified April 18, 1993, and canonized on April 30, 2000. The fact that her Vatican biography directly quotes some of her conversations with Jesus distinguishes her among the many reported visions of Jesus and Mary.

The Word

Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish holiday commonly referred to as the "Jewish New Year." It is the first of the High Holidays, which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur.

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Colombia

Roman Catholic: 90 percent

Other: 10 percent

-- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service