Religion News: Live nativity displayed in Washington, D.C.

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

A group of people traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to set up a living nativity scene to promote Christianity during the Christmas season.

Faith and Action and the Christian Defense Coalition said in a release they believe public expressions of faith are increasingly met with hostility. The groups therefore want to embrace their religious freedom to demonstrate.

The nativity scene in front of the Supreme Court building included Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, angels, shepherds and the Wise Men. Organizers said the display aims to reveal the powerful religious message of Christmas.

Man plans marathon swim to benefit chaplaincy

William Dyke Justin has finished endurance swims before, but he’s looking to break his own record with a 24-hour swim to benefit New Bridge Community Chaplaincy in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Looking to raise $15,000, Justin, 56, will swim 31.78 miles on Dec. 18 at the aquatic center at Lake Superior State University. His previous longest swim was a 30-mile effort in 2004 to benefit an area youth program.

New Bridge Community Chaplaincy is a non-profit organization that helps families and individuals cope with the struggles of life. Follow Justin’s training blog at

Survey Says

A majority – 69 percent – of the public views the possibility that the government might get too involved in religious organizations as an important concern.

A smaller but still sizeable majority (60 percent) views the idea that people who receive help from faith-based groups might be forced to take part in religious practices as an important concern.

-- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Good Book?

“Leaning into God When Life Is Pushing You Away” by Robert Anthony Schuller and William Kruidenier

Robert A. Schuller explores the various ways individuals lose or experience interference with their connection to God.

He explains that emotions such as shame, regret, fear and disappointment can stand in the way of the intimate association God wants.

The good news is there are many ways to re-establish a dynamic connection with him. Schuller calls these "Connection Corrections" and leads readers through identifying communication barriers and how to break them.

Each chapter delves into the reasons readers fail to connect with God, how to begin repairing the broken wires, and the life-altering benefits of restoring a positive, power-filled relationship with God.

Get to Know … Huston Smith

Huston Smith, 90, is a religious author and scholar whose book “The World’s Religions” is frequently used as an introduction to comparative religion studies.

Born in China to Methodist missionaries, he moved to the U.S. after 17 years. He was interested in mysticism, and has studied and practiced Vedanta Hinduism, Zen Buddhism and Sufism.

Currently a visiting professor of religious studies at the University of California-Berkeley, Smith also taught at the Universities of Colorado, Washington University in St. Louis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Syracuse University.

Smith’s book “Cleansing the Doors of Perception” addressed the Harvard Project’s experiments with psychoactive substances used in a spiritual context – a project led by Timothy Leary.

In addition to his books, Smith has produced series for public television, as well as several films.

The Word

Eisegesis: The process of taking a preconceived belief and interpreting a biblical passage in a way that supports that belief. --

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of British Virgin Islands

Protestant: 86 percent (Methodist: 33 percent, Anglican: 17 percent, Church of God: 9 percent, Seventh-Day Adventist: 6 percent, Baptist: 4 percent, Jehovah's Witnesses: 2 percent, other: 15 percent)

Roman Catholic: 10 percent

Other: 2 percent

None: 2 percent

-- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service