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Posts tagged ‘Liberty’

Liberty University Stands by High Schooler Arrested on Gun Charges.


Cole Withrow, Hannah Walker
Cole Withrow with his sister, Hannah Walker, a 2012 graduate of Liberty University who now works for Liberty University Online.

Liberty University received national media attention after Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. expressed his support for—and promised a scholarship to—Cole Withrow, a North Carolina high school senior who was arrested on April 29 for accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck in his high school‘s parking lot.

This bold stance by the university has garnered a strong show of support from all across the country. Emails and messages have been flooding in to members of administration from people pleased to see Liberty standing up for Withrow. Some have even expressed interest in financially giving to the university to create or support scholarship funds for students like Withrow.

Falwell was traveling in North Carolina when he saw Withrow’s story on a local news broadcast. He noticed Withrow was wearing a Liberty T-shirt and immediately reached out to him. Falwell learned Withrow was interested in attending Liberty but could not afford it. Falwell told him he would do whatever it takes to ensure Withrow can attend Liberty.

Falwell later learned Withrow’s sister, Hannah Walker, is a 2012 graduate of Liberty and currently works for Liberty University Online Student Accounts.

Walker says her brother is “a very caring person” who works hard and “follows through with his commitments.” He is an honors student and an Eagle Scout, and Walker says he is very close to his classmates. Withrow is an avid outdoorsman and has been hunting since he was young.

“The worst part about [the arrest] is he was trying to do the right thing,” Walker says.

As soon as Withrow realized the gun was still in his truck—he had just taken it on a hunting trip over the weekend—he immediately called his mother from the school’s office, Walker says.

Reports indicate that a school official overheard Withrow’s phone call and notified police, who arrested him before his mother arrived.

Now facing a felony charge on his record, Withrow feared he would lose his scholarships and be unable to attend college. “It weighed really hard on him,” Walker says.

She said when Falwell reached out to her brother, and then to herself, it was a great encouragement and an answer to prayer.

“Just the fact that he recognized it meant a lot to my family. But for him to reach out the way that he did and call Cole … we were so overwhelmed, both of my parents were emotional and excited. It was very much of a weight lifted off,” she says.

Walker adds that Withrow always wanted to go to Liberty—he loved coming to campus events with her—but knew it would likely not be possible because of finances.

For Falwell to contact Withrow and to pledge support for him to attend Liberty, Walker says, is “unbelievable.”

“It is definitely a blessing,” she says. “We are honored that he reached out to us. I know that Cole is really excited. The opportunity that Liberty has is something that separates Liberty from other schools. I have grown so much as a person, so much spiritually being here, and I could want nothing more for my brother—to see God work in his life. I am not the same person I was four years ago. I cannot wait to see how Cole grows and transforms as a person in his experience here too.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

DREW MENARD/LIBERTY UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE

Kirk Cameron Filming New Movie With Liberty University.


 

Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron (Cali Lowdermilk (Liberty University))

A partnership between actor/producer Kirk Cameron and Liberty University was announced during “Praise the Lord” on TBN, hosted by Cameron and featuring Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. as a special guest.

The university will partner with Cameron in his new film releasing later this year. The film will answer life’s toughest questions about human suffering.

Cameron, who first visited Liberty as a Convocation speaker last fall and returned last month to meet with film school students, said his goals match up with Liberty’s.

“You’re making some big kingdom moves to produce Champions for Christ and send them into the culture,” he told Falwell. “That’s what I want to do, and so we’re likeminded in that way. I want to make films that represent Gospel values, I want to impact families, I want to impact culture.”

Falwell commended Cameron for his work on the film.

“You’re using your platform as an actor to answer those questions, because I think there are so many young people who will listen to you, who will watch the new movie you’re making that wouldn’t go to church, that wouldn’t sit in a Christian school classroom,” Falwell said. “I think you’re touching people who can’t be reached any other way … that’s why we decided to help you with it. We’re just so impressed and proud of what you’re doing that we want to help.”

Cameron said the film will answer “the kind of questions that can wreck people’s faith,” and Liberty is the perfect partner in the endeavor.

“You have such a strong philosophy department, religion department, seminary, so I know that by partnering with Liberty, you can back up a 90-minute film with classes, and worldview teaching that will send people out in the world who can answer these questions. The truth is nobody else can answer that but the church.”

He said he was also excited to learn Liberty had a new film school, with state-of-the-art equipment.

“You’ve got a full-blown film school that blows away most post-production and film production facilities. I’ve been there; you’ve got mixing equipment, and you’ve got sound stages, and you’ve got theaters and you’ve got cameras that people drool over having. If you’re a film student and you’re looking for a university to go to to break into Hollywood without losing your soul, Liberty University is the place you need to look to.”

The interview also focused on the continued blessings at Liberty—the world’s largest Christian university and the seventh largest university in the nation—as well as Falwell’s experience growing up hearing his father’s vision and then seeing it fulfilled, and how God has prepared him for the work he is doing now.

A clip was shown featuring Liberty’s academic, athletics, and spiritual programs. Cameron’s movie trailer was also shown.

Falwell called Cameron “an example of the type of graduate that Liberty is trying to turn out.”

“You’re using your profession to impact the culture, and that’s what we’re trying to do in every profession,” Falwell said. “So that’s why we decided to partner with you on your newest project. We’re trying to create tens of thousands of Kirk Camerons and put them out there.”

The program was taped last week at TBN headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif. The two-hour show often features celebrity guests and popular religious leaders. It has aired each weeknight for more than 30 years. TBN is the world’s largest Christian television outreach, with more than 20 international networks reaching every major continent and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

MITZI BIBLE/LIBERTY UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE

Glenn Beck Taps Liberty University Law Student for News Reporter.


Brian Bosché
Brian Bosché (David Duncan/ Liberty University)

Brian Bosché, a student at Liberty University School of Law, recently accepted an offer with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV to be a face of the new For the Record, what Beck hopes to be an edgy news program aimed at younger viewers.

Upon completion of his law degree in May, Bosché will begin with TheBlaze as a reporter in June.

“It is an amazing opportunity for a Liberty law student to land such a strategically influential job as a media reporter and correspondent for a national newscast with Glenn Beck’s network,” said Mat Staver, dean of Liberty’s law school. “Immediately upon graduation Brian Bosché will be influencing the country through investigative and documentary news stories. I could not be more proud of Brian.”

Bosché, a native of nearby Roanoke, Va., will become the first Liberty law graduate to work in a major television broadcasting position. He is also a rarity among law students, as he attended Liberty in hopes of pursuing journalism rather than practicing law.

Bosché said he is passionate about politics and the Constitution and decided to pursue a law degree at Liberty to add another skillset to his arsenal. A law degree, he said, is “a great tool” when interviewing politicians and other individuals with legal training.

He called his experience at Liberty “incredible.”

“I went to Liberty—and applied only to Liberty—because of the worldview aspect,” Bosché said. “I wanted to come here because I wanted my legal education to be in line with my Christian worldview. They have a different method of teaching here at the law school. It’s a very foundational approach and it’s constitutionally based.”

The opportunity with TheBlaze came as a surprise to Bosché, who studied broadcasting at Virginia Tech before coming to Liberty to study law. In early December a former producer of Bosché’s, who now works for TheBlaze, reached out to him. The producer remembered Bosché’s work out of more than 200 other undergraduate students he had worked with while producing a national news website targeted to college students.

He set up a preliminary interview with Bosché at TheBlaze TV’s Columbus, Ohio, offices soon after and at the end of January, the network flew him to New York for an interview with Joel Cheatwood, TheBlaze’s president and chief creative officer. Bosché was offered the position 24 hours later.

“It is all very humbling … the fact that I was even (considered),” Bosché said. “It’s humbling to come right out of law school and go do something that has widespread potential to be a successful television network.”

Bosché said this is a dream job for him; he has wanted to be a television journalist since high school, when he did morning announcements and worked with a local news station to sharpen his skills. In college he did whatever he could to gain experience, including online broadcasting, interning locally and at the NBC News Washington Bureau.

Beck recently announced plans to expand TheBlaze into “a cutting-edge international news network.” He plans to use programs, such as “For the Record,” to re-establish hard-nosed, investigative journalism, which he feels is no longer the standard in television news.

“‘For the Record’ will offer the hardline journalism we don’t see much of anymore,” Bosché said. “We don’t get much depth anymore with television news … I think that we are missing out on that informed citizenry we really need when we are talking about voting and decisions for our country.”

TheBlaze began as a 24-hour online news and entertainment network, and last fall it was launched on DISH Network, Channel 212. Beck has high aspirations for the network and hopes to see it continue to expand, in spite of its critics, and become competitive with other major news networks.

Beck has a good relationship with Liberty because of his no-nonsense approach to defending traditional, conservative values. He was the keynote speaker at Liberty’s 2010 Commencement. Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. has appeared on Beck’s television show to discuss topics such as social justice and the role of religion in today’s society.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Liberty Alumnus Says His Education Was Good Foundation for FBI Career.


Jeffrey Mazanec
Jeffrey Mazanec (Liberty University)

Liberty University alumnus Jeffrey Mazanec (’85) was recently named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division. As the chief executive officer of an FBI field office, he oversees a staff of 200 who protect America from the threat of fraud, terrorism, espionage, and other national crimes.

Mazanec has an extensive career with the FBI, working as a field officer and in several leadership positions, including a detail with the CIA for the Counterterrorism Center after the 9/11 attacks.

During his time at Liberty, he pursued a broad degree in liberal arts and history, which he said provided a foundation on which to build a career in law and government.

“I was exposed to great courses in constitutional law, history, political science and political philosophy and continued to develop a love of learning throughout my years at Liberty. The professors and the curriculum helped me to grow a sense of wonder and fascination for the world,” Mazenec said.

Like many college students, he had specific interests and studied them in his undergraduate years but did not have a particular career in mind.

“I had no idea where my interests would eventually lead, although I always admired the FBI and its work. Entering college, I began to pursue a career in law,” Mazanec said.

He was involved in many extracurricular activities at Liberty, including leadership in the Student Government Association, the debate team and the pre-law society. After his sophomore year, Mazanec participated in an internship in Washington, D.C., which he said inspired him to public service.

After he graduated from Liberty, he earned his Juris Doctor from the College of William & Mary.

Mazanec said having a Christian education “helped forge a worldview that prioritized what (I) really value and hold sacred,” and developed in him a “sincere appreciation for civilized society and the rule of law.”

“My education taught me that as I faced the pressures, decisions and difficulties of the daily working world, I could find strength in the Source of all strength and encouragement in God’s Word,” Mazanec said.

Since he graduated in 1985, Liberty has grown and built a more expansive government program for students. Established in the fall of 2004, the Helms School of Government offers 10 residential degree programs with specializations in politics and policy, international relations, pre-law, criminal justice, strategic and intelligence dtudies, as well as several minors. Degrees are also available with the convenience of an online education through Liberty University Online.

Mazanec encourages Liberty students to “pursue learning with passion and enthusiasm, learn to discover the interests, talents, and gifts” they have, and to “learn hard work with integrity.”

“Today’s society is overwhelmed with ethical confusion, laziness, without moral compasses, so we must be light and an inspiration. As Jesus said, ‘Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.’”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

BETHANY PICO/LIBERTY UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE

Pastor, Author Addresses Students on Overcoming Sin.


Dave Stone
Dave Stone (Liberty University)

Pastor Dave Stone spoke on how to win the struggle with sin during Liberty University Convocation on Monday. Stone is the senior pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., one of North America’s largest churches with 21,000 in attendance weekly. He is also the author of seven books, including his Faithful Families series.

Stone asked students, “Will you decide today that you will no longer be held hostage by the guilt of sins that God has already forgiven, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead?”

He encouraged students to evaluate their struggle with sin and offered three main points: sin is enticing, avoid it; sin gets worse, so confess it; and Christ offers forgiveness, accept it.

“You are the only one who knows of the struggles and temptations that are lurking beneath the surface and under the water,” Stone said. “But in your heart of hearts you have begun to dabble with things you could not control.”

He showed a short video about Taylor Storch, a 13-year-old girl who died in a skiing accident. Her father and mother, Todd and Tara Storch, donated her organs. Patricia Winters, a 39-year-old wife and mother, received Taylor’s heart in a transplant and is able to live a normal life again after suffering with a heart condition. The video showed the Storches meeting Winters for the first time and listening to Taylor’s heart beat in her body.

Stone used the story of a heart transplant to demonstrate the power of the gospel.

“God specializes in taking our sins and making something beautiful out of our lives. He banishes our sins as far as the East is from the West. He rebuilds, He restores, He redeems,” Stone said.

In addition to Stone’s message, John Strohman, an attorney from South Dakota, spoke during Convocation about how Jesus pardons our sin. Strohman has been involved with Liberty for several years; two of his daughters are students and he led a mission trip with Liberty students this past summer.

Strohman encouraged students to repent of their sin, recognizing the importance of accepting God’s grace. In addition to practicing law, Strohman has authored Application Commentary of the Gospel of Matthew.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE

9th Circuit: OSU Cannot Trash Free Speech.


The Liberty
(ADF)

In a stinging decision against Oregon State University, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled Tuesday that university officials violated the constitutionally protected freedoms of an independent student newspaper when they confiscated its bins and tossed them onto a trash heap.

The court said it had “little trouble finding constitutional violations” and that the university’s unwritten policy that led to trashing the newspaper’s bins “materialized like a bolt out of the blue.”

“Universities should encourage, not shut down, the free exchange of ideas,” says Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel Heather Gebelin Hacker. “Students don’t deserve censorship for having viewpoints that university officials don’t happen to favor. The argument that the independent student paper’s bins were confiscated to ‘clean up’ the campus under an unwritten policy was simply not believable. No notice was given, and none of the bins belonging to the primary campus student newspaper were taken. The 9th Circuit made the right decision in ruling against the university.”

Here’s the backstory: ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit in 2009 on behalf of the OSU Students Alliance, a recognized student organization that publishes The Liberty. Officials confiscated the independent student paper’s bins–which contained copies of the paper–without notice and threw them next to a dumpster. The university claimed it did so as part of an effort to beautify the campus, but it left untouched the numerous distribution bins of the other student newspaper, The Daily Barometer.

OSU Students Alliance has published The Liberty since 2002 and has distributed the paper in bins on campus since receiving permission from the university to do so in 2005.

The 9th Circuit’s decision in Oregon State University Students Alliance v. Ray reversed a district court’s earlier decision that had dismissed the student group’s claims against the university, which argued it removed the bins under an unwritten campus policy.

“The policy that OSU enforced against plaintiffs, however, was not merely unwritten,” the 9th Circuit opinion explains. “It was also unannounced and had no history of enforcement. It materialized like a bolt out of the blue to smite the Liberty’s, but not the Daily Barometer’s, newsbins onto the trash heap.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

‘Finding Faith’ Film Taps Liberty Students, Alum.


finding faith
Liberty senior Stephanie Bettcher acts on camera for the new film “Finding Faith.” (Andrea MacBean)

Lynchburg, Va., has become the epicenter for the upcoming faith-based film Finding Faith, and Liberty University is right at the heart of the project.

Finding Faith aims to educate families on the importance of Internet safety through a powerful drama based on the real-life story of a girl who was abducted after falling prey to a skillful online predator. It stars Erik Estrada, a Hollywood legend and activist best known for his role on the 1970s and ’80s television series CHiPS. The film is set to release in early 2013 after a nationwide screening tour later this year.

From shooting to editing and post-production, all stages of production are taking place in Central Virginia with Lynchburg as its hub. Liberty has become a vital source of support for the movie, providing locations, housing and equipment, as well as a deep talent pool from which the movie has drawn much of its cast, crew and support staff.

“We have been tremendously blessed,” said Christina Day, co-executive producer and production designer. “The community has really rallied around the film.” Day also works at Liberty in Student Accounts.

More than 90 percent of the people involved with the film are affiliated with Liberty in some way (as alumni, students, faculty and staff, etc.), said alumnus Jason Campbell (’93), Finding Faith’s executive producer and executive director of the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, which is backing the film. The movie has 12 volunteer teams involving more than 400 people and a cast and crew of more than 200.

Stephanie Bettcher, a senior worship major at Liberty, landed the role of the film’s title character, Faith Garrett.

“I feel very blessed and excited to be a part of this film … this role is a new and exciting challenge for me,” she said.

Bettcher said sex trafficking and Internet predators is a real and widespread problem in our country and she is “thrilled to be a part of a movie that will spread a Christian message and truth that by having faith in Christ, hope and peace can be found even when the world seems like it is crashing down.”

The film is spanning generations, uniting the Liberty family for a common cause.

Alumna Kim Miller (’93) fell in love with her husband and the Lord while she was a student at Liberty. Her 12-year-old daughter, Ellie, is playing the role of Faith’s sister, Samantha.

“It is really exciting to see Liberty really become such an international presence and just grow and thrive,” Kim Miller said. “What I am seeing on the set is (the film’s) message resonating with the cast … It’s been pretty inspiring.”

On July 12, Estrada visited Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. at his office and personally thanked him for all of the support and told him that with all of its resources and facilities, bolstered by its strong values, Liberty has the potential to become the “Christian movie capital.”

He also shared his passion for spreading awareness to families about the dangers of Internet predators.

“I enjoyed speaking with Erik and was impressed with his sincerity,” Falwell said. “I believe Sheriff Mike Brown and Erik Estrada should be commended for raising awareness about the dangers of the Internet to children.”

Falwell discussed with Estrada his excitement for the expansion of Liberty’s new film school and its potential to impact Hollywood with filmmakers who have been trained as Champions for Christ.

The film is inspired by the experiences of Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown, who headed one of the nation’s first Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. Through its gripping narrative and powerful message, the film shows how faith can pull families together through tragedy and celebrates the challenging work and accomplishments of Virginia’s law enforcement, especially in regards to Internet crimes.

“The Lynchburg region is blessed to have what I call the world’s best sheriff, Mike Brown,” Falwell said.

Under Brown’s leadership, the ICAC has maintained a 100 percent conviction rate through strict attention to rules and procedure.

“To the sexual predator, we are the wolves,” Brown said at a press conference announcing the film in April. “We have in a number of ways set the bar for other task forces, I am very proud of them.”

Campbell and the production staff is working hard to ensure the film reaches as many people as possible. They are currently discussing a theatrical release strategy and have already planned a screening tour at churches, beginning with a premier night at TRBC in December. The church is also helping to develop a supplemental youth study guide, “Caught in the Web,” that will highlight the film’s message incorporating segments of the film.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

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