Bible-reading on the courthouse lawn this weekend

Greene County will be among the last of Iowa counties to participate in a statewide Bible-reading marathon.

The county supervisors on Monday approved a request from Pastor Dean Porter of Guthrie Center to allow a non-denominational group to read the Bible on the courthouse lawn this Friday, Saturday, and possibly Sunday. Porter said there would be between four and eight stations where individuals will read the Bible to themselves. No sidewalk preaching is planned. The marathon will be held from 9 am to 5 pm Friday and Saturday, and from 2 to 5 pm Sunday if more time is needed to complete the task.

Controversy arose last spring after Gov Terry Branstad on April 26 signed a proclamation calling for the Bible to be read in its entirety on the lawns of all 99 county courthouses. The proclamation set June 30 through July 3 as the dates.

The proclamation makes statements like, “Whereas, the Bible is recognizes as the one true revelation from God”; and “Whereas, lawmakers, law enforcement, social scientists, civic and church leaders are searching for solutions to the critical problems facing our nation, such as the drug crisis, violence, and social injustice, all of which can be found within God’s revealed will for mankind.”

It concludes with Branstad encouraging “individuals and families in Iowa to read through the Bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes.”

A separation of Church and State is guaranteed in the Constitution, but faith-based proclamations are seen as encouraging action, not compelling it.

The Bible-reading marathon is behind schedule. According to Porter, the marathons have been held in 86 counties this year. He said the Guthrie County marathon lasted 17 hours.

No registration is needed. Persons who want more information can call Scott Carroll at 515-386-3045. The project is under the auspices of Kingdom Builder Enterprises. There is also a Facebook page for the Bible-reading marathon.

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