DAVENPORT, Iowa — Scott County residents are set to join the rest of the state for Gov. Terry Branstad's Iowa 99-County Bible Reading Marathon.
The Scott County event is to begin just after sunrise on June 30 and run through July 3, The Quad-City Times reports. Connie Johnson with the Bettendorf Baptist Church is leading efforts to find up to 300 people to read the Bible in 15-minute increments.
She said sign-ups for the event have been light so far. But Johnson hopes that family groups will get together to read the Bible aloud.
The event has gotten much attention online, and Branstad faces threats of lawsuits from the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa in Des Moines.
Locally, some faith leaders have taken issue with the idea.
Rabbi Henry Karp of Temple Emanuel in Davenport says the governor should keep events like this "religious neutral." Karp suggested that it would be better to promote the reading of other religious texts as well.
But Joe Gauthier, a practicing Buddhist from Davenport, said he has no problem with the event.
"I am glad that people want to bring spirituality to different spheres of life," Gauthier said. "I don't feel threatened or left out at all. And if people want to explore Buddhism, they are invited to visit."
Anna Creek of Davenport said she identifies as an atheist and has a problem with the marathon because she believes the governor has taken the personal practice of religion and make it a public event.
"It's not fair to make such blanket statements, especially when you are in a government position or position of authority," Creek said.