Marathon Bible reading to start June 30 on county courthouse lawn


Scott Brunscheen, executive director of faith at Work, presented his request for permission to stage a four-day marathon Bible reading on the grounds of the Dallas County Courthouse.
Scott Brunscheen of West Des Moines, executive director of Faith at Work, presented his request to the Dallas County Board of Supervisors Tuesday for permission to stage a four-day, marathon Bible reading on the grounds of the Dallas County Courthouse. The board unanimously approved Brunscheen’s request

The Dallas County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan Tuesday by a coalition of religious groups to stage a four-day, marathon reading of the Christian Bible on the south lawn of the Dallas County Courthouse starting June 30 and running through July 3.

The cover-to-cover public reading will take about 80 hours, according to Dallas County resident Scott Brunscheen who serves as Development Director at Spurgeon Manor, a Christian nonprofit retirement community in Dallas Center.

“Last year the Iowa Prayer Caucus Network and many others read the Bible from cover to cover in the rotunda of the State Capitol Building,” Brunscheen told the supervisors at their regular weekly meeting. “There are now plans to do the same thing in front of the courthouses of all 99 counties at the same time, leading up to the Fourth of July, our nation’s 240th birthday.”

Gov. Terry Branstad signed the Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon Proclamation April 26, encouraging all Iowans to participate in the statewide religious event. Brunscheen said 55 Iowa counties have so far organized readings, and he is volunteering to help coordinate the effort in Dallas County.

“Our plans are to read the Bible on a continuous basis,” he told the supervisors, “and it takes approximately 80 hours to complete its reading.” He said the reading would begin Thursday, June 30 at 8 a.m. and end “with a concluding gathering of readers to finish the event” Sunday, July 3 at about 4 p.m.

“We know it is possible that it may take a while longer depending on the speed of those reading,” Brunscheen said, “so the ending time is only an approximation. We do plan, however, to be finished on July 3.”

Brunscheen said he is seeking 320 volunteers to fill the 15-minute reading slots.

“I hope interest will catch on with churches, small groups, youth groups, businesses and families signing up to cover two- to four-hour blocks of time or coming back multiple times,” he said. “Especially difficult may be finding people willing to help read through the night.”

Bruscheen noted the marathon reading “is a grassroots effort, and it is not sponsored by any on denomination or group. The purpose of the Bible Reading Marathon is to honor God, bring Christians together in unity, encourage reading the Bible and celebrate our religious liberty and living in a free country – all leading up to celebrating the Fourth of July.”

He said a “Sign-up Now” button is available on the event’s website.

The Dallas County Courthouse will be open for normal public business Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, but “there would be no hindering of the public entering or exiting the building,” Brunscheen said. “Since the courthouse will be closed on the weekend, there will be no inconveniences to the courthouse business on those days.”

He emphasized “the event will be held entirely outside the courthouse.”

Along with the supervisors’ permission, Brunscheen also asked for the board’s approval of “any necessary permit that may be needed and, if possible, access to electrical power for lighting at night.” He said his group will use a pop-up tent, a few chairs and possibly a podium.

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Gov. Branstad signed the 99 County Bible Reading Marathon Proclamation in April.
Gov. Branstad signed the 99 County Bible Reading Marathon Proclamation in April.


  1. Well…. I think this is not a very good use of time. Why not take turns volunteering at a shelter or mentoring an at-risk youth? What exactly does this prove? That you can read?

    “Actions speak louder than words,” and in this case, truer words have never been spoken!

  2. “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” —Thomas Jefferson

    “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?” —James Madison

    “How to honor religious liberty without it becoming the liberty to impose on others moral beliefs they don’t share . . . . Protect freedom of religion, and protect freedom from religion. Can’t get more American than that.” —Bill Moyers

  3. This function is in absolute violation of the U.S. Constitution as is Branstad’s proclamation. I hereby make my complaint public to the Dallas County Board of Supervisors as well as any and all connected with this illegal function. The American Civil Liberties Union as well as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State will be notified.

  4. Amen to Governor Brandstad for simply exercising his right to free speech! #1. You don’t leave your free speech rights outside the statehouse doors once you get elected to office. #2. The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ IS NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION. The entire history of the separation phrase shows it was used to prevent the State (meaning federal government) from taking CONTROL of religion and REGULATING public religious beliefs and expressions; it was NEVER to secularize or remove religious beliefs or expressions from public life. It is clear and obvious that Gov. Brandstad is a. Not controlling what religion we choose to follow; b. Not regulating how we follow our faith; and c. Not a federal government official, not that it would matter because those elected to federal office also do not leave their free speech rights outside once they are elected to federal office.

  5. I recommend you get The Founders’ Bible’ (it can be ordered online) and read “What is the Separation of Church and State?”, “What is Constitutional?”, “The Tenets of American Exceptionalism”, along with many other highly educational and enlightening articles. It will truly open your eyes to the real, true biblical history of this country. Please, please read it.

  6. I really need to mention one more thing. I’m strongly thinking about volunteering as a reader for one reason and one reason only: because I love my Creator with all my heart and know that reading His Word would be pleasing to Him. That’s it! Nothing else! And if the Lord laid on my heart to speak to an unbeliever about Jesus Christ, well AMEN for that! And yes, I can read it at home, but it’s hard to witness to unbelievers when you aren’t around people, and being around Christian brothers and sisters outside of a church building is also an appealing thought.

  7. I wonder what kind of blow back we’d see if the Koran was being read aloud at the same location (with permission, of course). Again, I would suggest that the volunteers spread their goodwill by doing good deeds instead. Such a waste of time.

  8. The Holy Spirit would quite likely lay on peoples’ hearts to witness to their fellow Muslim-Americans with love and grace. Obviously, the Holy Spirit has laid on these peoples’ hearts to organize and do this and as a Christian brother, I should not put a stumbling block in front of them (via words or actions). I should support them. This is biblical. And a lot of these people may be spending 15 minutes reading then going off to do some sort of volunteer work for several hours. We don’t know. Now, when I’m doing my volunteer work, I can talk with the people I’m helping about the Bible reading that I took part in. What a great way to introduce the Gospel to those I’m volunteering to help! When believers do what the Holy Spirit lays on their hearts to do, it’s never a waste of time. This has more to do with witnessing to those working in government positions than anything else. That’s why they are doing this outside 99 courthouses. It’s about steering our governmental leaders towards biblical Godliness, which would greatly benefit this country right now.

  9. Sean, I have absolutely no interest in reading what you’ve posted as I can peg you as a fully indoctrinated Evangelical with either Dominionist or Christian Reconstructionist leanings. The U.S. is not now nor has it ever been a Christian nation, neither will it ever be. There will be no compromise, neither will there be any discussion. You are 100 percent dead wrong, and I openly stand against what you believe and what you’re doing. I knew better during my eighth grade civics class in 1969. I knew better during my political science class at college back in 1975. You can dump that garbage on the weak minded and the gullible but not on me. I know how your particular kind of mind and social control works and will have none of it.

  10. Nick, you seem to be making personal assumptions about me and my intentions without knowing me personally. I would gladly sit down with you anytime to discuss whatever you’d like to discuss. I can assure you I am not indoctrinated. The Holy Spirit simply lays on my heart to speak about something, and I speak about it. When thousands and thousands of founding documents give credit to God and/or the Bible in some way; when over 300 court cases in the past two centuries make statements that this is a Christian nation (a perfect example: the U.S. Supreme Court in an 1892 case provides OVERWHELMING evidence); when Congress in 1792 provided a resolution to help sell and circulate the Bible; the fact that the Bible and specific Bible verses shaped unique features of American society and government (again, I strongly encourage you to read ‘The Founders’ Bible’)…it’s clear what the foundations of this country are built on. You can’t revise this obvious history, then declare, “You revisionists!” when the true history is re-presented to you. There’s no reason to fear this or be hostile towards it, and admitting it certainly doesn’t mean that other faiths and beliefs are somehow threatened from existence from our government (as evidenced by their continued existence since 1776).


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