Branstad's Bible proclamation has Iowans split - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad's Bible proclamation has Iowans split

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(KWWL) -

A split among Iowans today after a controversial proclamation from Governor Branstad takes effect. 

Branstad is calling on Iowans to read the bible outside of county courthouses over the Fourth of July weekend. It's the first time something like this has been done in the state.

The question people are asking today is whether Governor Banstad's proclamation is unconstitutional. Is he violating the Constitution by promoting Christianity?

Iowans reading bible verses. It's not what you'd typically see or hear in front of a county courthouse. 

"It's one of our amendment rights," said Buchanan County Bible reader Mary Rathe. "And our Four Fathers we're based on God. And our religion. And it's one of our rights. And we're trying to take it back. And be do-ers of the word and not hear-ers only."

Some argue whether it's Branstad's position to promote a specific religion as a Governor.

"He needs to keep his personal beliefs and religion to himself," said Eastern Iowan Atheist Founder Justin Scott. "In his role, he is not to use the Governor's office as a bully pulpit for Christianity, or putting Christianity over top of any other religion."

Branstad calling on Iowans to sit in front of courthouses and read the Bible. The same Governor, who in April signed a similar proclamation, saying it was Muslim recognition day. 

"I believe our nation needs to turn back to God," said Black Hawk County Bible reader Rose Janssen. "And I believe this is one way we can get the word out. That we need God, and we need to read our word to change things around."

It's something County board supervisors say they had to approve.

Black Hawk County board supervisors took a vote, and it passed four to one, approving bible readers on public property. They were allowed on the sidewalk of the courthouse. 

In Buchanan County, the county board took advice from their attorney, and agreed if other counties are doing it, it shouldn't be a problem. 

"Our whole country is based on our freedom," said Rathe.  "And that's our first amendment right. And that's our right to be here. Any other group can be here also."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says they feel Governor Branstad's proclamation  is unconstitutional. 

Governor Branstad signed the proclamation back in April.

The bible reading marathon is planned to go through Sunday.

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