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Branstad "Astounded" by Criticism of Bible-Reading Proclamation

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Flickr / JohnPaulRichards

Gov. Terry Branstad says a proclamation he signed that encourages Iowans to participate in a Bible reading marathon and to read the Bible on a daily basis, “Until the Lord comes,” is not an affront to religious liberty.

The ACLU of Iowa says it’s concerned that the proclamation endorses a particular religion.  The organization says it never announces an intention to file a lawsuit, but it is reviewing options in this case.

But Branstad says he’s "astounded" people are upset since he’s not forcing anyone to read the Bible or pray.

"They have their right not to pray, but encouraging others to pray certainly is not a violation of their rights and doesn’t hurt anybody," says the governor. "We don’t need to be intolerant of religion." 

Branstad has also signed a “Muslim Recognition Day” proclamation three years in a row. It acknowledges that Iowa Muslims contribute to the state’s educational, cultural, economic and civic development, but it does not encourage Iowans to read the Quran.