Reading Time: 2 minutes

***Update*** (7/6): A new report says the marathon is back on, though it’s unclear how many participants are expected.

Last year, the Iowa 99 County Bible Reading Marathon was endorsed by Governor Terry Branstad, who bizarrely encouraged all Iowans to “read through the Bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes.” (It was a controversial proclamation.)

This year, they couldn’t even find participants.


The reading was started June 26, and the plan was to continue until volunteers finished the Bible — probably sometime on Sunday or Monday — but instead the marathon was cut short, [Kellie] Evens said. There simply weren’t enough volunteers, and her co-captain couldn’t work the long hours needed for the two of them to do it alone.

When you can’t find enough Christians in Iowa to take part in a Bible-promoting publicity stunt, you know the religious demographics are shifting…

The organizers of the event, in which people take turns reading through the entire Bible from start to finish, said they would reschedule it to September.

To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of advance notice for the event, and doing it on a holiday weekend didn’t help. But it’s still pleasantly unusual that they couldn’t get a bare minimum number of Christians to help them out.

Ah well.

Last year, atheists countered the Bible Marathon by reading excerpts from atheists books like God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction. There are no plans to do that again this year, but does anyone doubt that, if the event were scheduled, there would be more than enough people willing to sign up to help?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.