(The Center Square) – A days-long Bible reading marathon began Saturday and includes a congressional Bible reading for the first time in the decades-long annual event.
The 34th annual U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon is open to public participation. It takes place on the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol and goes through 10 a.m. Wednesday.
This year, for the first time, a Congressional Bible reading will occur in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. Members of Congress will participate in the marathon by reading the Bible in the House of Representatives’ Chaplain’s office.
The marathon involves hundreds of people scheduled to read the Bible out loud in many languages. They will read the Bible in its entirety from Genesis to Revelation for 90 continuous hours on Capitol Hill. Both the House and Senate leadership approved the marathon, event organizers said.
The nonprofit evangelistic group organizing the event, Orlando-based Faith & Liberty, regularly engages with elected officials, distributes copies of the Bible and other materials, and hosts several kinds of events including hosting Bible studies.
Faith & Liberty vice president Peggy Nienaber said the event “celebrates the power of God’s Word, and the right of all Americans to exercise their freedom to religiously express themselves. Every year, it is such a privilege to participate in the reading of God’s Word as it flows throughout Capitol Hill, especially during this time as the nation grapples with uncertainty and unrest. The Bible is the foundation of America, and within those pages, we find the only answer for hope for this nation.”
Founded by Dr. John Hash and Dr. Corinthia Boone, the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon began in 1990. The event was scheduled to coincide around the same time as the National Day of Prayer, which was established by Congress in 1952 and falls on the first Thursday of May.
For the first marathon, Boone and 30 pastors went to the West Lawn of the Capitol and read through the Bible aloud.
Continuing the tradition of pastors playing an integral role in the political process of America, a group of 80 pastors from across the country recently met with members of Congress and expressed their commitment to engaging in the culture. They are part of a movement led by the South Carolina-based nonprofit, “Faith Wins,” which argues the socio-economic and cultural issues of the day aren’t political but spiritual. The group is mobilizing faith leaders to use their influence to impact the political landscape.
Faith Wins’ founder, Chad Connelly, told The Center Square they are committed to ministering to political leaders because they believe “there’s a higher authority than government: God,” referring to the God of the Bible.
“America was the first place to say our rights don’t come from the state,” he added.
“We have inalienable rights that are endowed by our creator,” he said, citing the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident. While truth is under attack these days, God is still on the throne. He is sovereign over all governments and more than any government will ever be.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, who joined them, noted that “… Church services used to be held routinely in the Capitol, and it is always moving to hear prayers and hymns echoing in the Rotunda,” referring to the group singing hymns there.
Those interested in participating in the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon can call 202-737-1776; Faith & Liberty will also be posting videos from the marathon on its Facebook page.