All Oklahoma Schools to Add the Bible and Ten Commandments, Official Says

Oklahoma’s top public school official announced in late June that schools in the state must begin teaching the Bible effective immediately.

In a June 27 memorandum to all public school superintendents, Ryan Walters, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction said all public schools were required to “incorporate the Bible,” including the Ten Commandments in grades 5-12 as part of the state’s educational standards which were approved in May 2019.

Describing the Bible and the Ten Commandments as “foundational texts” Walters said the Bible was a “cornerstone of Western civilization.”

He explained that the texts were appropriate in the study of such subjects as history, ethics, civilization, and comparative religion, as well as their “influence on our nation’s founders and the foundational principles” of the US Constitution.

At a state Board of Education meeting on June 27, Walters said instruction from the Bible would ensure that every Oklahoma student understood its historical significance.

The nonprofit group Americans United for Separation of Church and State blasted Walters’ decision, saying he was “trampling the religious freedom” of children and their families.

The group’s CEO Rachel Laser accused Walters of being a Christian Nationalist and claimed that he was abusing his public office “to impose his religious beliefs on everyone else’s children.”

Laser hinted that her group would likely take legal action to stop the effort.

Since taking office last year, Walters, a former high school history teacher, has taken on the role of culture warrior, including introducing regulations prohibiting school libraries from carrying books that are not age-appropriate for children and requiring school officials to inform parents if their child “identifies” as another gender.

Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt recently approved regulations proposed by Walters, including allowing time for prayer in school and expanding the “foundational values” of the state’s Department of Education to acknowledge the existence of good and evil.