Oklahoma State Superintendent Issues Rule Requiring Bible Teaching, Ten Commandments in Classrooms

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters is reportedly requiring teaching of the Bible and the Ten Commandments in the classroom, according to a Thursday announcement.

Effective immediately, every classroom from fifth to 12th grade must have a Bible from which the teacher will teach. The move comes shortly after Louisiana passed legislation requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in all public schools.

Similar to Louisiana, Walters argues in the memorandum that the Bible and the Ten Commandments are integral parts of American history and Western civilization.

“This is not merely an educational directive but a crucial step in ensuring our students grasp the core values and historical context of our country,” Walters said in the memorandum, noting the “substantial influence” that the Bible and Ten Commandments’ had on the country’s founders and the constitution.

During a state Board of Education meeting, Walters further expanded on his reasoning, saying that the Bible is “one of the most foundational documents used for the Constitution and the birth of our country.”

The superintendent asserted that the Bible “is a necessary historical document to teach our kids about the history of this country, to have a complete understanding of Western civilization, to have an understanding of the basis of our legal system.”

This comes after the state’s Supreme Court ruled against establishing a publicly funded religious charter school.

The new memo comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked an effort to establish the first publicly funded religious charter school in the country. The court on Tuesday ordered the state to rescind its contract with St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School in a 6-2 decision with one recusal.

“Under Oklahoma law, a charter school is a public school,” wrote Justice James R. Winchester for the court. “As such, a charter school must be nonsectarian. However, St. Isidore will evangelize the Catholic faith as part of its school curriculum while sponsored by the State.”

Walters called the ruling “one of the worst” decisions the state Supreme Court has made and pledged to “fight back.”

“What the court did was rule against the parents of Oklahoma who have demanded more choices for their kids. We have a great opportunity to make sure that parents have the most options of any parents in the country here in Oklahoma, by giving them the ability to go to a public school, charter schools, private schools, this would have been the most unique charter school in the country,” Walters said.

“So I want you all to know, we will continue to fight back against this, we want to continue to provide an opportunity for parents to send their kids to high-quality schools.”

Several civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against Louisiana’s new law on Monday. These include the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and a New York City law firm.

Rev. Jeff Simms, one of the plaintiffs in the complaint, said Louisiana’s law “sends a message to my children and other students that people of some religious dominations are superior to others” and characterized it as “religious favoritism.”

RedState will keep you posted on any developments on the Oklahoma superintendent’s move.

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