Oklahoma Public Schools to Include the Bible in Curriculum

(RepublicanReport.org) – The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment places a separation between church and state. The phrase, first officially shared by former President Thomas Jefferson, was echoed by former US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. He confirmed that the “First Amendment has erected” a wall between the two that “must be kept high and impregnable.” Still, Oklahoma recently breached that wall.

On June 27, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (DOE) Ryan Walters wrote a memorandum to school superintendents around the Sooner State. It said that all schools in Oklahoma were “required to incorporate the Bible” in all of the state’s public school curriculums — effective immediately.

Walters claimed that the religious book was an “indispensable historical and cultural touchstone” without which students couldn’t “properly contextualize the foundation” of the United States. He called the Bible a “historically significant” text.

President and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State Rachel Laser immediately responded to the mandate, stating that “public schools are not Sunday schools.” He claimed Walters was “unfit for office” because the superintendent couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Laser said the mandate was an “unconstitutional effort to indoctrinate” children in the state with religion. The Bible mandate applies to all students in grades 5 through 12.

Interfaith Alliance, a group that protects religious freedoms, told CNN that Walters’ effort was “blatant religious coercion that should have absolutely no place in public schools.” The organization said the majority of Americans reject “forc[ing] a Christian nationalist agenda” in US “schools,” “courts,” and “government.”

Walters’ decision follows a recent decision in Louisiana that requires the Ten Commandments from the Bible to be displayed in public schools. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and others already plan to sue Louisiana to have that law overturned, stating it is unconstitutional.

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