Oklahoma Schools Required to Incorporate Bible in History Curriculum

Oklahoma’s top education official mandated that all public schools in the state include the Bible as part of their curriculum for its historical value.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters emphasized the importance of teaching the Bible in every Oklahoma classroom, particularly highlighting its significance in American history and foundational documents.

“We’re going to examine documents like the Mayflower Compact and other foundational texts to illustrate the beliefs of the founders conceptually,” explained Walters during his discussion with the press on Thursday.

Current state academic standards mandate the study of religion’s influence on American society and government within the social studies curriculum.

While the academic standards provide a comprehensive list of topics for Oklahoma public schools to cover, individual school districts have the autonomy to determine their curriculum and instructional approach.

Superintendent Walters’ directive faced immediate resistance from Democratic legislators and organizations advocating for the separation of religion and state.

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed concerns that this order could further marginalize religious minorities in public schools and violates religious freedom. The organization opposes specific religious teachings in the classroom.

“Forcing teachers to exclusively use the Bible in their curriculum is inappropriate and unconstitutional,” stated Adam Soltani, the director of the Oklahoma chapter, emphasizing the importance of religious freedom in educational settings.

State Senator Carri Hicks warned that this mandate could lead to legal challenges, potentially burdening taxpayers and distracting from urgent issues like teacher shortages and inadequate public education funding.

Oklahoma has been addressing the role of religion in its public schools, with the state Supreme Court recently ruling against a publicly funded Catholic charter school for its unconstitutional religious basis.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Bible mandate, the state’s Attorney General’s office confirmed that existing Oklahoma law permits the use of Bibles in classrooms for instructional purposes.

While Superintendent Walters supported the Catholic charter school, he criticized the Court’s decision and dismissed the idea of separation of church and state as a myth.

Leaders of the Catholic community in Oklahoma plan to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling, intending to postpone the school’s opening until it receives a review by the United States Supreme Court.

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