Oklahoma Schools Are Now Required to Teach the Bible and Ten Commandments

Oklahoma schools are now required to incorporate the Bible into their curriculum due to a new state mandate from the Oklahoma superintendent

Published Time: 28.06.2024 - 19:31:14 Modified Time: 28.06.2024 - 19:31:14

Oklahoma schools are now required to incorporate the Bible into their curriculum due to a new state mandate from the Oklahoma superintendent.

Ryan Walters, the Oklahoma state superintendent of public instruction, announced the news at the Oklahoma Board of Education meeting on Thursday, June 27, and sent a memo to schools announcing the changes, according to KFOR-TV, Fox 23 News and CNN.

In the memo obtained by KFOR-TV, Walters ordered that the Bible, including the “Ten Commandments,” be taught in classrooms from grades 5 through 12. He also noted in the memo that the Bible is “one of the most historically significant books” and has had a “substantial influence on our nation’s founders and the foundational principles of our Constitution.”

He added that “adherence” to the new mandate was “compulsory” and that “immediate and strict compliance is expected.”

The Oklahoma State Superintendent’s Office and Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office told KFOR-TV in a statement that “Oklahoma law already explicitly allows Bibles in the classroom and enables teachers to use them in instruction.”

Oklahoma state law says that individual school districts have the authority to determine curriculum, books and instructional materials that students would use, according to Associated Press.

Several groups have criticized the new mandate, i -

ncluding Interfaith Alliance, a group which protects religious freedoms. They told CNN in a statement that the mandate was “blatant religious coercion” that “should have absolutely no place in public schools – in Oklahoma or any other state.”

“True religious freedom means ensuring that no one religious group is allowed to impose their viewpoint on all Americans,” they added. “The vast majority of people of faith in this country reject these dangerous, intimidating efforts to force a Christian nationalist agenda into our schools, our courts and our government.”

Never miss a story — sign up forPEOPLE's free daily newsletterto stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

“Public schools are not Sunday schools,” Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told AP in a statement. “This is textbook Christian Nationalism: Walters is abusing the power of his public office to impose his religious beliefs on everyone else’s children. Not on our watch.”

Earlier in June, Louisiana similarly passed a law ordering that public schools display the Ten Commandments in every classroom from kindergarten to state-funded universities. The poster-size displays must be in a "large, easily readable font," according to the bill.

Related Articles

Follow Us