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Oklahoma Public Schools to Teach Historical Impact of the Bible, Ten Commandments

July 2, 2024

Louisiana recently became the first state to pass legislation that requires the Ten Commandments to be posted in the classrooms of schools that receive public funding. This sparked controversy from the Left, with cries that the measure was “unconstitutional.” As such, several leftist legal groups filed lawsuits against the bill, which experts say “should withstand [the] legal challenges in light of American history and constitutional law.” Now, Oklahoma appears to be following Louisiana’s lead in bringing the Bible back into public schools via a history-focused initiative.

Last week, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters announced a directive that “requires all public schools to teach the Bible and the Ten Commandments,” PBS News reported. The document notes this applies to grades 5-12 and is set to take effect “immediately.” The announcement has received pushback from groups such as Interfaith Alliance, who have claimed the order is “blatant religious coercion that should have absolutely no place in public schools.”

Even so, Walters is determined to help bring awareness to the fact that the Bible has played a major role in history, whether someone identifies as religious or not. As he shared in a press release, “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.” And as “Washington Watch” guest host Jody Hice said on Friday’s episode, “[C]learly those on the Left are … in need of a history lesson because it’s obvious that they don’t understand the importance and value of having basic knowledge of the most important and most significant book in history, and one that certainly has been a cornerstone of Western civilization.”

Walters, who joined Hice on the show, emphasized that “the Left can be offended [and] … upset, but they can’t rewrite our history.” He added, “We’re very excited to be the first state in the country to put the Bible back in every classroom. Our kids are going to know the impact of the Bible in American history.”

Hice reciprocated the excitement, adding that knowing the historical impact of the Bible is “so basic. It’s something that was in our classrooms for [what] seems like forever until” the Supreme Court ruled against the practice in 1980. And “it’s not just the issue that students are better off having a basic knowledge of the Bible,” Hice noted, “but … without it, there’s a significant hole in their education.”

According to Walters, it’s not merely a “hole” in a student’s education, but “it’s academic malpractice not to have the Bible as a source document that’s being used heavily in your schools.” For instance, “How do you explain to students why Thomas Jefferson felt the need to say our rights are endowed … by our Creator? … Why … did the pilgrims come to America in the first place? How do you explain these things without talking about the Bible?” Walters asked. “How do you explain to folks why Abraham Lincoln would cite tremendous amounts of Scripture in every speech he gave? How do you explain why Martin Luther King Jr. continued to tie concepts from the Bible to every single aspect of the civil rights movement without talking about the Bible?”

Ultimately, Walters emphasized, the Bible is inseparable from history, and yet “what we have seen is the Left has been targeting the Bible and Christianity in schools to drive the Bible out.” He continued, “They don’t want any mention of Christianity, any mention of the Bible.” However, Walters argued, “that’s not [accurate to] our history. So, we’re going to make sure that our kids understand” the role the Bible has played. To which Hice also pointed to the fact that “there’s no question the Bible is by far the most quoted book of any among our founders.” Hice stressed how “the Left … fails to see … that it’s … historical in so many ways.”

What they also don’t seem to understand, Walters added, is that it’s within their rights and freedoms not to “adhere to the Scripture,” but it’s not within their rights to completely censor the Bible because they disagree with it and ignore its historical significance. “And frankly,” he stated, “until the 1960s, if you walked into a schoolhouse, you were going to see the Bible. You were going to hear teaching from the Bible, [and] you were going to hear a lot of literary references to the Bible as well. It’s the number one bestselling book in American history.” And so, if “that doesn’t qualify for a piece of literature that should be in the classroom, I don’t know what book would qualify.”

Hice contended that what Walters is doing in Oklahoma is “not only … a great move, but it is common sense.” He continued, “I mean, … kids are better off to be reminded not to steal, not to murder, to honor their parents. … It all wraps together to make perfect sense and to provide a much more well-grounded education for our kids.” And Walters pointed out the irony in the fact that “these radical leftists that are attacking our move to put the Bible back in school are the same people that we’ve been fighting here in our state and across the country who … want to put pornography in there to push your kids to be transgender,” while at the same time claiming “there’s no academic value to the Bible.”

“Think about the absurdity of that position,” Walters insisted. And yet, he went on, “[O]ur society, our Founders, [and] so many folks in our history believed you had to talk about the faith and morality aspect of society in conjunction with a government protecting your God given rights. So, when you take one of those out of the equation and … will not allow a mentioning of faith … [or] morality in school, well, … that’s a society the Framers were very concerned about.” Ultimately, he concluded, “these are the type of lessons our kids … should understand,” and “it is academic malpractice to” withhold this from them.

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.