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Oklahoma Orders To Teach Bible In Public Schools

Superintendent Ryan Walters, on Thursday, has ordered that the Bible be taught in public school classes for students aged 11-18 in Oklahoma, United States. Walters argues that understanding the Bible is essential for learning about American history and culture. Critics, including Rachel Laser from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, oppose this mandate. […]

Superintendent Ryan Walters, on Thursday, has ordered that the Bible be taught in public school classes for students aged 11-18 in Oklahoma, United States. Walters argues that understanding the Bible is essential for learning about American history and culture. Critics, including Rachel Laser from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, oppose this mandate. They argue it promotes Christian Nationalism and violates the separation of church and state by imposing religious beliefs in public education. The Interfaith Alliance also criticizes the directive, seeing it as forcing religious views on students and threatening religious freedom.

In states like Louisiana, new laws require public schools to show the Ten Commandments written in Bible, which has sparked legal fights arguing it violates religious freedom protections in the First Amendment. Previous Supreme Court decisions have rejected similar displays in public places for being too religious and lacking a secular purpose. Similar arguments are expected in challenges against Louisiana’s law.

The Supreme Court case Stone v. Graham (1980) set an example highlighting constitutional concerns. It ruled against a Kentucky law that wanted to display the Ten Commandments in schools, stating it was too religious and lacked a secular purpose. Similar arguments are likely in challenges against Louisiana’s requirement.

Walters defended his directive by criticizing what he sees as secular agendas removing religious values from public life. He accused critics of promoting disharmonious ideologies in education, contrasting them with what he considers foundational biblical values.

The controversy highlights ongoing debates in the US about religion in public institutions and how religious freedom is understood. It could lead to legal challenges that shape how religion is expressed in education while maintaining state neutrality.

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