OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Several religious leaders rejected Oklahoma School Superintendent Ryan Walters’ demands Thursday that every classroom should have a bible and that it be taught.

“Public schools are not Sunday schools,” posted Minister Lori Walke of Mayflower Congregational.

“We are concerned and worry about the religious parents and students throughout Oklahoma after that,” said President and CEO of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State Rachel Laser.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters said during the monthly board meeting that “every district and every classroom will have a Bible in the class and they will teach from that Bible.” Supt. Walters called it a “historical document that needs to be taught.”

A memorandum he said was sent to all districts said that “effective immediately, all Oklahoma schools are required to incorporate the Bible, which includes the Ten Commandments, as an instructional support into the curriculum across specified grade levels, e.g., grades five through 12.”

Superintendent Walters says the directive aligns with curriculum rules approved in May 2019 and all districts must comply. However, it goes against a Supreme Court ruling and several rules on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website.

“Interjecting religious scripture in the classroom is not the best way to go about it,” said Adam Soltani of CAIR. CAIR advocates for the Muslim community throughout Oklahoma.

“My immediate reaction was concern for the constitutional right of the students and their families,” said Soltani.

“Keep religion out of it,” said Rachel Johnson, Executive Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.

“We respond that its a little frightening to hear, it’s threatening our religious freedom,” said Johnson.

Rajan Zed, a Hindu spokesperson who has represented many in the religion throughout Oklahoma said, “Hindus feel that it is fine to incorporate Bible lessons in Oklahoma public schools as long as lessons from ancient Sanskrit scripture Bhagavad-Gita are also included.”

“The State Board’s attempt to insert the Christian Bible into curriculum is an unacceptable and unconstitutional violation of our First Amendment rights. That Superintendent Walters’ stated rationale is rife with historical inaccuracies based on his personal beliefs is proof that Oklahoma should invest more in evidence-based policies that better serve all students and safeguard the civil rights of all families.”


“That just really doesn’t work in a pluralistic democracy,” said Lucien Greaves, a leader within The Satanic Temple.

The Satanic Temple earlier this month announced plans to begin class instruction for their new class H.A.I.L., the Helion Academy of Independent Learning. This came after a bill was signed by Governor Stitt giving students instruction on how to earn credits for attending a religious class off campus.

“We are not worried about this,” said Greaves when asked about OSDE Supt. Walters requirement Thursday.

“He’s just going to end up putting Oklahomans and taxpayers in more legal problems that they’re going to have to end up paying off,” said Greaves.

“He has abused the power of the state,” said Lacer.

Lacer and others at Americans United are apart of a lawsuit filed recently after Louisiana demanded the Ten Commandments be put up in every classroom. She said that more than likely a lawsuit will hit Oklahoma.

“We have been watching Ryan Walters be the leader for the Department of Education and we have also been watching a Christian nationalist crusade to impose his version of conservative Christianity on Oklahoma students and parents,” said Lacer.

“He’s not even allowed to enforce that. It would be like the janitor within OSDE announcing that he will enforce putting a bible in every classroom. Ryan Walters doesn’t know what his job is and he’s failing the students and parents in Oklahoma,” said Greaves.

However there was one person that came out with a statement in support of Walters’ declaration and that was Senator Dusty Deevers.

“I am pleased with Superintendent Walters’ decision and look forward to forthcoming directions for local implementation. From my understanding, the State Department of Education is developing guidelines and standards to ensure the curriculum does not present a denominational perspective or teach doctrines as though it were a seminary but focuses on the Bible’s important influence on world history, Western civilization, and the United States,”


KFOR reached out to OSDE to see if there was a guideline to how teachers are supposed to teach the Bible but did not hear back.