Ryan Walters Bible mandate, prayer for relief
(Mike Allen)

After their 6-1 ruling this past week that a proposed Catholic charter school is unconstitutional, Oklahoma Supreme Court justices may be licking their chops at another opportunity to affirm separations between church and state.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters announced Thursday that public classrooms between the fifth and 12 grades will be required to contain the Bible “as an instructional support into the curriculum.”

“Additionally, the State Department of Education may supply teaching materials for the Bible, as permissible, to ensure uniformity in delivery,” Walters wrote in his directive. “Adherence to this mandate is compulsory. Further instructions for monitoring and reporting on this implementation for the [2024-2025] school year will be forthcoming.”

The justification for this Ryan Walters Bible mandate still seems a little unclear. His statements on the matter include something about kids needing to “understand the stories” and “properly contextualize foundation of our nation.” I seem to remember learning a little different origin story for this country, but that must have been in those dark, heathen years known as the 1990s.

I find all of this a little bizarre because everything Walters would like to see taught about the Bible is already done at, well, church. That makes this exercise a bit redundant to anyone who regularly attends a Christian service and perhaps a bit insulting to anyone who worships alternatively. And what about all of the different denominations of Christianity and versions of the Bible for that matter? Are we going to have a King James kerfuffle in a middle school math class?

The questions are numerous, but it may not matter in the end after someone files a prayer for relief with the courts. If you know your memes, those pesky justices are likely lurking behind the trees, rubbing their hands and waiting to bang a gavel on all of this.

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