Weep for Oklahoma


The state of Oklahoma ranks 49th in education, according to one review (there are many such reviews that come up with different values, but none of them place the state higher than near the bottom of the barrel.) The superintendent of the Oklahoma school system, Ryan Walters, is surely aware of their abysmal reputation, and surely wants to make the schools in his state better, right? That’s his job! Walters has taken bold, radical action to fix Oklahoma schools.

Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters issued a directive to all public schools ordering them to incorporate the Bible as an instructional support in the classroom.

Doing so is a crucial step in ensuring our students grasp the core values and historical context of our country, Walters said.

In remarks to the board, Walters went further than his own memo, saying that every teacher, every classroom in the state will have a Bible in the classroom and will be teaching from the Bible in the classroom.

If I were teacher in Oklahoma, this is the point where I’d be sending my CV to schools in other states, and be preparing a lesson plan that, if I had to stay in the state for a while, would reveal what a pile of archaic shit the Bible was. That counts as teaching from the Bible, right?

The sad thing is that there are a lot of conservative Republicans who heard Ryan Walters’ plan and clutched their precious Bible and shouted “Hallelujah!” because they’re religious dumbasses, and they would run any teacher who criticized their holy book out of town.

Even sadder: thanks to the Republicans, the rest of the country wants to become Oklahoma.

Comments

  1. says

    From the linked article:

    Walters’ memo to school districts said that the state Education Department may supply teaching materials for Bible instruction “to ensure uniformity in delivery.”

    You’d think this kind of thing could convince the religious why separation of church and state is a good idea. Do you really want the state to determine what is correct bible instruction?

  2. stuffin says

    I’m certain they will have the teachers only instruct the students on the good parts of the bible. They will ban the parts of the bible that would make people uncomfortable.

  3. muttpupdad says

    They do so over joy at a book they may wave and clutch but have never taken the time to actually read, taking the word of conmen and grifters as to what is in it.

  4. Larry says

    I suppose they’ll have bible cops who audit every class to insure these fatwahs are being obeyed.

  5. raven says

    Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters issued a directive to all public schools ordering them to incorporate the Bible as an instructional support in the classroom.

    Does this fascist even have the legal power to do this?

    Maybe, but I doubt it.
    This seems to be an authoritarian directive that lacks any legal authority and due process behind it.

    That is like the Attorney General in Missouri who kept issuing emergency decrees with new laws in them. In turns out the AG in Missouri had no legal authority to create new laws by issuing emergency decrees. He did it anyway.

    He knows he will be sued for violating the US constitution. That is probably the whole point.

  6. raven says

    In remarks to the board, Walters went further than his own memo, saying that every teacher, every classroom in the state will have a Bible in the classroom and will be teaching from the Bible in the classroom.

    This is forced indoctrination of the xian religion.
    It is like something that would happen in Iran or Afghanistan.

    I’m sure some people in Oklahoma will be appalled by this.
    Might not be too many though.

  7. Doc Bill says

    Here’s what happened in Dover, Penn. back in the day. The Dover Area School District voted to teach “intelligent design” creationism in science class and obtained a creation science textbook recently converted to say “intelligent design” instead of creationism. The science teachers said “No.” So, the administration at the school read a two sentence statement about “intelligent design” and told the students they could find the textbook in the library.

    The science teachers refused the mandate on the grounds that it violated their Professional Code of Ethics, and they received no reprimand or blowback of any kind.

    Fast forward, Tammy Kitzmiller sued the school district with her daughter the lead plaintiff, and the court found in favor of Kitzmiller awarding the plaintiffs $2 million. The entire Dover Board of Education was voted out at the next election. Kitzmiller ruled that “intelligent design” creationism was religious creationism with no secular value and violated the Establishment Clause.

    Teachers in Oklahoma could Just Say No. Would we get fireworks or hot air? Bang or whimper? One thing is for sure, this move by Walters is blatantly unconstitutional as ruled by several SCOTUS cases. I can only imagine that the buckle-hatted Calvinists are really feeling their oats after Dobbs et al.

  8. says

    SCOTUS cases? Who the fuck cares about SCOTUS cases anymore? The court doesn’t care about precedent or law anymore anyway.

  9. seversky says

    Perhaps the curriculum should include Critical Bible theory (CBT) which would include a long, hard, skeptical review of the many less savory parts of the Old Testament which Walters and his ilk are wont to ignore, if they were ever aware of them in the first place.

  10. raven says

    Critical Bible Theory would also include the fact that much of the bible is fiction and mythology.

    The Garden with the magic Trees of Knowledge and Life never existed.
    Neither did its two original inhabitants, Adam and Eve.
    The Big Boat flood genocide never happened either.

    The genocide of the Canaanites by the incoming Israelis escaping slavery in Egypt never happened either.
    The early Israelis were just another tribe of…Canaanites.

  11. raven says

    DOH Responds to MO AG Emergency Rule

    City of St. Louis (.gov)
    https://www.stlouis-mo.gov › departments › health › news
    Apr 21, 2023 — Last week, Missouri’s Attorney General issued an emergency rule placing extreme restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare in Missouri, …

    Judge blocks Missouri AG’s rule limiting transgender health …
    Missouri Independent https://missouriindependent.com › 2023/05/01 › judge-…
    May 1, 2023 — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is still blocked from enforcing an emergency rule limiting gender-affirming care after a St. Louis …

    This is the case I was comparing to Oklahoma’s fatwa on forced religion.

    Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey issued an emergency rule prohibiting medical care for Trans people in Missouri.
    It turns out that the Attorney General has no such power to issue any sort of emergency rules about anything.
    AGs enforce the laws. They don’t make the laws up as they go along.

    A judge in Missouri promptly blocked him.

    These christofascists are simply power mad and don’t care one bit about the rule of law.
    Like Family Values, the GOP claim to favor Law and Order is a lie.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    In the state that orders schools to display the ten (or eleven, ot twelve depending on how you read them) commandments there are many ideas on how to interpret the law to frustrate the intent while obeying the letter of the law. You could have a font that highlights certain words that put the commandments in an unpleasant light, you could place posters of other excerpts of the bible next to it to rob the commandments of attention, you could post the commandments in reverse order or upside down.
    Myself I suggest posting that other, rival set of commandments.
    Also, post the parts of killing children by smashing their heads against stones.

  13. Dennis K says

    These christofascists are simply power mad and don’t care one bit about the rule of law.

    On the contrary — They care very much about the law, which explains the mad push of all this regressive bullshit in various states in the hopes of getting it taken up by a very christofascist-friendly SCOTUS.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Let the teachers read the sleep-inducing parts. Or the fun stuff about she-bears killing teenagers who made fun of a bald prophet.
    The devil showing Jesus the whole (flat) world from the top of a mountain is my favv part.

  15. KG says

    seversky@9,
    Why just the “Old Testament” (more accurately, the Jewish Bible or Tanakh)? I’ve just finished a years-long project to read the entire KJV* and believe me, there’s plenty of nasty stuff in the “New Testament” – above all, but by no means alone, the final “Book of Revelation”, a prolonged sadistic reverie. And despite what you may have heard (even from many atheists including Dawkins), Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels is a rather unpleasant character, forever sneering at his disciples – who according to the text gave up everything to follow him – for failing to understand who he is and what is going on.

    *OK, I admit I skimmed a bit in Numbers.

  16. Hemidactylus says

    Given Project Blitz which may soon be superseded by Project 2025, I can only think that Christian Nationalists are inviting lawsuits in the hopes of getting establishment clause jurisprudence reversed and exercise clause made ascendent under a friendlier SCOTUS that may aid and abet the sledgehammering of Jefferson’s wall.

  17. cheerfulcharlie says

    John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments. – Jesus Christ
    Why the ten commandments in our schools? Mark 10, Luke 18, Matthew 19. Jesus tells us to follow them. But they leave off the punch line. Sell all you have and give to the poor. You want Bible in the schools, yes, lets do that, but the whole Bible including all the commands of Jesus.

    Christian nationalists: “Jesus didn’t mean ME!” Yes he did.
    Mark 10, Luke 12, 14, 18, Matthew 19.
    my new hobby horse. Plus Matthew 6:5-6 No public praying.
    Matthew 5, no religious oaths. Like the Pledge Of allegiance with its “under God”.
    Matthew 25. Help the poor, the unfortunate or burn. No slashing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, ACA. My new hobby horses starting this year. Wait until the kiddies start learning Jesus commands we all sell everything we have and give to the poor. That will make Christianity real popular. Ryan Walters has no e-mail address on his official site. But he has an X account he uses. I just resurrected my old Twitter account I set up but never used. It is time to ask Walters to walk that Jesus walk. No more spiritual counterfeits, false Christianity that ignores Jesus’s commands.

    Jesus commands it. Thee Bible proves it. That settles it! Long term, doing stuff like this might be the only way to take the fun out of all this religious demagoguery.

  18. outis says

    Raven and KG have a point.
    If teachers were really to teach the bible, the state would have to contend with an unstoppable flood of young atheists, post haste. Partic’larly when they dwell on those juicy episodes of slavery, murder, infenticide, genocide et al.
    It seems quite counter-productive and in fact the catholic church, no complete suckers they, forbids unsupervised scripture reading – ya need a priest to bowdlerize it for you. If not, bad things happen…

  19. cheerfulcharlie says

    Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt. in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precidents [sic] already furnished in their short history.
    – James Madison Detached memorandum.

    Ryan Walters (and others) are claiming separation of religion and government is a myth. Despite specific claims to the contrary from Madison, Jefferson and other founding fathers. Willful militant ignorance. Madison’s detached memorandum, the part on religion tells us how some founding fathers want to cram Jesus into governement and were repeatedly voted down. Worth reading if one want real history of all of this.

    I am now post on X on Walter’s account. I am posting there as Oona Crabeyes. He can reply to Oona. He will lose. Or ignore Oona, who will educate the hoi polloi without interference.

    Yeehaw! I am finding Ryan Walters to be incredibly ignorant. No, I am not harassing Ryan. I am educating him. And his followers.

  20. vereverum says

    @#21 cheerfulcharlie
    ” I am finding Ryan Walters to be incredibly ignorant”
    A critical error in thought. He knows his audience, he knows what he wants. And since the Oklahoma Supreme Court said he can’t give tax money to the Roman Catholic Church for their church school in the Charter Schools program and he’s been told he can’t use department funds to hire PR companies for self promotion, what else can he do? Free self promotion. I just bought 6 pounds of popcorn in preparation for the coming show.

  21. raven says

    https://kfor.com/news/local/can-osde-mandate-schools-teach-the-bible-supt-announces-new-requirement

    LOCAL
    Can OSDE mandate schools teach the Bible, Supt. announces new requirement
    by: Dylan Brown / KFOR Posted: Jun 27, 2024 / 07:08 PM CDT

    Just a couple of weeks ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that local school boards have the final say to determine which books and instructional materials are deemed to be appropriate in Oklahoma classrooms.

    However, it took thousands of dollars in attorney fees to come to that conclusion. That was an opinion that was given over a year ago by the Oklahoma AG and many lawmakers said that OSDE spending money throughout that case was a waste. If a “requirement” is made of the Bible, officials said that would be yet another waste of taxpayer dollars.

    It turns out as I suspected, that Ryan Walters the christofascist, in fact doesn’t have the legal authority to require that the bible be taught in Oklahoma schools.

    “Just a couple of weeks ago, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that local school boards have the final say to determine which books and instructional materials are deemed to be appropriate in Oklahoma classrooms.

    The local school boards determine which books and instructional materials are deemed to be appropriate.
    Which actually is just as bad or worse than having the clown Ryan Walters decide. I’m sure some of the local school boards in Oklahoma make him look like a woke liberal.

  22. cheerfulcharlie says

    Yes, but he is actively posting on X. He wants an audience? he gets one. But his nonsense gets answered. Yes, Jesus commands, Ryan must obey! Obviously he has not really read the Bible carefully. Oona Crabeyes is reading those bits to him. and his followers. He is an easy target. So far I am just getting started. I doubt he will answer back because all he will have is name calling. I am starting in on Greg Abbott also. Sell all you have and give to the poor, No public prayer. Matthew 25. Help the poor or burn! Gormless Christian: “WTF? For Real? Jesus says I have to sell all I have?”. Make all these goof READ the Bible, really read it for the first times in their lives.

    Maybe I should poke at Charlie Bigmouth Kirk a bit.

  23. raven says

    Ryan Walters:
    Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters issued a directive to all public schools ordering them to incorporate the Bible as an instructional support in the classroom.

    This is pretty vague. Vague to the point of being meaningless.
    What is an instructional support. It’s not defined.

    “Doing so is a crucial step in ensuring our students grasp the core values and historical context of our country, Walters said.

    This is an assertion and it is obviously wrong.
    The bible has more or less nothing to do with the core values and historical context of the USA.

    Democracy isn’t mentioned in the bible despite the concept being well known during biblical times. Jesus says to obey the secular authorities which at the time were the Roman conquerors.

    About the only core value the bible has anything to do with was the economic system that used slavery. The bible condones slavery and it is all through the bible from the start to the end. Jesus was OK with slavery, never said one word against it.

    In remarks to the board, Walters went further than his own memo, saying that every teacher, every classroom in the state will have a Bible in the classroom and will be teaching from the Bible in the classroom.

    He doesn’t have the legal authority to make anyone do that.
    He just lost a court case on exactly that point.

  24. raven says

    Jesus says I have to sell all I have?

    Jesus also said males should cut off their testicles “if they can bear it.”
    No one is ever brave enough to do it though.

  25. John Morales says

    <peers>

    The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, in addition to serving as chair of the Board, serves as the chief executive officer of the Department and is elected by the voters of Oklahoma every four years. The current State Superintendent of Public Instruction is Ryan Walters.

    (https://sde.ok.gov/about)

    I see the problem.

  26. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Surely then, for ‘historical context’, students must learn Yahweh’s behavior when people fail to do everything he commands…
     
    SAB – Jeremiah

    Jeremiah has a bad reputation. It is well deserved. If I were God, I’d be really pissed. Here are some of the awful things Jeremiah says about, or attributes to, God.
    […]
    – He will send lions, wolves, and leopards to tear people to pieces.
    […]
    – He will pour out his anger on both man and beast. Not even the trees will be spared from his wrath. And the ground itself will burn forever. […] People will choose to kill themselves, rather than be killed by their vicious God. […] He will kill children, make more widows than there are grains of sand, terrorize cities, and then kill the survivors.
    […]
    – When the people ask why God is killing everyone, he answers by saying, “Because your fathers have forsaken me.”

    – He will make parents eat their own children, and friends eat each other.

    He’d threatened as such in Leviticus 26 / Deuteronomy 28.

  27. Doc Bill says

    On to the threats!

    In an interview with NBC, Walters stated that any teacher who refuses the mandate could lose their teaching license. He chairs the panel that can revoke teaching licenses.

  28. whywhywhy says

    Where are the other Christians? There should be a fight amongst them to determine which bible is placed in the classroom. (Similar with which Ten Commandments in LA.) If they are push stupid policy, might well have them fight amongst themselves so that I can spend more time in the garden.

  29. says

    Acts 4:32-35:

    All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

    Blatant communism. This is exactly why it’s so important to the theocrats that the bible is taught “correctly”.

  30. gijoel says

    “Alright class,settle down. Today we’re going to learn about Adam and Eve, and why you should, at the very least, put a pool fence around the things you don’t want your children to touch.”

    “Onan was a practicing catholic. Unfortunately, god is a bit petty.”

    “… and that’s why if you think the world has ended, don’t get your dad drunk so that he’ll impregnate you. That’s all kinds of wrong.”

  31. vereverum says

    @#32 LykeX
    “This is exactly why it’s so important to the theocrats that the bible is taught “correctly””
    And from the proper version which your quote is not.
    I once tried to give someone a commentary by John Calvin, but he refused it because John Calvin did not use the King James Version.
    @#31 whywhywhy
    “Where are the other Christians? There should be a fight amongst them…”
    not time yet, see Philadelphia, 1844, they have to be installed and in use.

  32. vereverum says

    @#25 raven
    “This is an assertion and it is obviously wrong”
    not only that but according to the bible, George III was God’s choice to rule over the colonies. Any revolution would be directly against God’s will.
    Oh, and another thing, Walters got OSDE a Truth Social account so people can get the straight truth.

  33. Prax says

    @raven #26,

    Jesus also said males should cut off their testicles “if they can bear it.”
    No one is ever brave enough to do it though.

    I’m getting an orchiectomy soon. I look forward to my VIP privileges in the kingdom of heaven.

  34. says

    In remarks to the board, Walters went further than his own memo, saying that “every teacher, every classroom in the state will have a Bible in the classroom and will be teaching from the Bible in the classroom.”

    Even in physics, math, and US history classes?

    PS: I notice that when I selected the above quote to copy & paste in here, the quotation marks were not included in the selected text, even though they were well within the range of my selection. Not a big deal, just kinda weird.

  35. redwood says

    My very favorite Wolf Blitzer interview, after a tornado in Oklahoma:

    Wonder how many others there are like her.

  36. jrkrideau says

    If I were teacher in Oklahoma, this is the point where I’d be sending my CV to schools in other states,

    Hell, try a new country, Australia sounds nice. Or A friend says good things about New Zealand.>

  37. says

    If only America had places dedicated to teaching the bible where parents could take their children so they didn’t have to rely on public schools…

  38. Mike McDowell says

    I wonder if they’ll teach (preach) this:

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”

    ~ 1 Timothy 2:12

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