Okla. school district rejects Hobby Lobby bible class

Thanks to FFRF’s efforts, Mustang Public Schools in Mustang, Okla., is canceling plans to conduct a bible course developed by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, a zealous evangelical Christian.

Superintendent Sean McDaniel emailed in November that “the topic of a bible course in the Mustang School District is no longer a discussion item nor is there a plan to provide such a course in the foreseeable future.”

The district’s announcement came in response to a follow-up open records request to the district from FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, in conjunction with Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Lipper, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson and Daniel Mach of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

FFRF led the charge against the proposed class in April when the school board voted to approve Green’s curriculum. Seidel researched the curriculum, entitled “The Book, the Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact of the World’s Best-selling Book,” and pointed out numerous flaws with the course, which the billionaire Green wants to be implemented in schools around the country.

Americans United and ACLU later also wrote letters and joined FFRF’s most recent records request.

McDaniel said two “non-negotiables” the school had requested from Hobby Lobby were not met, namely that the district be permitted to review the final curriculum before introducing it and that Hobby Lobby commit to providing legal coverage to the district.

Through its first records request, FFRF learned that the curriculum contained heavy Christian bias. FFRF also criticized Green for encouraging the school board to circumvent open meetings laws by inviting school representatives to meet at Hobby Lobby headquarters in nearby Oklahoma City on the same day in two different groups at different times.

Hobby Lobby’s first commitment, according to its website, is “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles.” The company brought a challenge resulting in a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that said corporations with religious objections could defy the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Green is also planning an $800 million bible museum to open in 2017 in Washington, D.C., clearly intended to influence Congress.

“This development is a victory not only for reason and the law but for the inviolable right of a captive audience of students to be free from indoctrination in a public school setting,” commented Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president.

Freedom From Religion Foundation