Okla. Supt. Walters’ war on secular public education goes nuclear, FFRF warns

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is renewing its vow to stop Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters’ Christian nationalist takeover of public schools after his announcement that he’ll be bringing in three leading theocrats to oversee the curriculum.

In a shocking memo released yesterday, Walters proclaimed there will be a “complete overhaul to Oklahoma’s social studies standards” that will “incorporate the introduction of the Bible as an instructional resource.” This comes just two weeks after he sent a memo to state school districts ordering them to include the bible “as an instructional support into the curriculum” for grades five through 12.

To lead the state’s executive review committee, Walters has selected a veritable who’s who of Christian nationalist propaganda and misinformation: David Barton, Dennis Prager and Kevin Roberts.

“It’s clear that Walters’ Christian nationalist dream team will no doubt twist Oklahoma’s social studies curriculum to perpetuate the myth that America is a Christian nation,” charges FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “Ryan Walters wants to employ the machinery of the state to indoctrinate Oklahoma’s students with his distorted Christian nationalist view of history — and he wants the taxpayers to fund it.”

David Barton is a disgraced pseudohistorian, an evangelical Christian political activist and the founder of WallBuilders, one of the main driving forces behind a revisionist rewriting of U.S. history to posit it as a “Christian nation.” Barton has been caught repeatedly lying about earning a Ph.D., and his book, “The Jefferson Lies,” was so full of bogus quotes it was pulled by the original publisher.

Dennis Prager is founder of PragerU and PragerU Kids, which is not an academic institution, and is in fact little more than a glorified YouTube Channel promulgating what Prager himself admits is a form of “indoctrination.” It spreads anti-Muslim rhetoric and conspiracy theories and its declared purpose is to promote “Judeo-Christian values.” Walters has already irresponsibly allowed PragerU’s videos to be used in Oklahoma’s classrooms.

Kevin Roberts is president of the Heritage Foundation, the organization spearheading the infamous Project 2025, a roadmap to an authoritarian White House takeover of power. U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, leader of The Stop Project 2025 Task Force, describes Project 2025 as “a dystopian plot to dismantle our democratic institutions, abolish checks and balances, chip away at church-state separation, and impose a far-right agenda that infringes on basic liberties and violates public will.” The scheme calls for a nationwide system of school vouchers, severe restrictions on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ-plus rights, and maintains that the federal government should “maintain a biblically based, social science-reinforced definition of marriage and family” defined as a “heterosexual, intact marriage.”

Walters hypes these un-American propagandists as “some of the brightest minds available,” claiming: “Their unparalleled expertise will help craft new academic standards that will serve as a model for the nation and help Oklahoma students for years to come.”

Other announced committee members charged with overhauling curriculum are similarly committed to a Christian nationalist viewpoint hostile to America’s secular public school system, which upholds the First Amendment rights of a captive audience of children to an education free from religious coercion. The committee appointees include:

• Everett Piper, former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, best known for his outspoken criticism of “political correctness” and the modern campus culture.

• John J. Dwyer, an adjunct professor of history and ethics at Southern Nazarene University and founder of the Dallas‐Fort Worth Heritage newspaper featuring “an aggressive, uncompromising brand of investigative news reporting unprecedented for contemporary news publications holding an orthodox Christian worldview.” Former Dallas Morning News Senior Editor William Murchison has commented about Dwyer: “How do I know there’s a God? Because, for one thing, he keeps raising up eloquent, decisive champions of the faith: the likes of John Dwyer.”

• David Goodwin, the president of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), which promotes classical Christian education as “a time-tested educational system which establishes a biblical worldview” and “cultivates the seven Christian virtues.” He wrote a book described as “a field guide for remaking school in the United States.”

• Mark Bauerlein, senior editor at First Things, a journal aimed at “advanc[ing] a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.” He recently claimed, “There is no book more important to American history, literature, oratory, art, politics, and theology than King James. Not to put it in the curriculum is educational malpractice.”

• Steve Deace, a conservative political commentator, who hosts “The Steve Deace Show,” often through the lens of his Christian faith, which airs on BlazeTV, a conservative media network founded by Glenn Beck.

• Stacy Washington, host of “Stacy on the Right” show on SiriusXM and author of “Eternally Cancel Proof: A Guide for Courageous Christians Navigating the Political Battlefront.”

FFRF, a national state/church watchdog, has written Walters many times over his intemperate, theocratic pronouncements and actions. It has continually urged him to resign “due to repeated misuse of his office to promote religion in public schools in disregard of his constitutional obligations.” Walters has thrown his support to the unconstitutional Catholic virtual charter school scheme adopted in Oklahoma, which FFRF is suing over and which, in a separate case taken by the state attorney general, the Oklahoma Supreme Court just ruled unconstitutional. Walters has baselessly threatened FFRF with legal action for protesting such First Amendment violations as morning prayer hosted by public schools.

“Action must be taken to ensure that Walters stops using Oklahoma schools as a forum in which to inject his personal — and personally offensive — views to benefit certain Christian adherents,” concludes FFRF’s Barker.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members across the country, including hundreds in Oklahoma. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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