Oklahoma Bill Would Require Schools To Hang The Ten Commandments In Classrooms

Representative Jim Olsen filed the bill saying the Ten Commandments are a critical founding document of this nation. However, the Freedom from Religion Foundation disagrees, claiming the bill promotes religion. They plan to sue the state if it passes.

Wednesday, January 3rd 2024, 6:29 am



A bill has been filed that would require a copy of the Ten Commandments to be hung in all Oklahoma public school classrooms.

Representative Jim Olsen filed the bill saying the Ten Commandments are a critical founding document of this nation.

However, the Freedom from Religion Foundation disagrees, claiming the bill promotes religion. They plan to sue the state if it passes.

Olsen says he filed this bill because he believes the Ten Commandments were the basis for America's legal structure at one time.

"There are over 500 court decisions that cite one of the Ten Commandments because this is recognized as the ethical standard," Olsen said. "It should be for everybody."

Olsen says it's constitutional because the phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the constitution.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters agrees.

"You've seen the left lie about the phrase separation of church and state," Walters said. "It's not in the Constitution; it's what a radical leftist judge said in the 1960s."

But a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Ryan Jayne, senior policy council, says a key point to keep in mind: religion is excluded from the constitution. 

"It was also the first constitution in the history of the world that specifically separated church and state. So, although, of course, many of the founders were Christian, they decided specifically to leave all of that out of the constitution," said Jayne.

Jayne says a 2015 Oklahoma Supreme Court case ruled putting the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol violated the state constitution and that this bill falls in line with this issue.

 "And the reality is that the Oklahoma State Constitution has an even higher wall for protecting the separation between state and church than the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution," said Jayne.

Olsen says it's not meant to promote religion but rather to give students a moral compass.

"Whether we all choose to attend a particular church or not, it's just a good code of conduct and a founding document of our nation," said Olsen.

Jayne says HB 2962 is about religion and shouldn't become state law.

"It begins by saying, I am the Lord thy God, thou shall have no other gods before me. That's not an ethical or moral directive that is applying to anyone in some sort of neutral way," said Jayne.

The legislative session begins February 5th.

If the bill passes, it will go into effect at the start of the next school year.

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