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Oklahoma's education secretary says schools should teach children "Christian values" and belief in God

Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters (second from right) in a photo posted to social media on January 9, 2022.
Secretary of Education Ryan Walters
Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters (second from right) in a photo posted to social media on January 9, 2022.

Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters said Thursday that the state's schools should teach students that they should lead Christian lifestyles.

Schoolchildren "need to know that America is the greatest country in the history of the world because of the principles this country was built upon, because we believe that individual rights were given to you by God, and because we believe that morality and Christian values are the way to live your life," Walters said, in a video panning "left-wing indoctrination."

Walters, an appointed member of Gov. Kevin Stitt's cabinet, is currently running in the Republican primary for state superintendent of public instruction, the state's highest elected education office.

Walters praised House Bill 1775, a bill passed by the state legislature and signed into law last year to restrict the manner in which schools can discuss topics like systemic racism, widely sold as a ban on so-called "critical race theory" despite not mentioning critical race theory, which is an advanced-level academic framework taught primarily in graduate and law schools.

"In the state of Oklahoma, there will be no state-sponsored racism," Walters, a history teacher, said.

"I am so glad that we will keep left-wing indoctrination out of our schools," he said.

The promotion of one faith or religious tradition as preferable to others in public school settings is a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.