Ryan Walters Taps Christian Nationalists and Right-Wing Propagandists To Overhaul Oklahoma’s Social Studies Curriculum

Last month, Oklahoma’s Christian nationalist state superintendent of education Ryan Walters announced that the Bible must be taught in all public schools in the state. Now, Walters is taking things a step further, announcing that the state’s social studies curriculum will be overhauled in order to further promote his Christian nationalist worldview.

“The revised standards will incorporate the introduction of the Bible as an instructional resource that Superintendent Walters announced last week as well as the ensuring that social studies reflect accuracy and not political slanted viewpoints,” stated the press release issued by Walters’ office on Tuesday. Walters’ claim is laughable, given that the state’s new curriculum will undoubtedly reflect the “political slanted viewpoints” of the various far-right activists he has appointed to the executive review committee.

Among the participants is Kevin Roberts, the hard-right activist who has pushed the Heritage Foundation into increasingly extreme MAGA territory and is leading the Project 2025 effort to seize control of the federal government should former President Donald Trump win the 2024 election.

In 2023, Right Wing Watch reported:

In a speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of Heritage’s founding, Roberts said the 2024 election “may be our last, best chance to rescue this nation from a woke, socialist left bent on its destruction,” mocked “non-vaccine vaccines” and “useless masks,” declared that there must be no bargaining with the “woke left,” and asserted that “dismantling the woke and weaponized Administrative State” is a matter of national survival. A Heritage ebook about critical race theory suggests that systemic racism cannot exist because racial discrimination is illegal.

Joining Roberts is Everett Piper, the former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a right-wing commentator, and self-proclaimed proud “right-wing religious nut.”

In 2017, RWW reported:

Everett Piper is the president of a Christian college who has found success on the Religious Right speaking circuit by attacking the “ideological fascism” of gay-rights supporters and other liberals, who he says area waging a “war against Christians” in academia and the broader culture. Piper gave a rousing culture warrior’s closing keynote to the 2015 summit of the World Congress of Families, which works to restrict LGBT rights and reproductive freedom around the globe. Piper has described WCF’s critics as “a hateful people who hate anyone who dares stand in their way of hating God.” At a 2015 conference organized by anti-gay activist Jim Garlow, Piper described the Obama White House as “seemingly more aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood than Franklin Graham.” Piper was listed earlier this year as a member of the education committee of the secretive far-right Council for National Policy.

Commentator Dennis Prager will be lending his “expertise” as well, which is ironic given that the educational materials produced by Prager’s own organization are rife with disinformation and right-wing propaganda.

In 2023, RWW wrote:

Dennis Prager is a prominent far-right propagandist whose PragerU videos have been viewed billions of times. Prager argued against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol. Prager is allied with Christian nationalists and promotes their false claims about U.S. history. When Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to Congress and chose a Quran for his ceremonial swearing in, Prager slammed him for not using a Bible, saying, “If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.”

Unhinged far-right broadcaster Steve Deace has also been named a member of Walters’ committee, despite his repeated calls for violence against his political opponents, including openly declaring that he wants to see “antifa members hanging from gallows in Trump ties.”

Finally, and most alarmingly, Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton has been named to Walters’ committee. As RWW has noted before, Barton is almost single-handedly responsible for creating the Christian nationalist myths that the far-right uses to justify its push to enact harmful public policies that weaken the separation of church and state, undermine women’s rights, and deny legal equality to LGBTQ Americans.

RWW profiled Barton in 2023 after Rep. Mike Johnson, who credited Barton with having a “profound influence on me and my work and my life,”was elected Speaker of the House:

David Barton has built an entire career out of misusing, misrepresenting, and outright falsifying history, the Bible, and current events and doing so to promote his Christian nationalist political agenda. He has been highly influential not only within Republican politics, where he has many fans among current and former GOP legislators, but also internationally. On top of that, Barton’s Christian nationalist pseudo-history is shaping both Christian and secular educational institutions across the country.

Barton, who has repeatedly misrepresented his academic credentials and personal history, had his book on Thomas Jefferson pulled by his own publisher in 2012 after it concluded that “basic truths just were not there.”

Undaunted, Barton has soldiered on, repeatedly declaring that Christians who share his far-right worldview are supposed to be choosing our elected leaders and ruling the world because everything must operate according to biblical principles.

Barton falsely insists that our Constitution and entire system of government are based on the Bible and thus asserts that everything from the minimum wage to the income tax to the teaching of evolution are unconstitutional because they supposedly violate Biblical teachings. Barton also believes that there should be literally no limits on the Second Amendment, meaning that average citizens are entitled to own tanks, fighter jets, and even nuclear weapons.

Predictably, Barton takes a far-right position on issues like abortion—going so far as to proclaim that life actually begins before conception—and on LGBTQ issues, asserting repeatedly that AIDS is God’s punishment for sin and therefore a cure will never be found.

In his press release, Walters’ proclaimed that the “unparalleled expertise” of these panelists “will help craft new academic standards that will serve as a mode for the nation and help Oklahoma students for years to come.” In reality, what will likely emerge from this process is a curriculum warped by political bias and riddled with intentional disinformation designed to indoctrinate students with right-wing propaganda.

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