Universal Life Church Case Law
Phone: (614) 715-9048 Fax: (614) 715-9049
Email: info@ulccaselaw.com
ULC Case Law
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington, D.C. 20006


Oklahoma Allows Students to Pursue “Elective” Religious Training

June 27th, 2024

The intersection between religion and education has always been a tricky subject in U.S. schools as evidenced by recent developments.
Oklahoma doubles-down on religious training as a valid alternative to public school curriculum during the school day.

A new bill in Oklahoma would allow students to pursue their own elective religious training. Although this training will occur outside of public school premises, it will still happen during school hours. This bill has raised numerous issues about the mixing of church and state, which is supposed to be federally prohibited by the United States Constitution. How exactly does this bill work, and what does it say about the connection between public education and religion in America today?

HB 1425’s Religious Training Explained

Governor Stitt signed the legislation into law in June 2024, stating that it provides an important “framework” for how religious education should be handled. The bill’s author made sure to remind Oklahoma residents that students have had the right to leave school for religious or “moral” education since 2014. 

However, this law goes a few steps further than the previous Oklahoma Parents Bill of Rights. With the passing of this bill, students will soon have the freedom to leave their classrooms during school hours in favor of religious training. This training must have absolutely no connection with the school system, and it must occur outside of school premises. No teacher or staff member can be affiliated with the religious training in any way. This, it would seem, is an attempt to avoid any allegations of connection between church and state. 

Students may end up missing a considerable number of hours to attend their religious training. The bill states that each student may miss up to three class periods a week and a total of up to 125 periods in a year. 

Some Say Taxpayers Should Not Be Funding Religious Training

Critics of the bill say that taxpayers should not be asked to fund religious training. One representative noted:

“Oklahoma’s Parents Bill of Rights] doesn’t say that a parent can permanently take their kid out of class to go do religious activities. The taxpayer should not be providing course credits for religious instruction.”

However, the Supreme Court ruled on this issue almost 75 years ago, deciding that it was acceptable for students to leave their campus during the day for religious classes. The only requirement? No public funds must be involved in any way. 

Children Could Leave School to Attend Satanic Lessons

The Satanic Temple has a tendency to become involved in these discussions, and it has already made its voice heard. Even before the bill was signed, the Temple announced plans to launch its “Hellion Academy of Independent Learning” (HAIL) for any students who want to participate. To make this situation even more unbelievable, students could actually earn credits for attending Satanic training in Oklahoma during school hours. 

This is possible because of the illegality of religious discrimination in the United States. If Oklahoma allows one religious organization to provide training outside of school, then it has no other choice but to allow other religious organizations to do the same. The Satanic Temple is a federally recognized church, and it has every right to offer these classes under the United States Constitution. The real question is whether any parents in Oklahoma will enroll their students. 

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

Each week, the Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy cases involving the required separation between church and state. Despite required Constitutional separation, many fear that the Supreme Court’s current majority could erode these foundational constitutional principles. Our blog focuses on describing matters in a way that objectively examines both sides and which can be easily understood by readers. 

Leave a Reply