In kindergarten classrooms across Texas, 5-year-olds coming to school for the first time could soon be greeted by picture books, colorful blocks and the words, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”

As those children grow up in the state’s public schools, they could get dedicated time in the day to read the Bible or pray. And if they are going through a hard time, they could turn to a chaplain — rather than a licensed school counselor — for help on campus.

Lawmakers are working to inject Christianity into the state’s public schools through a slate of bills under consideration in the Texas Legislature.

What critics see as an assault on the separation of church and state, supporters argue is a step forward for religious liberty after a major Supreme Court decision last year.

The religious bills are backed by powerful figures both inside and outside the Capitol building and are arriving as Republicans double-down on what is seen as a winning issue to energize their base: accusing public schools of indoctrinating students with a “woke” agenda.

But despite outcries of indoctrination, opponents of the bills warn that they place a premium on promoting a religious viewpoint to children.

“This is certainly moving towards a preferred faith in Texas, which is something that is deeply concerning,” said Joshua Houston, advocacy director for the interfaith group Texas Impact.

On Tuesday, the House gave final approval to a bill that would allow chaplains without state certification to work inside schools.

Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, said the plan is about giving school districts “every tool that we can in the toolbox” to combat mental health problems and other crises. He conceded that districts could eventually replace all counselors with chaplains, and rejected Democrats’ amendments to require parental consent and that schools provide a representative of any denomination if requested by a student, teacher or parent….

Full story in Dallas Morning News.