When we look at the secularization of society and the open mockery of biblical history in schools, we are tempted to throw up our hands and say, “What can one person do?” The answer is “lots.” Just consider Mel and Norma Gabler.
Mel and Norma were everyday Americans living quietly around Dallas, Texas. One day, one of their sons came home with an assignment to memorize Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—but without the words “under God.” The teacher’s effort to censor God from school sparked their lifelong crusade to improve the quality of education, especially textbooks.
Their first action was to bring the problem to the attention of local school authorities. As a result of their research, the Gablers began to dig into the content of textbooks and publicize errors and blatant anti-religious ideology.
For more than forty years, the Gablers helped influence what was being taught in government-run schools.
The Gablers founded Educational Research Analysts, a conservative Christian organization that reviews the quality of textbooks submitted for adoption in the state of Texas. Since Texas is the second largest purchaser of high school textbooks in the United States, its decisions influence the content of textbooks nationwide. Publishers sometimes made changes because they knew that pleasing the Gablers would make it easier to get their textbooks accepted in Texas.
For more than forty years the Gablers influenced what children read around the country. The issues important to the Gablers included a biblical definition of marriage, traditional morality, free enterprise, phonetics, and the weaknesses in the theory of evolution.
Mel Gabler died in 2004 and Norma died of Parkinson’s disease in 2007 at age 84. Their lives remind us that individuals can still make a difference.
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