Monday, December 9, 2019

How You Can Help Me Defend the Gospel in the Cultural Mission Field

On November 29, 2019, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary terminated my employment. The documentation for what happened with my termination can be found here. I shared the gospel in the popular culture. My testimony encouraged people to see themselves as God defined them rather than accept the "born this way" myth so popular among gay activists. The Seminary did not want the attention brought by this issue. So I was fired for sharing the gospel.

This is demoralizing, but I am working in other areas that can present a positive gospel message to the culture. I wrote a play, Lady and the Girl, which premiered on December 6 in a soft launch in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. As you can see from this link, the theatrical piece brought the gospel message through a dramatic narrative of Mary Todd Lincoln and her friendship with the freed slave, Elizabeth Keckley. You can go to this link to see pictures of what we did, and to support this ministry:

https://www.givesendgo.com/robertlopezmission

While the termination from Southwestern disturbs me greatly, I am focusing my energy on new paths going forward. It would be an honor to have your support! Here is the cast of Lady and the Girl. We want to bring the show to African American churches for Black History Month and to Europe. God bless you all!


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

WHY CRITICAL RACE THEORY IS WRONG.

Critical race theory and intersectionality are wrong. I maintain this even though I advocate firmly for multicultural diversity. I have sustained attacks from both left and right. In fact, on Facebook calls for my firing came both from a left-wing person who accused me of racism for criticizing abortion and drag queen story hour, and from a right-wing person who accused me of doubting capitalism and sympathizing with left-wing social justice warriors.

To understand why critical race theory is wrong, I ask that you first break down how, as educators, we lead people from a classical curriculum to critical race theory.

Consider the most problematic quote I ever heard while teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: "You came here to teach Western civilization, not to teach multiculturalism." This insulted me beyond belief. It also reflected profound ignorance. Multiculturalism is part of Western civilization, starting with the quadrivium of ancient cultures that fed it: Greek, Roman, Hebrew, and Christian. Remember that other cultural and ethnic identities that arose in the development of the West gradually became additional components of an organic whole that accommodated and sprang from a great deal of cultural difference.

A classical curriculum involves teaching students about the foundational tensions among various cultural identities. So if we are objective and consistent classics and ethnic studies mirror each other (as long as we resist the political biases that impose a false right-wing or left-wing inflection on them, respectively.)

In a classical curriculum, you do not teach "critical thinking" or "worldview" to students. You teach students what happened and what great people have said. You provide them this content, drawing from the many different cultural sources that produced the history, literature, and ideas that interacted with each other in each era from antiquity to the present.

I believe, absolutely, that we have to teach students Greek and Roman texts, as well as Anglo-American, British, French, African-American, Mexican-American, Chinese-American, Brazilian, Moroccan, etc., texts. We show students what happened in the history of these groups. We let them enjoy the great aesthetical texts that each group has produced.

Critical race theory and even worse, intersectionality, are shockingly devoid of content. There is no substance there, simply a lot of generalizations and postures, and unchallenged postulations about the way different groups relate to each other. It is possible to be a committed critical race theorist without having read much African American literature or much literature from the European traditions that became "white" people groups.

To get an institution or a student constituency to critical race theory, you first have to get them from substantial content to theory; then you must get them to critical theory; then you get them to critical race theory and throw intersectionality on top of it.

I caution fellow conservatives that often the first warning signs of an encroaching critical race theory are not critical race theory texts, but rather a general fascination with theory devoid of content. You see, this is how this goes:

1. First, they eliminate history and literature from the curriculum. Students get only the barest and often weakest sense of what has happened in the past and what great people had to say about anything.

2. They replace content with abstract conversations that amount merely to generalized theories devoid of context and uprooted from any specifics.

3. Once students are immersed in theory without content, then the professor asks them to engage in critique (the "critical" part). Since the students have no base of content to inform their critiques, they draw critical postures from within themselves, which means they retreat more and more into a narcissistic exercise of analyzing their own feelings and projecting these onto broad paradigms that have nothing to do with larger trends from the world as it has existed.

4. Now that you have students in "critical theory" mode, where they are accustomed to perceiving aimless opinions as serious intellectual work, and they have lost the ability to memorize facts or past texts, you throw them into discussions about race. Since race is a sensitive topic, minorities are largely aggressive while whites are largely defensive or apologetic. The more tension and strife this fruitless discussion causes, the more people feel that some important work is being accomplished, when there has been no expansion of knowledge whatsoever.

5. Now you have brought students to critical race theory. As they begin to notice that conversations are shallow and repetitive, you create the illusion of sophistication by reproducing the same discourse with race replaced by gender, sexuality, class, or other identities that actually have nothing to do with race.

The overall ignorance, futility, and delusion of this entire exercise is terrible for minorities, who have been systematically deprived of a deep education about their own cultural heritage while also being forced into a contemporary political position that has little to do with their human identity. Since minorities have often been exploited, uprooted, and stereotyped in the past, critical race theory furthers more of the same abuse even though it appears on the surface that minorities are given sympathy and attention.

Reading African American literature is actually the opposite of critical race theory. If you read the texts, you give students the tools to build their worldview. As their tools become more varied, they will be inclined to think critically about whatever is presented to them. You don't teach critical thinking or worldview to students. You teach them history and literature then let them grow into the thinkers they will become.

If you worry about critical race theory --as you should--you should be on the lookout first for changes in seminaries that lead people away from specifics, away from history and literature and art, toward theory, abstraction, generalization, and open-ended conversation.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

5 SHORT VIDEOS ON THE EQUALITY ACT--YOU SHOULD OPPOSE IT!

In case you need to be walked through the specifics of the Equality Act and why it is so crucial to block its passage, I have made five short videos here, walking through the specifics of (1) the preamble of the bill, (2) Sections 1-2 on "findings," (3) the bill's redefinition of "public accommodations", (4) the bill's warping of the racial history behind desegregation of public accommodations, and (5) the bill's abuse of educational institutions and the ways it would force schools to protect predators and disruptive students to the disadvantage of vulnerable students.

PART 1: The Preamble


PART 2: The Fake "Findings"


PART 3: The Harmful Distortion of "Public Accommodations"


PART 4: The Abuse of the Racial History of Desegregation


PART 5: The Bill Will Force Schools to Allow Predators and Disruptive Students to Harm Vulnerable Students

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hearing D.C. McAllister's Side of the Story

The firing of Denise McAllister, known as D.C. McAllister, from Daily Wire and the Federalist, was an obvious blow to many conservatives. Here we see a strong conservative voice with a lot of pop culture appeal driven off two platforms often known for defending free speech. It was my great honor to interview Denise and get her take on it all. 

Warning: Some Disturbing Content Not Appropriate for Children


You can here it on Soundcloud or by video:



Take a listen at https://www.bitchute.com/video/Dm5bfZ3A4VEq/ or below:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ RESOLUTION ON WHISTLEBLOWERS


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On Southern Baptist Whistleblowers and Their Freedom of Conscience
April 21, 2019

ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has already suffered the consequences that occur when people who hold ecclesiastical power intimidate church members into silence, as exemplified by (1) the sex abuse crisis reported by the Houston Chronicle, and by (2) dangerous compromises by Southern Baptist groups that partnered with Anglican groups which, as investigators such as Tom Buck discovered, encouraged youth to explore homosexuality and even attend prurient homosexual events—both scandals, among many others, which might have been averted if whistleblowers and informants who knew of such problems had had the opportunity to bring information to the public without retaliation from people in power; and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ demonstrated in His ministry the importance of confronting authorities when they have failed to live out God’s Word or have badly shepherded the flocks to whom God has called such authorities, such as in the following selections from only one gospel: Jesus Christ’s public challenge to scribes in Matthew 9:4; Jesus Christ’s challenge to the Pharisees’ objections to His associations in Matthew 9:12; Jesus Christ’s rejection of the Pharisees’ view of fasting in Matthew 9:15; Jesus Christ’s prophecy that Christians will be brought “over to sanhedrins,” “in their synagogues,” and “before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations” in Matthew 10:16; Jesus Christ’s admonitions to entire generations and entire towns in Matthew 11:16 and Matthew 11:21; Jesus Christ’s confrontation with the Pharisees about the Sabbath in Matthew 12:3; Jesus Christ’s refutation of the Pharisees’ accusations about demons in Matthew 12:25; Jesus Christ’s refusal to provide the scribes and Pharisees with a sign in Matthew 12:39; Jesus Christ’s public charge of hypocrisy against the Pharisees and scribes about dietary law in Matthew 13:7; Jesus Christ’s rejection of the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ prophetic claims in Matthew 16:2; Jesus Christ’s public warning against the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16:6; Jesus Christ’s description of the source of his future tribulations as “the elders, chief priests, and scribes” in Matthew 16:21; Jesus Christ’s public refutation of the Pharisees’ position on divorce in Matthew 19:8; Jesus Christ’s description of his crucifixion as being “handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death” in Matthew 20:18; Jesus Christ’s warning about hierarchies, saying “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them and the men of high position exercise power over them […] It must not be like that among you,” in Matthew 20:25; Jesus Christ’s expulsion of money changers and dove sellers from the temple complex in Matthew 21:12; Jesus Christ’s rebuttal to the chief priests and scribes by assigning moral weight to children and infants in Matthew 21:16; Jesus Christ’s shrewd deflection of condescending interrogation by “chief priests and the elders” in Matthew 21:24; Jesus Christ’s purposeful targeting of the chief priests and the Pharisees as faulty leaders who will lose their kingdom in Matthew 21:45; Jesus Christ’s calling of the Pharisees “hypocrites” about taxation in Matthew 22:18; Jesus Christ’s public claim that the Sadduccees were “deceived, because [they did not know] the Scriptures or the power of God” in Matthew 22:29; Jesus Christ’s public and purposeful deflation of the scribes and Pharisees for not practicing what they preach and loving honors and titles when they are really “broods of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” in the entirety of Matthew 23; all these passages, when taken as a whole, overwhelmingly show that Jesus Christ intended His people not to stay silent before religious authorities whose misdeeds come to people’s attention; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist leaders who invoke “hospitality,” “civility,” and “speaking lovingly,” as hedges against the confrontation of religious authorities, would seem to be in error; insofar as Scripture demonstrates that secrecy and silence in the face of wrongdoing are not godly, as evidenced by the following: 2 Samuel 12:7 (the prophet Nathan did not hold back from revealing King David’s crimes to him); Luke 12:49 (Jesus Christ states, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were set ablaze!”); Luke 9:33 (Jesus Christ’s Transfiguration aligns Him with prophets like Elijah, who confronted Ahab in 1 Kings 18:18 and Jezebel in 1 Kings 21:23); and 1 Corinthians 13:5-6 (the Apostle Paul defines love such that “love does not act improperly…Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth”); and
WHEREAS, Jesus Christ demonstrated in His ministry that secrecy and silence in the face of wrongdoing are rather harmful and ultimately doomed to failure, saying in Matthew 10:26, “there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known… [w]hat I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; what you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the rooftops”; and
WHEREAS, the Apostle Paul calls us to speak openly when we know of things being done under the cover of darkness in Ephesians 5:11-13, saying, “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them [f]or it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret [but] everything exposed by the light is made clear, for what makes everything clear is light”; and
WHEREAS, in Revelation 3:16 we are warned that churches that rely too much on politeness and complacency will not please Jesus Christ in the last days, but rather, it will be said, “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth”; and
WHEREAS, scriptural warnings match what we see occurring to the Southern Baptist Convention in our present time, as decades of fear and silence cultivated by people in power have caused many potential whistleblowers to back away from taking concerns public, and many whistleblowers who have taken concerns public have suffered retaliation and found themselves marginalized within their communities; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist heritage dates back to the Reformation and a profound element of Baptist identity lies in the rejection of any concept of a “pontiff” or “pope” or “archbishop” claiming infallibility, so that our foundations clash with the rise of individuals so influential that they operate beyond the pale of criticism or scrutiny; and
WHEREAS, more than a few employees or members of Southern Baptist entities—including, among many others, employees of churches, professors at Baptist seminaries, pastors at Baptist churches, and others engaged with Baptist churches—have been warned not to criticize leaders in Southern Baptist entities due to a “gentleman’s agreement” or the supposed “eleventh commandment”; and
WHEREAS, some Southern Baptist leaders have misused certain scriptures (among them Matthew 18:15-19, Exodus 20:16, Romans 13:2-5, Ephesians 4:1-6, Ephesians 6:7-8, and 1 Timothy 5:19), mistakenly construing any criticism from any Southern Baptist as a violation of the gospel’s mandate to avoid needless discord, or mistakenly construing any expression of concern as slander, with the result that, for example, professors at one Baptist seminary are forbidden by a “gentleman’s agreement” from criticizing any public figure leading any Southern Baptist organization or associated with any Southern Baptist organization leaders; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention should not use non-disclosure agreements at all insofar as such agreements impose silence on fellow believers by threatening to use the power of the unbelieving world’s legal system to enforce such silence, in violation of Jesus Christ’s warning in Matthew 22:21, to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but to the Lord what is the Lord’s; and
WHEREAS, so long as Southern Baptists unofficially enforce gentleman’s agreements and the eleventh commandment, or make use of non-disclosure agreements on those whom they dismiss or pressure to resign, then potential whistleblowers will face reprisal in the form of church discipline and organizational retaliation to include firing, blacklisting, and/or character assassinations in public forums, with the result that many people will remain silent about corruption, abuse, error, and financial mismanagement in Southern Baptist entities; and
WHEREAS, for the sake of harmony and out of obedience to the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17, we may expect employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to show discretion in questioning or challenging authorities within their own chain of command, yet to extend this mandate from one Southern Baptist organization to the entire leadership and its cronies of the whole Southern Baptist Convention would turn the Convention into a totalitarian cult; and
WHEREAS, the “eleventh commandment” known as “thou shalt not criticize a fellow Baptist publicly” cultivates a climate of fear and silence that can only allow sinful, abusive, or misguided practices to flourish within the Convention and within its organizations, because some Baptist figures who hold powerful positions have availed themselves of their influence to retaliate against their critics by contacting employees, church leaders, or associates in order to apply pressure behind the scenes; and
WHEREAS, no authority figure should be granted such eminence that the gentleman’s agreements, an old boys’ network, the so-called eleventh commandment, and/or non-disclosure agreements can afford the authority figure an airtight shield against necessary and healthy scrutiny or challenge; it should never be the case that an authority figure can, if he chooses corruption or fails to see how he has become corrupted, ignore or dismiss private criticisms, and then deflect public criticism by claiming that critics can only challenge him privately; and/or that an authority figure can ultimately cite false standards such as “civility,” “cordiality,” “hospitality,” “church unity” or “respect” as a way of blocking fellow Southern Baptists from raising concerns or seeking correction to Southern Baptist organizations; and
WHEREAS, trustees, entity leaders, pastors, executives, directors, and other empowered individuals in the Southern Baptist Convention do not own the resources they steward and must act in the interests not of themselves or of their friends but rather of the Kingdom, of the Southern Baptist Convention, of the Southern Baptist people, and of the members of their entities; and all these interests are always best served by transparency, due diligence, and scrutiny to avoid conflicts of interest, corruption, nepotism, error, abuse, and waste; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention affirms that there are only ten commandments in Exodus 20:3-17, and none instructing Southern Baptists to refrain from criticizing Baptist leaders, even publicly if necessary; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “gentleman’s agreements” designed to force silence on people whose livelihoods depend on the Convention due to their service to the Convention; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces “non-disclosure agreements” and calls all Southern Baptist leaders who have imposed them on former employees to repent of them; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention denounces retaliatory actions by Southern Baptist leaders, such as contacting critics’ employees or charges in order to threaten critics’ jobs or standing within their community; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls all Southern Baptists to proclaim and avail themselves of their freedom of conscience, since our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told us in John 8:32, “the Truth will set you free.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

God's Voice Conference, Compensation, and the Conservatives' Funding Crisis

Robert Oscar López
Dear Colleagues, Friends, Allies, and Anyone Else Who Cares,

On February 22-23, 2019, in Oklahoma City, a conference will take place called "God's Voice." You can peruse the website for this conference at http://www.godsvoice.us. I served as a committee member for this conference and also intended to speak at the event. Early versions of the conference website list my name. 

I will not attend the conference as a speaker or as an organizer. I do not serve currently on the planning committee. I would prefer not to comment on this change but some people have questioned what my withdrawal from God's Voice means.

We have, perhaps, a teachable moment on our hands.

Four planners still serve on the committee--Janet Mefferd, Tom Littleton, Stephen Black, and Peter LaBarbera. They are good people. I support their work and agree with the vast majority of what they say. 

I encourage people to attend the God's Voice Conference. If they offer you a chance to speak at it, I would recommend that you take the opportunity and go.

But some have asked me to explain further. 

The conference will attract its own controversy because of the subject matter (a "biblical response to the queering of the church"). Also because of who the organizers are (people know them as fighters who do not back down.) 

Because of the controversy, a few people want me to disown the conference or disavow the people on the committee. I will not do that.

I withdrew from God's Voice due to a problem that needs more attention within our conservative and Christian movements. Quite simply, I cannot afford to go. 

For the last eleven years I have been heavily involved in both conservative and Christian causes. I sustained financial losses to defend them. My wife and children have paid the price for what has amounted to my "donation" of uncompensated labor.

Conservative activists and leaders have expected me to risk my family's sustainability by traveling and dueling over political questions. Since 2008 they have pressured me to take public stances that alienate colleagues and isolate me within my field. Then the backlash comes. I find myself abandoned and forced to clean up the mess.

Most in the pro-family movement ignore, minimize, or dismiss the toll this takes on families like mine. They often expect me to swallow the loss, anger more people I need as professional allies, and as one person told me, "shut up and back off." 

For years I went along with this. But I noticed that when their financial support is at risk, they will turn into compromisers and placaters. Recently allies asked that I refrain from scrutinizing or publicly questioning certain churches about their problematic practices. They wanted to protect the financial viability of ministries that would go under without the churches' support.

To which I finally asked, "what about my going under?" Many conservative and Christian leaders fail to step back and consider the sacrifices and risks that their foot soldiers take to work on their projects. Often they hide money and call in favors to protect their funders, even when they loudly call out others for selling out.

I cannot judge people for needing to feed their families. I will not judge them. But I need to feed my family too. I have to stop doing things for free which hurt my wife and children. In an ideal world, Christian activists would see this and understand it. But we do not live in an ideal world.

Tom and Janet have heroically sought to expose the financial corruption that undergirds and makes possible the "queering of the church." Queer subversives have made inroads into the churches because of money. Many people in the conservative and Christian world played tricks with their money in the past. They have financial secrets, especially debts. They need bailouts, which often come in the form of secret or "dark" money with strings attached. 

I stood up and fought for the truth in the last year because I believe truth deserves a fight. Dallas police officers physically removed Tom Littleton from the Southern Baptist Convention at the same event where Vice President Mike Pence spoke, where the Southern Baptists dealt with a firestorm over the firing of Paige Patterson, and where my resolution supporting reparative therapy got rejected whereas the convention passed countless resolutions affirming threadbare social-justice issues or thanking rich people. I wrote about these affairs when they were radioactive. 

Seeing power games this dangerous, a smart detective knows to follow the money trail.

Like most Christian denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention finds itself desperate for money. Churches are losing members, particularly white people. They need to do special outreach to people of color to save themselves from dissolution. They need to play up to wealthy foundations. The typical family foundation is a big pot of money that began when Grand Pappy, who struck it rich somewhere, became a Baptist. Typically a Grand Pappy found Jesus in the post-Civil War days of robber barons and plucky inventors. As his generation died off, later generations changed the family lineage. Among the great-grandchildren, some liberal descendant who partied for four years at an Ivy League school and has lots of gay friends now decides who gets the money. 

I smelled this game long ago. I once wrote a novel called The Melville Affair. It remains unpublished. One of the main characters, Austan Melville, was an heir to a Texas oil fortune and a flaming gay socialite living in Manhattan. Austan's ancestor was Baptist preacher "Habakkuk Magpie" who changed his name to Melville when he saw a rack of library books dedicated to Herman Melville. Habakkuk and his son Rufus wanted respect from the world at large so they took the surname Melville and started a charitable trust. 

Austan, a great-great-grandson of Habakkuk, was the favorite of his grandmother. She had no idea about his sexual antics. Everyone in the family covered for him until she died and left Austan in charge of the family foundation. 

Austan uses the money to gather an entourage of cloying pornographers producing "art" that really amounts to photographs that demean young Latino boys and display them for profit. The main protagonist in Melville Affair, Dodson Silva, falls prey to Austan Melville's seduction. Austan throws him away when he realizes that Dodson sees the racism and hypocrisy in his family's cultured veneers. 

In Melville Affair, three rich white families complicate life for the ensemble cast of Latino characters affected by their schemes. The Melvilles are one family. Another, the Buckleburns, are old Yankee aristocrats who ended up on the right side for hundreds of years. Then the Turtleshells, a shady media dynasty with a fake name, descended from Andreas, refugee fleeing the war-torn Balkans in the late 1940s. 

Anglo money ends up toxic to poor Latinos trying to get ahead in the creative arts. Latino characters like Evelyn Morales, Oscar Coronado, Richie Rosas, and Angélica Crespo get entangled in conflicts they did not choose. They try earnestly to share their talents with the world and get dragged into the nightmares of nonprofit foundations, political action committees, and media megaliths controlled by these wealthy white people behind the scenes.

I wrote Melville Affair first in 1998 as "the Latino Bronze Age" and kept developing it until it reached its final form in 2008. I mention this to say I have noticed the problem of Baptist money for a long time--long before I had any idea I would ever be Southern Baptist, live in Texas, or have anything to do with debates about Mike Pence or Tom Littleton.

Southern Baptists must walk a tightrope and not fall down on either side of the wire.

If they openly affirm homosexuality and trans politics, they will lose more Christians, who will exit the churches. 

If they play hardball and stick to the scripture on sexuality issues, they will lose the Melvilles and Buckleburns whose money they need to keep going. 

So they invite and honor Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana and VP of the USA. He vetoed the religious freedom act that would have protected many Christians from persecution similar to what I suffered. Of course Pence had to do that back then, to protect his career. And Southern Baptists had to invite him to speak at the convention, to protect their careers. They had to sink my resolution, to protect something somewhere too.

Tom and Janet have done important and courageous work to expose these financial corruptions. For that reason, the God's Voice conference matters. It will do important work.

But my situation differs. For a whole decade I gave my pound of flesh to pro-family causes. I will continue to fight for them as I can. But we cannot ignore the quandary of how Christians are going to make a living. We cannot simply attack and attack and expose and criticize. 

To present at God's Voice, I would have to sacrifice a great deal. I would have to spend my money and time. Instead of attacking people whose money comes from questionable places, I want to work with people to build something sustainable that I can get behind. I do not need to be on a stage and on the radio fighting battles on a dozen fronts.

I choose this way because I know the reality of my family's needs. But others who can make the sacrifices necessary to attend and support an effort like God's Voice should absolutely do it.


Irregardless, we all have to figure out how people in our movement can support themselves on terms they can live with.

By the way this transmission is worth listening to, by Joe Goodson. https://www.facebook.com/CentralTexasCCC/videos/309052693050258/

----ROBERT OSCAR LOPEZ