For Media Inquiries

For media requests, quotes, and appearances, Robert O. Lopez is represented by:

Don Otis, Veritas Communications, Inc.
719-275-7775• don@veritasincorporated.com

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reflections on the Day Mankind Killed God

In the Gospel of John, we are told that the last thing Jesus did before He died was drink sour wine from a sponge stuck to a piece of hyssop, or "brush."  "It is finished!" Jesus said. Then He bowed His head, and "gave up His Spirit."

Athanasius of Alexandria convinced me, in his treatise On the Incarnation, that every small detail of Jesus's death mattered--how his trial and conviction proceeded, the twists and turns of a day marred by chanting mobs and haughty bureaucrats, the number of days His body lay in the tomb, the way the tomb was found empty, etc. Indeed everything in the Word of God matters.

God is all-powerful and all-wise, infinite and eternal. That Jesus died in obscurity, without glamour or theatrical spectacle, tell us something about who He is and what His death did for us. Our imperfect minds cannot see God's light automatically. We need help, which God provides by arranging these all-important events in the way He did.

What would it mean if Jesus Christ died in a melodramatic sword fight against hordes of warriors attacking Him from all sides? Perhaps such a scene would have been more entertaining. Maybe the record of His crucifixion would have been recorded in annals recognized all the way in Rome, allowing Jesus's early disciples to skip the heroic evangelizing of Acts.

But our flawed and fallen minds would have missed a crucial meaning in Christ's death. Jesus died, but that was not all that happened that day. Jesus "gave up His Spirit," willingly experiencing death for our sake, but there is something else that happened that day too. Humanity killed Jesus.

The story makes it clear to us that Jesus died for humanity's sins, but humanity's sins also caused His death. The convoluted details of the events leading to the crucifixion always puzzled me. Jesus is betrayed by people close to Him, trapped by high religious authorities who were sneaky and laid rhetorical traps for Him with their riddles and passive-aggressive interrogations, then delivered to Roman authorities who seem utterly unmoved by Him. Pontius Pilate tells the Jewish leaders to kill Him, but the Jewish leaders do not want to, opting instead to have His blood be on Roman hands. Pilate even offers to whip Jesus and then set Him free, but the mob cries out for the violent radical Barrabas to go free; they insist that Jesus be crucified in Barabbas' stead.

Humanity killed Jesus, with the man-made things that are least glorious: gossip, backstabbing, money-grubbing, egotistical insecurity, intellectual laziness, procedural banality, pettiness. There is violence in the Passion too, but nothing brave or praiseworthy--rather pathetic sadists enjoying the little power they have other others who are helpless, whipping someone who is about to die and amusing themselves with crowns of thorns and the sarcastic sign THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Jesus chose to die as He did, lest we ever be confused about what and who killed God. It is our puniness, our small-minded self-absorption, incurious bureaucracies, two-faced deceit, false veneers, vanities, and hypocrisies that led creatures made in God's image to the depravity that killed Jesus Christ. As He died on the cross, He did not look down on a swarm of Napoleons all striving for exceptionalism and fame, and willing to charge into danger to achieve as much. Rather, He looked down and saw the face of smirking clerks, envy-ridden middle managers, narcissists seeking the adulation of dull-witted sycophants. We are meant to weep but not be inspired by human greatness in this story. We are meant to try to see humanity as God must see us: mean-spirited and cruel, for sure, but still tiny and helpless enough to merit the mercy of grace.

The crucifixion story forces me to lament the recurring call for "civility" and "winsomeness" among some Christian leaders of our day. Yes, we must show truth and grace, as the Bible tells us. But grace is not the same as decorum and courtesy. If anything, decorousness and protocol were integral elements in the shameful behaviors by human beings, leading to Christ's death. We are told to be "winsome" when we are discussing major matters of faith, most often, with people who reject God and think Christianity is false. Jesus would have wanted us to show kindness to non-believers, providing them food if they are hungry, and drink if they are thirsty. But Jesus would not have wanted us to be warm and cordial while we sit with people worshiping a golden calf. If "civility" means feigning agreement and accommodation for people who are saying things we know are blasphemies against the Holy Spirit, then it is the same underhandedness and insincerity that pervaded the acts of those who killed Jesus.

It is worth thinking about every personality flaw that contributed to the events culminating in the crucifixion. The religious leaders were egotistical, the commoners were bitterly projecting their own frustrations onto powerless prisoners, the Roman overseers were mediocre wits, countless people in the mobs were simply too scared to defy popular opinion, Peter denied Christ, while Judas greedily chose pieces of silver over his chance to stand with God, and distorted a kiss to make it something destructive and damning.

The villains in the Christ story are not dazzling geniuses like the cartoon foes of Batman and Superman--they are, rather, the pathetic reflections of us at our least noble. There are many ways to honor God on Good Friday. I choose to reflect on all that I might have done that would have contributed, in ways great or small, to the killing of God, were I set down with all my neuroses in an ancient Roman province rather than in the redeemed world of today. We should confess such things to Jesus and repent for doing the very things that killed Him. And we should thank Him for the mercy He showed us, that we might overcome these human weaknesses and become the beautiful creations He always wanted us to become.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Inspection Report from a Lieutenant of the Culture Wars

Robert Oscar Lopez 
Everywhere Christian conservatives speak of a culture war, and increasingly this refers to sexuality. Sometimes the term surfaces so that people can complain that it’s been lost, and that we should stop fighting it. At other times the left uses “culture wars” as a slur denoting everything the right has supposedly done wrong. We are such prudes that we discourage sexual habits leading to genetic engineering, broken marriages, babies for sale, lying to children, and lifelong hygiene problems.

The term “culture war” requires no embarrassment or apologies. While higher education issues warrant books and discussions, academic problems incur lighter consequences than does the collapse of a nation’s moral scaffolding.

The battles over LGBT are peculiarly complex and require particular care from those willing to assess how social conservatives are doing. Attacked constantly by the left, we so-cons have a tendency to spare ourselves and our comrades the added pain of more criticism. But the defenders of true sexuality—the sacred bond between a man and a woman, as set down by God—need to avoid making the mistakes America has made with feckless strategies in the Middle East. We need to learn from the past and pursue strategies that work.

Our ultimate mission is to save souls by bearing witness, specifically, to the truth that homosexuality is both evil in itself and a sinful gateway to other evils. If we lose sight of that truth or doubt whether it is the truth, we will never make headway.

We must show the world first that there are no homosexuals, for no person’s being is defined by one error. Our mission is not against any person, nor against the “flesh and blood” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12, but rather against the “authorities,” “powers of darkness,” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Latino families overwhelmed by LGBT lobby taking over their kids' schools



Caryl Ayala, a Texan teacher, opens up about what she saw happening in a Title 1, majority-Latino elementary school in Texas. Sadly, in Hispanic school districts often parents are scared to confront school administrators about the troubling curriculum forced on their students. The dependence of poor, minority-dominant schools on grants and financial assistance also means oftentimes administrators are gagged and cannot push back against sexually inappropriate curriculum in their schools. This is an interview you have to hear if you are still hearing everywhere that LGBT fits in with multiculturalism. For more reading:

http://massresistance.org/docs/gen3/17b/MR-Texas_Conference_040117/index.html

http://www.massresistancetx.com/2017/03/texan-online-article-on-welcoming.html

http://www.massresistancetx.com/2017/03/klbj-todd-and-don-show-3-9-17-aisd.html

http://www.massresistancetx.com/2017/03/tx-senate-committee-votes-8-1-for-sb-6.html

How can we get more Latinos to stand up as bravely as Caryl has?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Higher Ed is Hot in the News--More Interviews/Commentary on WACKOS THUGS & PERVERTS



http://www.jerrynewcombe.com/vocal-point-robert-oscar-lopez-4/

http://www.jerrynewcombe.com/vocal-point-robert-oscar-lopez-5/

http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/27/we-need-95-theses-for-higher-education/

http://thelineoffire.org/2017/03/14/focus-on-higher-education/

https://afr.net/afr-talk/sandy-rios-in-the-morning/2017/march/is-ryan-on-trumps-side-geert-wilders-robert-oscar-lopez-on-a-dangerous-lgbt-school-curriculum/





[Wackos Thugs & Perverts has been published with MassResistance in Waltham, MA. It is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Wackos-Thugs-Perverts-Clintonian-Decadence/dp/1542854210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486608122&sr=8-1&keywords=wackos+thugs+%26+perverts

Make sure to check it out--it's only $10!]

[Updates: This interview was with KPOF Denver. ]


Interview with a Virginia radio station:



Interview with Jerry Newcombe: http://www.jerrynewcombe.com/vocal-point-robert-oscar-lopez-4/

Interview with Carrie Abbott: http://carrieabbott.com/hypocrisy-lgbt-community/

My book, Wackos Thugs & Perverts, points out the following things in this book, which are crucial to understand:
  • Contrary to what the left claims, the Kochs are not the problem threatening true scholarship--the Clintons and their acolytes are. "Clintonworld" has corrupted academia to its very core since the 1990s.
  • Cutting off money is the ONLY way to reform academia. Colleges are no longer intimidated by lawsuits, bad press, or the strength of high-minded arguments. There are no people with ethical obligations to the public good left in the decision-making structure. They will only change if their money is threatened.
  • Cutting off money has a multiplier healing effect. Many of the "warlords" and "goons" I document in the book are able to hold power simply because they are sitting on enormous amounts of public cash, with which they can be rainmakers for scores of local thugs and nutjobs.
  • Contrary to what the right claims, students are not snowflakes and they are not the problem. They are overwhelmingly not orchestrating these outbursts, but are rather being controlled by corrupt puppeteers who sit on a nexus between Democrat politicians and the bigwigs in academia.
  • Academia is the biggest problem facing American democracy. Unlike Hollywood, the news media, Wall Street, or the courts, academia has longevity and uniformity in every state of the union.
  • Clinton's defeat in the 2016 election will only be temporary unless we do something. Her tyrannical model of political warfare by emotional manipulation is safe and unflappable in academia, waiting to regroup and re-install the dictatorship their party enjoyed during the decadent late years of Obama.
  • Contrary to what the right claims, there is racism in the academy, and a lot of it.
  • Contrary to what the left claims, virtually all movements in the academy that claim to be about race are really about LGBT ideology. 
  • The right wing has lost because conservatives think they are at a debate when they are really at war; they think their left-wing adversaries are intellectuals with a different opinion when really academia is populated by gangsters and the thugs they hire. Conservatives have yet to figure out that there are no "liberals," just corrupt racketeers in charge of the academy, who foster decadence so they can control groups of people whom they view with contempt but whom they force to depend on them.
  • If you debate "academic freedom," you are letting Clintonworld win, because they have all the tenured professorships under their control. The best result you will get is the academic establishment's telling you that you have a right to say what you want but you will never get a job on a campus and the left will assure that you are never listened to. The worst result you will get is the left's dispensing with any veneers of relativism and telling you that you don't have a right to think for yourself, because they have ways of punishing you for being different and it will be very painful.
  • Rather than worry about "bias" or "free speech," reformers have to think in terms of anti-trust and anti-racketeering action. We need a RICO for higher education because the problem is first and foremost corruption.
There is more, more, more! But you must read the book and find out. It's only $10!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Book You MUST Read If You Care About Higher Education



[Wackos Thugs & Perverts has been published with MassResistance in Waltham, MA. It is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Wackos-Thugs-Perverts-Clintonian-Decadence/dp/1542854210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486608122&sr=8-1&keywords=wackos+thugs+%26+perverts

Make sure to check it out--it's only $10!]

[Updates: This interview was with KPOF Denver. ]


Interview with a Virginia radio station:



Interview with Jerry Newcombe: http://www.jerrynewcombe.com/vocal-point-robert-oscar-lopez-4/

Interview with Carrie Abbott: http://carrieabbott.com/hypocrisy-lgbt-community/

As rioters consumed Berkeley, the commentariat on both left and right worked themselves into a frenzy.

A speech by Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled as over a thousand violent radicals shot fireworks at people, smashed windows, clubbed people on the street, and started a dangerous bonfire with an electrical structure in front of a famous student union.

By the early morning hours of the next day, as frayed nerves still prevailed in the famed city of Telegraph Avenue and Sproul Hall, President Trump took the unprecedented and long overdue measure of stating that federal funds would not be guaranteed to institutions like Berkeley if they failed to protect "free speech."

The right largely howled in joy upon seeing a president confront head-on the supposed liberal dominance of academia, while the left quickly cried foul, accusing Trump of being "authoritarian" and trying to oppress the intelligentsia.

The Berkeley riots represent a golden opportunity to reform higher education, but it is an opportunity that can easily slip away. My book, Wackos Thugs & Perverts, was being finished for publication just as this happened. I point out the following things in this book, which are crucial to understand:
  • Contrary to what the left claims, the Kochs are not the problem threatening true scholarship--the Clintons and their acolytes are. "Clintonworld" has corrupted academia to its very core since the 1990s.
  • Cutting off money is the ONLY way to reform academia. Colleges are no longer intimidated by lawsuits, bad press, or the strength of high-minded arguments. There are no people with ethical obligations to the public good left in the decision-making structure. They will only change if their money is threatened.
  • Cutting off money has a multiplier healing effect. Many of the "warlords" and "goons" I document in the book are able to hold power simply because they are sitting on enormous amounts of public cash, with which they can be rainmakers for scores of local thugs and nutjobs.
  • Contrary to what the right claims, students are not snowflakes and they are not the problem. They are overwhelmingly not orchestrating these outbursts, but are rather being controlled by corrupt puppeteers who sit on a nexus between Democrat politicians and the bigwigs in academia.
  • Academia is the biggest problem facing American democracy. Unlike Hollywood, the news media, Wall Street, or the courts, academia has longevity and uniformity in every state of the union.
  • Clinton's defeat in the 2016 election will only be temporary unless we do something. Her tyrannical model of political warfare by emotional manipulation is safe and unflappable in academia, waiting to regroup and re-install the dictatorship their party enjoyed during the decadent late years of Obama.
  • Contrary to what the right claims, there is racism in the academy, and a lot of it.
  • Contrary to what the left claims, virtually all movements in the academy that claim to be about race are really about LGBT ideology. 
  • The right wing has lost because conservatives think they are at a debate when they are really at war; they think their left-wing adversaries are intellectuals with a different opinion when really academia is populated by gangsters and the thugs they hire. Conservatives have yet to figure out that there are no "liberals," just corrupt racketeers in charge of the academy, who foster decadence so they can control groups of people whom they view with contempt but whom they force to depend on them.
  • If you debate "academic freedom," you are letting Clintonworld win, because they have all the tenured professorships under their control. The best result you will get is the academic establishment's telling you that you have a right to say what you want but you will never get a job on a campus and the left will assure that you are never listened to. The worst result you will get is the left's dispensing with any veneers of relativism and telling you that you don't have a right to think for yourself, because they have ways of punishing you for being different and it will be very painful.
  • Rather than worry about "bias" or "free speech," reformers have to think in terms of anti-trust and anti-racketeering action. We need a RICO for higher education because the problem is first and foremost corruption.
There is more, more, more! But you must read the book and find out. It's only $10!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Blunt Discussion on Whether Trump Should Abolish Funding for Arts and Humanities



There were public suggestions that Trump would push for abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Naturally many left-of-center artists and writers went into hysterics, saying this was a case of art being suppressed. Brittany and Bobby have a different take. The NEA and NEH are so corrupt and closed off, it might be better for America and for art if the ties to government were severed. For reference:

https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/Spring_2016_Artistic_Discipline_Grant_List_FINAL_FINAL3.pdf

https://pen.org/press-release/trump-administration-plans-abolish-national-endowments-arts-humanities-will-usher-new-dark-ages-america/

http://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Shot-Over-the-Bow-/238949

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

Can Christians Trust their Leaders? Part 4 (Eastern Orthodox)



Stella Morabito
In the 4th part of Cogwatch 81 on LGBT activism and the faith traditions, the conversations turns briefly to the Eastern Orthodox church, which is not currently on many people's radars but which is likely to become increasingly targeted by LGBT activists because of Putin, the Middle East, and the Orthodox Church's current status as a large Christian religion that has not yet caved to LGBT demands at all. For more reading:

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles2/SOBASamesexUnions.php?/articles2/SOBASamesexUnions.shtml

http://assemblyofbishops.org/news/2015/response-of-assembly-of-bishops-to-obergefell-v.-hodges

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/12/14/the-power-and-limits-of-the-russian-orthodox-church/#5f7db2583c3a

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-orthodox-church-concerned-by-far-eastern-court-decision-to-destroy-40-bibles-56672

Can Christians Trust Their Leaders? Part 3 (A View from the Orthodox Jews)



Brittany Klein
In part 3 of this 4-part podcast, the CogWatch talks about the difficult challenges faced by Orthodox Jews given the multiple assaults on their faith under eight years of Obama: not only the LGBT agenda undermining it from within, but also the Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement which is mysteriously tied to the LGBT movement. For more reading:

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/queer_theory_and_bds_the_odd_couple.html



Sorry if the audio files take a while to download--they will get there and they are worth listening to! You can also go straight to our Soundcloud page by clicking http://soundcloud.com/militant-de-lenfant

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Can Christians Trust their Leaders? Part 2 (The Baptists)





Thomas Littleton 
In Part 2 of the 4 part series (all Podcast 81), Thomas Littleton of the Southern Baptist Convention explains some of the tensions and rifts that emerged during the Obama "occupation" of the churches, and the CogWatch Team (Brittany Klein, Robert Oscar Lopez, Stella Morabito, Joseph Sciambra, and Thomas Littleton) brainstorm ways of coping with the aftermath of 8 years of persecution. For more reading:

http://townhall.com/columnists/bethanyblankley/2016/12/17/enough-is-enough-already-n2260753

http://barbwire.com/author/thomaslittleton/

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/why-russell-moore-matters/

http://thefederalist.com/2016/12/22/christians-need-leaders-like-russell-moore/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/russell-moore-religious-right-become-people-they-warned-against-first-things-erasmus-171094/

Can Christians Trust their Leaders? Part 1



In Part 1 of this series discussing Christians' coping with the aftermath of the Obama Era's "occupation" of Christianity, the CogWatch faith team hears from Joseph Sciambra, who has been following the intrusion of the LGBT agenda into Catholic communities. Joseph blogs at www.josephsciambra.com.

Part 2 will deal with the Southern Baptists.
Part 3 will deal with the Orthodox Jews.
Part 4 will deal with the Eastern Orthodox churches.

Stay tuned for the four-part series--you will not want to miss these! For more reading on Catholicism:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/world/pope-christmas-speech-blasts-vatican-resistance-reform/bQSuCPGa7dW6PxerxsM78N/

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/climate-of-fear-in-the-vatican-is-very-real

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/rome-stopped-new-un-lgbt-czar

www.josephsciambra.com

Sorry if the audio files take a while to download--they will get there and they are worth listening to! You can also go straight to our Soundcloud page by clicking http://soundcloud.com/militant-de-lenfant

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Monday, December 19, 2016

Proverbs 8 Extended Ode to the Life of Wisdom

The 8th chapter of Proverbs presents the life of Wisdom in a positive sense, and in two manners. The "life of Wisdom" is taken to mean the life one leads when one seeks and cherishes wisdom. Also, "Wisdom" is again personified and the life of Wisdom is presented as the historical contributions of wise thought to the world, beginning with God's creation of the Universe.

The opening of the chapter states the Wisdom is calling, raising her voice, "on the heights besides the way" and " in the paths" man might take (8:2-3). This is important because Solomon personifies Wisdom as someone who is available, a willing companion to all and not a closed-off frequenter only of the elites.

Almost the entire chapter is a speech delivered by Wisdom to man, telling men, first all the wonders that come with Wisdom -- pure truth, instruction worth more than gold and silver and jewels, and knowledge and discretion (8:4-12).

Then there is a description of the personality of Wisdom -- She fears the Lord and can teach men how to be like her. She turns people from pride and arrogance, and she herself hates "perverted speech." (8:13).

The historical "life of Wisdom" begins in the 15th verse, when Wisdom mentions that she determines which kings reign, which rulers offer just decrees, which princes rule, and who flourishes with riches, honor, wealth and prosperity (15-19).

Starting at the 22nd verse the biography of Wisdom goes back even further, to creation, and here is where things become intriguing. Up until now, Wisdom has been associated with all the things one expects to link to wisdom -- career success, a peaceful flourishing, good relationships, morality, etc. -- but now Wisdom is positioned as an instrument of creation and creativity.

For ten verses, Wisdom states that she was there when God created the whole world, including the mountains, skies, fountains of the deep, and foundations of the earth. The act of creating is imbued with Wisdom itself -- beauty, too, and the miracle of creation come with Wisdom.

What does this mean to a man who seeks to leave homosexuality? A great deal, actually. For this passage in Proverbs 8 reminds us that acts of creation, including the sex of procreation, come from Wisdom. Wise choices allow us to direct sexual energy toward those behaviors that bring life and new creativity--male-female union, and the siring of new souls.

The unspoken admonition in this passage is that without Wisdom, no acts can be creative. Hence, homosexuality, which does not create, is both uncreative and anti-creative, or destructive. It is urge without Wisdom.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Proverbs 7 The Fable of the Faithless Woman

In Proverbs 7, Solomon embarks on an extended fable of a young man being sexually enticed by a "loose woman," who stands as a counter-symbol against "Wisdom."

In this chapter the Bible continues the personification of Wisdom as a woman, though this time, it is specified as a "sister": "Say to wisdom, you are my sister, and call insight your intimate friend; to preserve you from the loose woman, from the adventuress with her smooth words" (7:4-5).

Often we have a habit in everyday speech of associating sexual experience with "knowledge" or even "wisdom," such as when we say someone has a lot of carnal knowledge or someone's got "wisdom beyond their years" because they started having sex at a young age.

Here, however, wisdom is cast as antithetical to sexual adventure. Yet the loose woman, lacking as she is in wisdom, does not present herself as unwise, as in transparently naive or stupid. Rather, she is wily and falsely wise, or disordered in her use of knowledge. Solomon says that he looked through the lattice of window to see "a young man without sense, passing along the street near the corner, taking the road to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the time of night and darkness" (7:7-9).

With this framework, we are set up to read the young man as someone who is largely to blame for his sexual ruin, because he is violating many of the ideas that have preceded in Proverbs 1-6. He has not the sense to understand that he cannot trust himself in vulnerable contexts. It is the fool who thinks he can wander close to a lusty woman's home when it is dark outside. The temptation is too grave.

Yet much of the sexual fall results from the loose woman's own carefully selected words. She misrepresents herself consciously because she is "dressed as a harlot, wily of heart" (7:10). After grabbing the boy and kissing him, she states, "I had to offer sacrifices and today I have paid my vows, so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly" (7:14-15). Why this line about the loose woman claiming that she has partaken dutifully in her vows and rites?

It would seem that Solomon includes the line about the loose woman's ruse of holiness because he wants the vulnerable to understand that seducers often misrepresent themselves as pious, thereby taking their victims off guard. The woman appeals to the young man's love of sensual pleasures and fineries, as she mentions her perfume and the Egyptian linen of her bed. Also, she mentions that her husband is away on business, having taken a bag of money with him.

The man cannot resist her talk and her ruses, so "all at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught." (7:22-23).

For the ex-gay Christian the fable resonates even without the heterosexual dynamic of the older woman seducing a young, innocent man. The underlying problem of sexual vulnerability is that those with the intent to despoil others sexually have usually had a great deal of practice and often embark with a careful strategy. Only arrogance can lead someone to believe that they can stand alone, dancing with sin, without getting dirty.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Proverbs 6: To Strive in Work and Love

In Proverbs 6, there is a sudden emphasis on "slacking," or doing things with a noticeable lack of effort. This arrives first in some verses in which Solomon warns people about getting into financial vows they know they cannot fulfill. If you jump into a deal and now find yourself on the hook for something you can't pay, Solomon's advice is to "go humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor."

While these opening verses would seem to be merely about managing one's finances shrewdly, Solomon inserts a line telling the reader "don't give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids; escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a fowler's trap."

The problem with disadvantageous deals stems, arguably, from people lacking the initiative and drive to explore all options and engage in the necessary due diligence prior to signing an agreement. The admonition about not sleeping then affords a transition from the discussion of poor financial deals to other problems that arise from lack of energy: laziness, malice, and then the seven things the Lord hates: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers. Some of these issues seem not to be directly connected to laziness, but they are in one sense. It is often a desire to get easy rewards without making the necessary sacrifices, which lead to these forms of vice.

The malicious man "winking his eyes, signaling with his feet," seems to want to cut corners and get deals through improper corruption. But the link to the rest of the chapter is that hard work, if done earnestly, will allow someone to prosper without cheating. And often the due diligence necessary to reap the fruits of hard work is itself more work we like to avoid: balancing one's checkbooks, doing research on what the better deal is, haggling, bargaining, etc.

Many of the other vices are also indirectly connected to idleness, which is the twin evil of laziness. There is always work to do, but when we loiter and malinger, we end up replacing necessary work time with idle time, and in idle time we drift into gossip, plotting, and even, as the chapter closes, adultery.

Keep busy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Proverbs 5: The Secret Fountain v. the Polluted Stream

Proverbs 5 is labeled, in some translations, a warning against immoral women. But one can read the proverb allegorically, as contrasting the private delight of a chaste marriage with the shame and despair of sexual faithlessness.

The proverb begins with an extended warning against an archetype, a woman who seduces men but ruins them. It is interesting to note that the first part of her that is vilified is actually her mouth: "the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood" (5:3).

This proverb might be best suited for a man who is struggling with the temptations of lusty noncommittal women. But for the man struggling against homosexuality it is not difficult to transfer the "loose woman" into an allegory for the gay community as a whole. With its slogans and sex-ridden poetry and hyper-sensual gatherings, the gay community does entice people with ideas that look sweet and smooth as oil.

But then see what the proverb states will follow if one is drawn by the smell of honey. The proverb states, "her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol." (5:5-6).

Later the text tells us that she will end up stealing one's cherished titles and distributing them aimlessly to others: "do not go near the door of her house; lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless; lest strangers take the fill of your strength and your labors go to the house of an alien" (5:9-11).

I had to read the verses above a few times to figure out what the proverb is saying about the "loose woman." Is she actually a thief who only plots to take your hard work and let others share in it? Is this a portrait of cuckolding?

The next line gives some clarity: "at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, 'How I hated discipline!'" (5:12-13).

There is a sense that the lack of boundaries between the man and the loose woman deprives him of necessary boundaries not only in sex but also in other parts of his life. If he is willing to make love to a woman whom he hasn't exchanged vows with, then why should anybody honor any deals or contracts made with him?

Sex, when unmoored from its safe context of chastity, ends up unraveling everything in a person's life. Work, home, friendships, worship, and even one's civic identity all become muddied, confused, and poisoned. Water serves as a useful metaphor in the proverb as the chapter contrasts drinking "from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well" with "springs" "scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets." (5:15-18).

The most refreshing water, the chapter tells us, comes from the private fountain -- "the wife of your youth, a lovely hind, a graceful doe." The imagery of pollution here is tied intricately into the imagery of public/private boundaries being obscured. The joy and happiness come with the clear, pure waters of one's own fountain rather than the filthy water running through the streets.

Water is like one's spirit, and lovemaking is like a pouring of spirit just like a pouring of water from a jar. One problem with the temptations of gay life is the public identity of gayness, which dictates that you must "come out" and when you have relations, you are not only communing with one person but with the whole political meaning of the person's gayness. You make love not only to one person but to the whole community. Your lover begins by being reduced to a fungible and vague category -- "I am for you because you are gay and I am a man and gay" rather than "I am for you because I am your private fountain and our love is what God designed." There is no way to replicate the privacy and personal closeness of the male-female bond in a world so overdetermined by political identity. Hence the "water" of gay sexuality is like the water running dirty through the streets.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Proverbs 4: Fatherhood and the Two Ways

The fourth chapter of Proverbs picks up with the structure of a father's advice to sons, inflected with "discipline" as the last chapter before it. In this chapter Solomon begins by addressing his own sons, beseeching them to hold the instructions close just as he listened to King David's advice in his own youth.

This chapter is relatively short and breaks quickly into a contrast, a juxtaposition of two paths. On one path, the one to be avoided, travel the evil ones. The path of the wicked is both dark and sleepless, a place where wine is laced with violence and people cannot rest peacefully. The way of the righteous, by contrast, is lit by the light of dawn.

The imagery of paths reminds me that it matters where we place ourselves. Even when we are simply in transit between two places, we need to avoid passing, even transiently, through places that bring us anxiety, stress, or doom. The resonance with the man struggling to overcome a sexually degenerate past seems to dovetail with this fable of the two paths. How many times do men set out to leave the gay lifestyle, and then fall back into it, even though they wanted more than anything else not to? I suspect that often such a man does not schedule a visit to a gay club ahead of time, but rather arrives at Friday night, perhaps sleepless, and finds himself with nothing to do and a vague restlessness. He gets up, throws on jeans and a black t-shirt, and then decides to drive around. He passes the gay club and tells himself he will just get a quick drink.

And then he goes in, and he falls, and he feels the crushing pain of lost years of chastity.

Paths are not merely physical but also in an abstract sense, our routine. In particular, the symbolize the way we bridge different parts of our day. Yes, during business hours you will be busy and untempted, most likely, and perhaps you can arrange to work out with a friend from church each night in the evening. But unfortunately there will be hours in between when nobody but God can keep you safe from drifting into danger zones.

The key is to link Proverbs 4 with Proverbs 3. During all the hours when you cannot count on others to keep you busy and accounted for, do not be fooled to think you can manage yourself for those hours on your own. Only Jesus can get you from place to place. When you are between appointments, or having down time, pray. This is why, I assume, some religions call for prayer several times a day, so there might be no idle time at all during which the slacking hours leave a person open to Satan's tricks.

I keep busy with my daily devotional. Now I have come to get good at talking to Jesus whenever there is nobody to talk to, and praying whenever there is nothing to do. When I find myself mulling and stressing, ruing over things I've done wrong and imagining worst-case scenarios, I remind myself that such is a sinful path. It is sinful to worry because one is traveling a path far from God. God can be trusted, he must be trusted. To worry and rue is to question the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Proverbs 3--Discipline and Creativity v. Fear and Loathing

As I journey through the chapters of proverbs, I am struck by how often the father-son relationship is invoked. Solomon seems to take very seriously his role as a father, and his father's role as his father as well. Yet the specific historical details of King David's family do not figure in the proverbs. The words of wisdom speak in general rules applicable to anybody reading them.

In the third chapter, "loyalty and faithfulness" now enter as important companions to wisdom (3:3)--both are to be worn like a tie around one's neck, and written on one's heart as if etched on a tablet.

From this mention of loyalty and faithfulness comes a new tone here. Somewhat surprisingly, loyalty to God means the inverse for one's faith in one's self. Here the struggler determined to overcome a homosexual past is probably most called to the Book of Proverbs. The memories of one's time in the gay world will always be, unfortunately, mixed together. There will be times of kindness, friendship, and even something approaching love--certainly some pleasure--mixed in with the darkness of the falling away from God, the loneliness, the unstable relationships, the health problems, and the constant sadness.

I find myself struggling now to die fully to the past, because there is still a part of me longing for the positive things I had in the gay lifestyle, but the Lord has set events before me that have made it clear: I cannot have the pleasure (even the mental or verbal pleasure of thinking or talking about it), the camaraderie with fellow travelers, or the thrill of doing something forbidden, without falling away from God.

I cannot trust myself. Certainly I cannot trust the friends I made when I was in the gay lifestyle, because their natural motive will be either to punish me for leaving them, or to draw me back into their circle. The third chapter of Proverbs states, "Don't consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body, and strengthening for your bones" (3:7-8).

I feel that these lines are written so perfectly for a man in the struggle I face. Part of surviving the gay world is the memory of all those moments when I sensed that I was shrewd and cunning, able to compartmentalize and engage in secret pleasures while playing all the people around me so that I would avoid falling into the ruin that I already saw consuming so many of my gay colleagues. I thought I was smart because I knew how to use condoms, how to avoid getting HIV, how to have flings without getting caught up with stalkers or tiresome relationships. I thought I had it all figured it out.

But there is no wisdom in me apart from God, and God's wise words have stated that I should not be in any paths that lead to sodomy. This may mean, now, that I have to cut off all communication with friends I made in the gay world--not because I do not love them, not because I don't want them to be saved, but because I am not wise enough or strong enough to deal with them directly, without stumbling. Proverbs states, "do no loathe God's discipline, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in." (3:11-12).

It was sacrilege each time, in the gay world, I indulged the fantasies of the gay leather community. In that world, "daddies" search for sons and sons search for "daddies." As a tan-skinned Puerto Rican it was expected that I would be a submissive; the entire underground culture circumscribed to me the role of the subordinate seeking "discipline" from a white father figure. There is no way to engage in anything of the sort without dishonoring God, who Proverbs tell us is the one who disciplines us with wisdom, holiness, and divine love, not sin and sodomy and perversion.

"Happy is a man who finds wisdom," says Proverbs 3, as wisdom is compared to jewels, riches, honor, and pleasant ways. Wisdom flows from the creator of all things, since Proverbs 3 tells us "The Lord founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. By His knowledge the watery depths broke open and the clouds dripped with dew" (3:19-20).

The man trapped in gay living yearns to overcome the lines above, to replace creation and creativity based on the divine model of male and female becoming one flesh, with another model based on worldly concepts misconstrued as "wise" and a rejection of God's plan for an overconfident alternative put forward by men. Creation is a divine act, one that Proverbs would depict as tied together with wisdom. Wise ways are fruitful, not sterile or destructive.

Then Proverbs 3 paints a happy picture of the man who lives by wisdom, a man who "will go safely," "will not be afraid" upon lying down, and will have pleasant sleep without fear, for "the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare." (3:23-26).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Proverbs 2: Delight v. Danger

Chapter 2 of Proverbs continues with the theme of Wisdom. I cannot help but notice the greater presence of hope and joy in this chapter. In 2:6, Solomon says, "the LORD gives wisdom," continuing to say that God is a "shield," "may guard" paths of justice, and will protect those loyal to Him.

Solomon states that after God has blessed someone, it "will enter your mind and knowledge will delight your heart" (2:10). The theme of delight seems to bless this chapter with a particular emphasis on feeling of liberation from the the things one feels in the absence of wisdom.

"Discretion" also figures now as a companion to wisdom, indicating that with discretion one finds protection from various threats: "those who abandon the right paths to walk in the ways of darkness ... and celebrate perversion" (2:11-12).

For where I am right now, I have to balance this call for discretion with the need to seek help from others to resist temptation. What worries me is that too much discretion gives someone with my particular struggles the tendency to hide and dissemble--conduct that can be deadly for someone who hopes to be delivered from the darkness of homosexuality. The answer to this concern of mine comes at the end for the chapter when Solomon says, "follow the way of good people, and keep to the paths of the righteous" (2:20-21). This reminds me that it is good to share struggles with people you know you can trust, rather than struggling in silence and hoping that secrecy will somehow protect you from falling away from God.

The proverb presents various examples of people to avoid: perverts, the devious, "forbidden woman" (2:16), "a stranger with her flattering talk" (2:16) who seems to abandon friends and forget the covenant of her God, only to see her house sink down to to death. The proverb stands as a solid reminder that many stumbling blocks that might trip up a man seeking righteousness are human threats: conduct, behaviors, habits, that one might misinterpret as normal when one surrounds oneself with them.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Welcome to a Series of Posts: Atonement through Proverbs

I came to a trusted spiritual adviser earlier this week to confess a grave sin, and to beg for mercy. It was not a physical sin, but one of thoughts and speech. He is a very devoted Christian, not a little older than I am. He was instrumental in accomplishing the Lord's grace for me and delivering me out of the troublesome work I did in California.

My identity as one who escaped the darkness of homosexuality has become public and even high-profile. On the last day of class this semester, my students gathered together Christmas cards thanking me for being a good teacher. From time to time I receive emails from people praising me and gratitude for my witness.

This public identity forces me to observe a high standard for truth and integrity. When I turned to my spiritual adviser, I was at the nadir of a horrible ten days of melancholy. I had to admit something that I could not bear to hold inside any longer: After so many years of marriage to a woman and freedom from the thoughts of sodomy, I was struggling again. Though I had done nothing in the flesh, my thoughts were being "darkened," as it is described in Romans 1, and I found myself increasingly drawn to thoughts of going back to homosexuality. I kept remembering the foul odors and humiliation of the restrooms in the 1980s, the racist gay sex trade and underground dungeons of the 1990s, as well as the lurid websites that set in during the early years of the Internet.

In my sinful pride I had thought that "pride" would never be my downfall. Yet it was largely pride that had caused my fall into despair. Having escaped the doldrums of Los Angeles, having emerged from an extended war with Big Gay unscathed, and having found new success with the premiere of the play Sunlight, I had assumed that I was untouchable. All the struggles were behind me, and I wasn't even feeling homosexual urges or any nostalgia any more--or so I thought.

In the run-up to the premiere of Sunlight, I had the misfortune of being betrayed by a young gay actor who took an advance salary to play the role of "Bobby," basically me, in the drama in London. He quit two days before the show saying he didn't feel "safe" or "protected" being in the play, citing the homophobia of its likely audience. Since many tickets had already been sold by the producer, I was forced to play myself as a young man during those years when I spiraled into confusion, promiscuity, and sodomy. I had only one day to memorize all the lines (thank goodness I wrote them, so it wasn't that hard) and rehearse.

I was happy with my performance, but found that it was not good to be thrust back into one's earlier, dark years. This reminded me why I had hired an actor in the first place. Having to remember and revive the images of the 1980s and 1990s, when I was desperate to be loved by a father figure and scarred by the racial violence of Buffalo's blue-collar suburbs, I flew back to the United States feeling as though I was in a time warp.

I was back there, back inside the mind of a young Puerto Rican man dependent on older white homosexuals to survive. I wandered into conversations with people still in the gay world, still steeped in the taboo-breaking fantasies and vulgar thrills. The aftermath of Trump's election had placed both sexual hysteria and racism back at the front of the media's shrill reportage. My personal situation interacted unhealthily with what everyone else was talking about. I found myself in conversations with people who found excitement in breaking the politically correct taboos that Trump had ostensibly torn down. Even gay whites who had not voted for Trump suddenly felt liberated to speak in perfect frankness about their stereotypical fantasies.

Breaking taboos can usually be as enticing as throwing repression to the wind. But I fell into an emotional tunnel for a little over a week, feeling as though my struggle might be far longer and harder than I ever could have imagined. I was back in the "gay underworld," after so many years, and now with a wife and children who must know nothing about the thoughts in my head. Part of me found the memories irresistible and even fantasized about quitting my current life, going back, and living the life of an underground prowler once more.

Part of me wanted to minister to people around me, all thrown to and fro by the racial and sexual passions unleashed by the Trump election.

The gravest blow I felt, however, was to pray and feel that Jesus no longer wanted to hear my prayers. My lips had spoken foul words, and my heart had fallen prey to sinful thoughts once more. It seemed I could not get God to answer my prayers.

So I went to my adviser and offered to give him all the cards I'd received from my students. "These are all honoring a man who does not exist," I said. "They think I am someone who conquered sin, and I haven't. This is all a lie."

But my adviser was firm and unyielding. He told me that this was the spiritual battlefield, that I was confronting the devil face to face now, and I must ask God for forgiveness and move forward with my career. Surrendering to these disturbing thoughts would be the truly evil thing to do.

His kind words reminded me that there are many men who want so badly to get out of homosexuality, and my life serves as a potential example to them. If I were to succumb to this sadness and give up, then go back into it in the flesh, I might not only doom myself but many others.

My adviser suggested that I spend each night contemplating on one chapter of the book of proverbs. So here I will engage in this. I will keep a diary online so that others who face similar struggles can pray for me, lest I slide, and also so that I can pray for them, even without knowing their names, lest they do.

Proverbs 1

This proverb must be dear to anyone whose job is to teach and advise others. Most of it is about "learning what wisdom and discipline are" (1:2). Both wisdom and discipline matter, and the proverb develops a sense of what each means.

This chapter acts as an introduction to all the proverbs in a sense. The wise man, we hear, will "listen and increase his learning" (1:7). Maybe it was not entirely wrong for me to open my ears to the thoughts of men still trapped in the racial inequality of the homosexual world, for it is proper that I should know what awaits all of us in the traps that Satan sets for us. The higher purpose, of course, must be to find parables and riddles that I can grow wise enough to understand, in order to avoid the traps and live a life of discipline.

I feel affirmed in my cause and the public positions I've taken in 1:8, when Solomon says to listen to both the father's and mother's lessons. My public stance against homosexuality is based, first and foremost, on the essential importance of having a mother and father--and here Solomon backs me up. The problem, perhaps, is that I have been too prideful in my argumentation, believing foolishly that I was above the dangers of lapsing into the actual lusts that drive homosexuals to suggest motherless or fatherless families.

"My son," Solomon says, "if sinners entice you, don't be persuaded." (1:10). This was the line that I failed to follow in my youth. To be truthful, when I was a boy and a young man, I was a handsome Latino. In the gay world, all I had was my beauty and eagerness to make older men with money feel good. The racist remarks that would come about during such interludes were part of the charm of the situation, and I thought that I could get the coddling and attention without feeding prejudice and injustice. Here I was wrong.

"Such are the paths," says Solomon, "of all who make profit dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who receive it." (1:19)

Wisdom appears personified as a woman, almost sounding like the appearance of Philosophy in the writings of Boethius. She threatens to mock those who keep ignoring her counsel and choosing to do foolish things. Yet her closing words are a consolation to those who feel the darkness I am just now emerging from: "For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger." (1:33)

To listen is to change--this is the ending note of the proverb.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My two cents with Roger Marsh, 740 AM in Southern California



I had this great talk with Roger Marsh, always a fun person to talk to! Also, this piece ran today in Daily Caller:

http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/07/its-time-to-take-on-californias-leftist-campus-culture


Friday, December 2, 2016

TRUMP: SAY NO TO JANET NAPOLITANO AND TIMOTHY WHITE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT STUDENTS!

Dear President-Elect Trump,
R. O. Lopez

I was one of about 130 scholars who supported you in a letter issued in September 2016; see http://amgreatness.com/2016/09/28/writes-scholars-for-trump/. At the time everyone said we were crazy to support you publicly, but I saw the potential in you and knew you were going to be a fantastic president. I am in your camp. And I have something to share with you.

By now you should be in receipt of this letter signed by Janet Napolitano and Timothy White, representing the 10 University of California campuses and the 23 California State University campuses. 

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/sites/default/files/UC-CSU-CCC-DACA-Letter-11-29-16.pdf

The California letter is asking that you renew the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) order, which you would inherit from President Obama. The letter urges you to violate one of your central campaign vows and move to ensure that people who are not legally in the country will study at California campuses without fear of law enforcement, and with plentiful financial support from the state. Please do not go along with these sentimental pleas. Enforce our laws for the good of everyone, and take the enablers of lawlessness and corruption on college campuses to task.

The ethnic diversity on California campuses does not create little paradises like Cordova, but rather huge plantations where white liberals exploit minorities en masse. Keeping illegal immigrants in colleges under the false hope of being able to better themselves without rectifying their residency is cruel. It deludes and frustrates such people; moreover, it compels everyone to deny the real problems caused by stateless migrants' being in a place where they are powerless rather than in their home countries where they have strong cultural, linguistic, and ethnic ties. 

Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Armenia, and the Philippines are not uncivilized jungles with no prospects. These are nations that have functional governments and centuries of civilization. People can go back and find a better life there, adding their talents where they are badly needed. It benefits nobody for them to belong to a de facto serf class in the United States, fearing deportation and having to go along with the pressures placed on them by people who have excessive bargaining power over them.

Regarding California's campus culture, I speak with extensive and painful firsthand experience. I was a professor for eight years at California State University-Northridge, under both Chancellors Charles Reed and Timothy White; in fact I earned tenure there. I served under President Dianne Harrison and Provost Yi Li. 

In their letter Janet Napolitano and Timothy White profess to care about the students who add to their diverse, inclusive campus climate, and who would have to leave the university in the event that Obama's DACA is rescinded. 

Rather than accept Napolitano and White's claims at face value, you should look skeptically at their likely motives. In all likelihood these people care nothing about illegal immigrants be they Latino or of any other ethnicity. They want the steady flow of cash into their coffers. 

If they cared about these students affected by DACA, they would be giving them instruction that could help them in their specific situation. Indeed, the education they offer students is horrendous. I know because I was in the College of Humanities at Northridge. Under the direction of radical lesbian feminist Elizabeth Say the campus dismantled essential educational programs such as Classics and replaced them with ideologically driven departments like Queer Studies. 

California State University kicked out InterVarsity, a Christian fellowship, but is proud to display a permanent wall mural in Jerome Richfield Hall glorifying abortion, turning the US flag upside down, and demonizing the Border Patrol with the caricature of a fanged white agent clubbing a helpless Latino man. While one colleague in English upbraided me for listing a scholarly presentation I made at a Baptist church on my resume, the campus counted endless perversions as legitimate academic activities worthy of public support: among many others, a "concert" by a "queer icon" named "Bitch," the Vagina Monologues, the musical "Urinetown," a speech by aging homosexual Star Trek actor George Takei, a workshop led by literal whores, and an event to talk about trans LGBTQ Latino migrants

Needless to say, these supposedly scholarly events do nothing to prepare students who are not in the country legally and face a rigorous, difficult future full of weighty decisions and daunting challenges. If anything, the frivolous promiscuity probably instills habits in such students that will make them even less able to get out of the hardships of their undocumented status.

The decay of California's curriculum is systemwide. I served on the College Personnel Committee recently and had to oversee twenty files of professors seeking retention or promotion. The College assigned to me the task of reviewing applicants from the departments of Chicano Studies, Central American Studies, and Gender and Women's Studies. The vast majority of academics in the College of Humanities were not doing humanities work; they were engaging in highly politicized activism that lacked any of the erudition or objectivity of true scholarship. It was painful to read so much ineptitude and to know that this represented the sum total of instruction available to students. Frankly, a student who is in the country illegally would be better off being repatriated to Guatemala and spending four years on learning about Latin America, to decide whether or not to immigrate back lawfully, rather than stagnating in California through four years of such bias and lackluster scholarship.

The professors throughout the system reward people who share their extremist political views. 
Timothy White has failed to protect scholarly integrity. Even worse, under his watch, academic freedom has eroded. I was placed under investigation for over 600 days for anti-gay "discrimination" because I took students to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The conference was about family bonds in classical literature and in contemporary America, but there was no content focused on homosexuality. The claim was that a gay student had a nervous breakdown when he saw an irrelevant pamphlet somewhere, with one line on it about people who choose to leave the gay lifestyle and live celibate lives. This was one of several preposterous "investigations" I endured by the Equity and Diversity office. 

Why was I targeted and excluded so much? Usually the most obvious explanation is the correct one. I was serving under Dean Elizabeth Say, a feminist who acts as point-person for the Clinton Global Initiative on campus. Under her I was the only outspoken and highly visible Republican professor.

Constituents of Dana Rohrabacher wrote to the Congressman complaining about the persecution of conservatives like me after reading an article in the Daily Caller about it. See http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/09/taxpayer-funded-diversity-bureaucrats-hound-professor-compare-reagan-library-to-kkk-camp/

From what I can gather, Rep. Rohrabacher wrote directly to Timothy White about the obvious violation of my academic freedom and the clear political bias in the witch hunt over the Reagan Library. Chancellor Timothy White doubled down on the Title IX investigation, which was the subject of many negative press stories. After Timothy White's indifferent response to Dana Rohrabacher's letter, the Northridge bureaucrats were emboldened and grew even more aggressive. Within several months, the provost called me into his office and threatened to hand down a punishment over the Reagan Library case if I continued to write about racial discrimination against Latinos and viewpoint bias on campus.

By May and June 2016, I was having to be escorted by campus police because of concerns about obsessive emails sent about me by Rudy Acuña, a Chicano Studies professor who implied that I was a CIA agent sent to provoke people on campus. Rudy Acuña, the octogenarian Chicano who authored Occupied America, also stated that I was a worthless person whom nobody would mourn, in the event that I should die. After a great deal of prayer and reflection, I resigned the position, abandoning tenure in favor of a job out of state. See here:

http://redalertpolitics.com/2016/06/08/conservative-bisexual-latino-professor-forced-quit-hellish-teaching-experience/

As a Latino and Christian I feel for people who are faced with the daunting task of migrating and/or separating from their families for a time. Nonetheless, I have migrated many times across difficult distances. When changes around you force you to move and start over in a new place, you do it. In my thirties I packed all my belongings, including cheap furniture I bought at yard sales and Ikea, and drove 2,549 miles for a job to support my family better. My wife and I had to live over 1,000 miles away from each other for four years, because the job market was so poor in California and we could only save up money by working in full-time jobs in separate cities. Only people who have never faced such real struggle could view "migration" and "temporary separation of families" with such mysterious horror that they think brown-skinned Central Americans cannot handle these basic survival tasks that people have done for thousands of years.

DACA students do not benefit from attending either the UCs or the CSUs. They end up falling into debt for a degree that will not rectify their residency status and therefore will not allow them to find gainful employment. The only people who benefit are the administrators who like having overcrowded campuses and lots of money flowing into the system.

As I am sure you can imagine, both the UC and CSU systems are rife with people who despise everything you and your supporters stand for and openly reject objectivity to disparage Christians, conservatives, and Republicans any chance they get. There is rampant anti-Latino discrimination that goes unaddressed within these systems, but this comes in the form of giving Latino students an inferior education and in persecuting Latino faculty who dare to have an independent mind and a different political view from the stereotypical left.

It would be beyond foolish to indulge their requests for a continuation of DACA. If anything, you should make it clear right away that if the UC and CSU systems conspire to violate federal immigration law they should be deemed ineligible for tax-exempt status or any federal support.

Yours truly,

Robert Oscar Lopez, PhD

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TrumpLand: It's Not a Culture War, It's an Anti-Propaganda War

Our Urgent Tasks in a Post-Trump Anti-Propaganda War
Robert Oscar Lopez

The election of Donald J. Trump will prove to be far more significant than any of us Trump Train riders might have even dreamed. What looked like a desperate attempt to stave off complete and permanent domination by the American left has actually revealed truths that bear a lot of promise: [1] A large swath of the country is firmly with conservatives on social principles if not on fiscal matters, [2] the libertarian-conservative intelligentsia that demonstrated so much weakness and ineffectiveness for decades is not a valid reflection of conservatism in the population at large, and [3] conservative strategies can work if people are energetic, willing to take risks, and smart.

Perhaps the most important revelation of November 8, 2016, however, was that all of the right wing’s focus on political activism has been overkill. Republicans own America’s political structure; the GOP controls the House, the Senate, and almost 70% of state legislatures and governorships. These gains developed over time, even during the supposed peak liberalism of the early Obama years. So all of our consternation about the threat of a vanishing Republican Party was wasted worry.

If we never needed to spend so much time worrying about politics, why do so many of us on the conservative side still feel like we are immersed in a war with the left? The answer is simple: for all the domination of politics by conservatives, there is a corollary counter-domination of culture by liberals, and for most right-wing people, there is a deep awareness that the cultural exile experienced by conservatives matters and warrants some anxiety.

Trump’s win is important not because it is the final reward for the valiant battles we fought, but rather, because Trump will be the most important weapon in the battles awaiting us in the frontier of culture. This is not the time to rest—the iron is hot right now, so this is the time to strike. If given time unchallenged, the liberal forces arrayed against us will do what they have done in the past, scheming and manipulating and plotting so that when we mobilize, it will be too late again. Our great mistake over the past decades was to summarize these battles as a “Culture War,” when in fact we were not fighting a culture—the left has no culture, only propaganda.

For all of the left’s control of national conversation and entertainment, the left has failed to produce, in 60 years, any sort of compelling values, inspiring way of life, or holistic belief system that could make sense of human experience or instill happiness. The left has given us critiques of the past, vague notions of tolerance and equality, plus a neurotic need for authority figures to punish dissenters under the McCarthyite banners of “bigots,” “haters,” and “un-American fundamentalists.”

We are not culture warriors, we are anti-propaganda warriors. The culture that conservatives hold dear, based on American self-reliance, tradition, strength, and Judeo-Christian beliefs, is strong and well; it is simply buried under layers of the left’s fluffy platitudes and perversions. We need only brush away the propaganda and the culture will thrive again.

Money, Infrastructure, Time

So let’s get to it. How do we combat the left’s enormous propaganda? As someone who was in the trenches during the motherlode of all cultural flashpoints—the debate over same-sex “marriage” and parenting—I have to conclude that there were enormous mistakes made by the conservative movement, which must be addressed. Here are the key problems: (1) We sought to argue with the left in the hopes of winning with better arguments, (2) we trusted our cause to an exclusive clique of leaders better designed to look good to the left than to reflect conservative people truthfully, and (3) we neglected the practical matters of organizing our money, infrastructure, and time.

If we were really fighting a left-wing ideology, perhaps we could invest our hopes in the tenet advanced in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, namely “things which are true and things which are just are by nature stronger” (Book I, l.21). This assumption on conservatives’ part was wildly off the mark (pace Aristotle), for the left never gained its advantageous ground by having better arguments about anything. The left merely took control of the institutions, meeting spaces, money, and personnel who would be able to give them an exclusive platform.

From our misguided belief that the truth could speak for itself and victory would come from mounting better arguments came the folly of investing all our hopes in a tiny cabal of well-groomed and telegenic spokespeople. The same faces appeared again and again, shared millions of times on Facebook on Twitter. I can think of one spokesman for traditional marriage who delivered endless lectures at university campuses and elsewhere; he has been sent to over a dozen countries, in which traditional marriage lost every single time. With book contracts and flawlessly promoted appearances on TV talk shows, he was the embodiment of the right wing’s Peter Principle: keep investing in pretty faces who lose with style, and keep everyone else off the radar because they’re “risky.”

We have got to shift gears and completely re-envision our struggle and what we are doing. This means trusting that we have the truth already so we do not waste copious time repeating the same arguments to ourselves, hoping that some undecided people will overhear and come to our side. This means having a strong offense and a strong defense: With the post-Trump government decidedly within our sphere of influence, we must cut off the supply chain of money, time, and infrastructure that has enabled the left’s propaganda machine, and we have to move quickly to assemble our own arsenal. Going forward, we must be clear that there’s no point arguing with the left on the left’s turf. This is a war of resources, not a war of ideas.

Here are our priorities in order of importance:

Churches

When we were fighting against gay marriage, we made a huge tactical error in thinking we had to fight in the courts and media first, trusting that the churches would be safe. I fell for this delusion as well. As I pointed out in a recent conference in London (“The New Normal”), I followed many others’ leads and minimized the churches’ influence on my position, for fear of being tied in people’s minds to “old church ladies telling people what to do.” After half a decade of this, I’ve realized that “old church ladies” are the most important group to get on our side, and we have to have their confidence first. Why? Unlike everybody else, they show up and bring food. On their often unacknowledged labor rested most of the breakthrough moments I saw in the fight against leftist propaganda, not only in the United States but also in France and the United Kingdom.

It is alluring but fanciful to dream of winning over secular feminists and prestigious men in suits, but these would-be partners are notoriously slippery. I tried, for instance to open up a dialogue with innumerable liberal feminists in hopes we could build a coalition. Queer feminists Yasmin Nair, Claire Potter, Cathy Brennan, Sheena Malhotra, and others all reacted to my attempts to engage them in authentic conversation with paranoid recoil, feeling the need to repudiate or even viciously attack me in public lest their liberal allies think they were really in league with me. Other liberal feminists such as Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy and Laura Kipnis were hot & cold interlocutors, willing at times to share thoughts but then prone to close doors on key positions such as defense of life and/or the opposition to sodomy.

From time to time, there would be gay men who looked willing to engage in real discussion. I brought queer theorist Tim Dean to my campus to deliver a speech on Tom Jones in 2013. I agreed to speak on a panel hosted by playwright Tony Abbatemarco after a performance of Forever House. I even exchanged some messages with Frank Ligtvoet, a gay adoptive father, and hired a gay actor to play the lead in the premier of the play I co-wrote with Michelle Shocked, Sunlight. All these attempts ended up leaving me drained and exhausted, because in the end, such crossover discussants always wanted a veto to block discussion of the central issues they considered non-starters. I call this phenomenon “lefty creep.”

Highly esteemed conservative straight men can be nearly as frustrating. If they have sinecures or some kind of emeritus status in the movement, most likely they only want new advocates to emerge if they have personally mentored them. The effect of this is that the movement remains small, incestuous, and dull.

The beauty of church-focused social movements is that they offer a quick route to the grassroots and rely on long-established networks of trust and familiarity. Churches are a good offense against propaganda because of the physical resources alone: for instance, the multitude of multipurpose rooms, reading rooms, furniture, and props that spend much of the American workweek unused. Additionally, churches are a badly needed defensive theater, because the left has spent large amounts of money on promoting a false theology favorable to their pet causes like same-sex marriage. If churches at the local level block people with false theological grounding from taking over pastorates, this will protect the whole conservative movement as anti-propagandists fight on other fronts, such as…

Academia

As an academic of two decades, I will state a painful truth: there is no engaging with academia. The universities long ago passed a point of no return and are unsalvageable. Conservatives who have sought to “influence” or “reclaim” parts of academia by mentoring like-minded youths to enter doctoral programs are really just running around in circles. Such tepid attempts at a counter-intelligentsia require too much pre-tenure deception (“hiding” one’s conservative beliefs) and lead, at best, to a tenured sinecure that all but guarantees the protégé will remain cowardly and toothless, or else be converted to liberalism.

On the front of campus life, the task for conservatives is to seize the day with Trump in office, and cut off the pipeline of money into universities. By now it is clear that besides teaching students nothing of value and encouraging embarrassing “protest” displays of ignorance and petulance, universities are extorting trillions of dollars from the country by making their degrees necessary for people to get jobs and then practicing price-gouging. The only reason the entire apparatus looks sustainable is because the federal government funds colleges through 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status on endowments, backing of student loans, and direct grants.

The most important mission is to use our affinities with Congress and Trump to push laws that would (1) strip eligibility for federal funding based on basic criteria like financial responsibility or protection of academic freedom, and (2) disempower accreditation agencies that discourage start-up degree programs and protect the corrupt academic establishment. Remember—the war on academia’s propaganda is not a question of defending any particular idea or of protecting value-neutral concepts like “free speech” or “balance of viewpoints.” This is merely a question of shutting down the channels of support that are propping up an academia that we know we cannot change and which is a blight on the culture.

As an alternative to what exists, we can fight for a regulatory landscape that encourages more trade certificates, associate’s degrees, and master’s degree, while de-emphasizing doctorates and bachelor’s degrees. Also, to any extent possible, we should push the Trump administration to work on phasing out the practice of tenure.

Broadway and Hollywood

The pompous speech delivered by Brendan Victor Dixon, a star of Hamilton, to a theater-going Mike Pence, punctuated an insight that we’ve suspected a long time. Broadway, like Hollywood, is essentially abusive. These heavily institutionalized cultural institutions aren’t even producing good performances anymore. We really don’t need them, and they hate us.

One thing I learned from writing the play Sunlight with Michelle Shocked and premiering it in London on November 11, 2016, was that there’s no big secret to putting on a play. If you have a good script and a couple of people willing to give you a space, even with minimal funding you can put on a good show and captive the audience for a while. Storytelling through acting is something different from purely musical performances, and this distinction is important to note. Christians have made a lot of inroads into the music industry by promoting Christian singers and songwriters, but songs have a very limited economy of narration. You need acting and performed narrative to make a lasting impact on people.

Until now, unfortunately, Christians trying to break into narrative have focused on producing movies like God’s Not Dead for distribution. Films are capital-intensive and often depend on distributors and financiers over whom the creators will have fading influence once the process has started. Plays are directly engaging with the audience and can be easily corrected or tweaked. Also, as stated earlier, conservatives have a great advantage in this arena, because so many churches have spaces that can be used for performances.

The time is now to mount a rival metropolitan area to Hollywood and Broadway. This is the perfect time because both Hollywood and Broadway are overpriced and stale; there are so many people who are restless with their neoliberal preaching, vulgarity, and lack of imagination. Perhaps conservatives could funnel resources into a metro area like Dallas-Fort Worth, which has a large number of sympathetic institutions, or else a medium-sized city such as Jackson, Mississippi, where one could transform a tight geographic area into a site of renaissance. Once you develop and perfect performances they can graduate from stage to cinema.

Right now, with Trump in office, there is a real possibility that we can shut down the funding of biased and corrupt institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts or the National Endowment for the Humanities. With alternative funding we could build up a base of talent, write new stories, and present them as competitors in the marketplace of culture.

Trump won against all odds and let us know that what looks impossible isn’t always beyond our reach. But we cannot lose this rare opportunity—we must strike while the iron is hot and build a foundation on which to construct both our offense and defense against the left’s propaganda. There’s nothing stopping us but our own hesitation.



Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif, Twitter, or CogWatch.