Courage in the Face of Persecution: Robert Oscar Lopez Resigns Tenured Position

"I found myself in a place where I had to abandon Christ or abandon CSUN."

By Anika Smith Published on June 9, 2016

This week Robert Oscar Lopez, formerly professor of English and Classics at California State University, Northridge, announced that he would no longer be teaching at CSUN, for the sake of his soul. His announcement came after years of harassment from his colleagues and LGBT activists.

Lopez talked to The Stream about his experience and why he believes tenure is spiritually dangerous for Christians.

The Stream: Most professors work and pray that one day they might reach tenure. You had tenure at a public university, but tenure did not protect your academic freedom – or even your freedom to think differently and be a part of the school community.

Why didn’t tenure protect you – and how does the process of getting tenure “harm people spiritually”?

Robert Oscar Lopez: Technically speaking, tenure is not simply a gift or privilege given to individuals. It is an entire system. To become admitted you have to be subjected to intense peer inspection.

When you accept a tenure-track position it is like a law firm, where part of the agreement is that the institution can choose to terminate you after 5–6 years and has no obligation to employ you. You can go for as long as six years not knowing how much your peers hate you. The standards are so subjective and ever-shifting, it is fair to say that it’s run by the whims of people at the very top. And because a certain portion of academic jobs are tenure-track while others aren’t, the system becomes incredibly inefficient, with exorbitant resources going to support tenure-track faculty who may end up being dismissed summarily, and virtually no support — not even subsistence-level pay — going to the adjunct faculty who are usually locally recruited and doing the bulk of teaching.

Because tenure is a massive system, not merely an individual status, when you get tenure you accept the discipline and eccentricities of the whole system.

As a tenured professor I was constantly being watched and documented by others, without knowing when or why they might suddenly accuse me of something. I wasn’t protected because so much of my life was submerged in a peer-reviewed system with massive uncertainty about what standards would be applied to me.

While they couldn’t block my tenure legally because I’d made the requirements, they ended up harassing me at every turn with false accusations and veiled threats. I was accused of inciting racist screams at the 2012 graduation, then accused of being lewd and having erections while teaching in 2013, then accused of not giving students a rubric in 2014, accused of disappearing for two weeks without telling my chair in 2014, and accused of forcing students to attend a conference against their will in 2014.

Each of these accusations was false and I proved them false, but to defend myself took so much time and documentation, it really drives you insane and makes it impossible to do your work.

Then in 2015, the accusations escalated, with students claiming I took them to an anti-gay conference like a KKK rally, passed out hate-filled brochures, insulted someone’s ovaries, lied about funding, tried to stop students from “reporting” me for sexism, and withheld an award against a feminist student for her views. The accusations started getting more numerous, vaguer, and more based on hearsay that I couldn’t disprove no matter how much documentation I kept.

In the case of these charges about the Reagan Library, the university imposed confidentiality rules that would not allow me to submit video of the conference speeches so I could disprove the false charges the accuser made about what was said at the conference!

Finally, in the spring of 2016, it was as if the university went past the point of no return, accusing me of being a CIA spy and of not doing my assigned work on a personnel committee. On the personnel committee I actually did five personnel files in less time than the others, who did four or three each, but it was their word against mine because I was not allowed to tape record or document our long 2–5 hour meetings.

Also, how do you prove that you aren’t a CIA spy?

Then I realized a colleague had sent me emails with booby-trap links to homosexual pornography, and that, had I clicked on them, those emails would have placed cookies on my work computer. I frantically tried to scan my computer to see if any such tricks had placed anything scary on my PC, but the university said they would not provide a forensic expert to review the computer with me there.

People had gone into my office unannounced when I had called in sick, and I realized at any time they could frame me for anything and I might end up in more serious trouble than tenure was worth. I realized at some point that my fear of losing tenure was forcing me to play their games by their illogical rules, and I risked becoming as crazy as they were. Also, I began to fear that I might be so overwhelmed that I might actually fumble, or I might get accused of something that would be impossible to disprove.

The Stream: You made a point of saying that tenure kept you from relying on God, and kept you far from God. You wrote that you “could not have your relationship with Jesus Christ and this job simultaneously.” Can you explain how that was?

Robert Oscar Lopez: In the Bible it says, “much learning is a weariness of the flesh.” The universities descended from holy orders full of scholars trying to get close to God. If you take God out of the equation, then there is no validity at all to large institutions taking up acres of land, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, just devoted to amassing more and more knowledge.

The entire enterprise is inherently vainglorious, an attachment to the things of this world.

You cannot serve two masters at once, and when you are tenured, you have agreed for life to serve a master who is not God. While it isn’t physically brutal, it is in a sense signing away your freedom.

And so it is natural that secular universities are not only deprived of God but contradict the whole Bible, which states that you should never invest so much into anything that is not Jesus Christ. God asks Job where Job was when the stars and all of physical reality were created. It is God’s province to be all-knowing and wise, and man’s province to study the things of this world in order to know Christ and serve Him.

When Isaac is being taken to Mount Moriah, and he asks Abraham where the sacrifice is, Abraham tells Isaac, “the Lord will provide.” Abraham does not say, “On Mount Moriah a tenure committee will provide.”

I realized that after only three years, I was allowing myself to succumb to fear and vanity, worrying that people might believe lies about me, instead of simply trusting that God will take care of those who cherish Him.

The Stream: What would you say to young PhDs who might be reading this? Is tenure going to be worth anything to them?

Robert Oscar Lopez: You have to view tenure as something you don’t need and that won’t change your life. If you get it, fine. But you must remember that God judges you, not peers, on the things where it matters. Do excellent work because, as it says in Colossians, everything we do, we do to glorify God.

But tenure is literally worthless. You don’t need it and it comes with many spiritual risks.

The Stream: I was surprised by the tone of your announcement. Where I expected righteous anger and resentment over how you were treated for your beliefs, instead you express what I think is joy, like here:

I am not quitting tenure because I lost the will to fight. I am quitting it because I found the will to live. The job security offered by tenure is not really security, because you are not safe when you are kept by tenure so far from God. I tried to honor God by doing all I could, within the academy, to get young people excited about literature, where they could see the beauty and virtue made possible by God’s love.

You don’t seem to be cursing the darkness so much as parting ways with it. Frankly, I’m impressed. I also wonder if you’re advocating for separating out Christian higher education; if we don’t send Christian professors and students to state schools, are we abandoning those who need the light of Christ there?

Robert Oscar Lopez: I am not sure if this is the right way to answer you, but here goes: I do feel that I was called to CSUN by God. As universities go, CSUN is in exceptional spiritual danger; the very campus is rife with deceptions and corruptions both physical and spiritual.

I do not regret having gone there, served eight years, and left. There are good people there, as there were in Nineveh if not in Sodom. When we are called, as I feel I was, we must go. We must not flee like Jonah. We must face what is out there.

The devil is powerful in the world and his ways are complex, cunning, and unpredictable. It is worth learning them and fighting them.

I do not think it is feasible to separate all Christians from campuses like CSUN, because many Christians are poor and need state-funded colleges to educate themselves. So we cannot abandon the students there who need some Christian mentors.

At the same time, there is a point where Nineveh either changes or decides to remain in its fallen state. I spoke up and brought my proposals to CSUN through every channel known to me. I only left when I saw that even the Christian students were no longer in a position to be helped by me.

I had spoken my views and was branded. It grieved me to leave behind the Christian students, but I really believe, in my heart, that I did all that God wanted me to do at CSUN, and I was no longer the right person to minister there.

The Stream: Have we reached the point where public institutions require us to silo off into our Christian corners?

Robert Oscar Lopez: If you have means and if Christian communities can gather resources, I think investing in Christian education and getting out of state education is a good idea. So yes.

The Stream: Would you advocate for other Christian professors to abandon the academy?

Robert Oscar Lopez: Each Christian professor has to decide for himself. The same week that I quit, a Christian graduate of Westmont, a professor at UCLA, was shot and killed.

God calls us to minister when God calls us. It takes a lot of prayer to know what to do. I found myself in a place where I had to abandon Christ or abandon CSUN. My dean and her allies in the College of Humanities were never going to let me be true to Christ and work at that school in any way that benefited Christians or Christianity. So I felt called to leave. It is individual.

The Stream: It sounds like you’re going to keep writing. What’s next for you? How can those who care about academic freedom and your work on children’s advocacy support you?

Robert Oscar Lopez: Prayer is so important. I will continue writing. Please follow me at English Manif and on SoundCloud (the CogWatch series) so that if I get to a point where I actually may need financial support, I can spread the word.

For now, I have some leads and am certain God will provide for me.

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  • Cowboy

    Not many men stand up and walk away from a position because they feel they cannot be a Christian and remain in a close walk with God. I find myself tested at times – but say that I have not had that courage. Well done Robert Lopez. Many will not understand what you have just done.

    • Rusty Writer

      He chose to quit a state job because he can’t write his gay porn novels in peace.

    • Jerry Reiter

      My favorite line from you is “they feel they cannot be a Christian and remain in a close walk with god.”

  • Jeanette Victoria ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    May God bless your future endevors Bobby

    • vorpal

      Such as writing hardcore gay fiction, like Johnson Park, the Melville Affair, and Gay Wars?

      • Jerry Reiter

        Any Latina supporting Trump has no self-respect or concern for her gender or people from her ethnic background… She’s a bit like a Jewish lady for Hitler. …. Plus, she can’t spell “endeavors”. Trump loves ‘the poorly educated.’

        • vorpal

          I know her from lots of other websites, and she clearly isn’t the brightest bulb in the hardware store.

  • O’Pinyon

    I really appreciated your book “Jephthah’s Daughters”; it was an eye-opener.
    There is no other adventure that compares to following Jesus, suffering for him,
    and being comforted and strengthened by Him.
    God bless you, Brother, and continue to make you a blessing.

    • vorpal

      You should read his books Johnson Park, the Melville Affair, and Gay Wars.
      His forays into bizarre hardcore gay scenarios really do reinforce his claims that he is simply a victim of a multi-pronged persecution from all sides.

      • O’Pinyon

        People with his courage are not, ultimately, victims. I am guessing that he would be more likely to describe himself as a son of God.

        • vorpal

          I know people who would likely describe themselves as geniuses. It doesn’t make them so.
          Whether or not ROL actually believes the things that come out of his mouth, I don’t know: that doesn’t change the fact that he is almost certainly delusional based on the incongruence between his words and actions, and his words and the lens of reality and probability.

          • O’Pinyon

            May God find Robert Lopez, and you, and me, faithful.

          • vorpal

            I assume you are referring to the god of Christianity.
            Not interested.

  • Papist

    Christian scholar/professors should aim to join the faculties of schools such as Christendom College, where tenure does not exist, every faculty member is a man or woman of faith, and persecutory shenanigans by students simply don’t occur.

    • Rusty Writer

      Sounds like a good Madrassah

  • John

    Maybe just as well. Leave these indoctrination centers for the marxists (satanic politicans) and then they will just crumble. Start a new education organization that adheres to The Word of God.

    • Rusty Writer

      Madrassas for Jesus

      • John

        What are you queer for satan?

        • Jerry Reiter

          Projection much?

          • John

            Do you like satanic/marxist indoctrination centers?

          • Jerry Reiter

            “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Groucho Marx

          • John

            There was a difference between karl and groucho…I think.

  • Dean Bruckner

    May God richly bless you, Dr. Lopez. I find your courage and wisdom inspiring, but even more so your faith. I’ve wondered whether I should physically leap for joy if I pay a price as you are doing now. One thing is for sure…our reward will be worth it all. My prayers for you. Thanks for your book too.

    • vorpal

      Which book? One of the three books of hardcore gay fiction that he’s written?

  • Mo86

    These leftists and Sexual Anarchy BULLIES will never rest until they destroy everyone who disagrees with them in any way.

    Know that we will NOT bow to you. Know that.

  • D.Vo

    I’m really proud of Professor Lopez for standing by his convictions in the face of adversity and for the sacrifices he’s made for the sake of truth. May God richly bless his life.

  • faithful

    If only the rest of the church woud wake from sleep and stand as Professor Lopez has done. Thru much reflection and prayer God’s direction is made known. God Bless Professor Lopez – may you continue to be a forerunner for Christ!

    • Rusty Writer

      Why do you blame Christ for this quitter? Jesus never spoke a word against homosexuals or bisexuals during his life. And the bible was silent on the sex life of Jesus, so for all we know Jesus was gay.

      • end_in_sound

        Dear God, I’d missed this one… I was actually going to suggest “Jesus was gay” was the next thing you’d write in my post to your reply to me, which interestingly is currently pending… Would that explain why I can’t see more posts challenging your unintelligent, populist rhetoric?

        Beyond being impressively ignorant and bearing the pride of it, you are entirely predictable.

        • Rusty Writer

          I have a master’s degree in theology and another in divinity. Your
          pitiful ‘education’ is in gutter language and the insults ministry. Your ignorance is astounding. There are over 4 million Christians alive today who are LGBT. Sexual orientation is a gift from God, one which comes with a no-return policy. If you think it’s a choice, just try changing yours.

          • end_in_sound

            “Sexual orientation is a gift from God, one which comes with a no-return policy.” May I request a copy of the Bible you have been studying since your teenage years; I very much wish to begin studying the same one myself… And the same person explains in detail and to all who will hear how Professor Lopez’s words and actions are nonsensical and incoherent with the truth he claims to stand for.

            One of the main issues in the debate about the church and homosexuality is that the church as a whole has done little else than either shaming and excluding homosexuals as though they were dirt, or putting together pseudo “healing” methods based on their own understanding of where the issue comes from, which to their mind is psychological. Yet one cannot be cured or healed from their homosexuality, because homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a disease – it is a demonic spirit, and demonic spirits cannot be cancelled, sedated or taken for counselling. They must be cast out.

            What strengthens the arguments of people like you is that since most in the church don’t even believe unclean spirits today live in people, let alone have a clue on how to cast them out, the feeling has become one of powerlessness and resignation, upon which the kind of absurdity you wrote are thriving.

            Jesus cast out devils as often as He healed the sick and He is the same today as He was then. It is an immature, self-serving and powerless church that is the issue, not the fact that homosexuality is innate.

            “I’ve created you gay, but if you dare practicing this sexuality you can never inherit My kingdom nor ever please Me”. What a God.

  • WTR

    Excellent news! It’s good to know this ignorant jesus thug will no longer be allowed to pollute the minds of normal people.

    • Dean Bruckner

      “Inside every liberal is a totalitarian screaming to get out.” – David Horowitz

      Yours seems mostly out already. If you want to see someone acting like a thug, frankly, look in the mirror. Suppressing the truth is always ugly, and a totalitarian enterprise, but that’s what you’re advocating.

      The Soviets had a law against “falsifying Soviet reality.” The Big Lie that communism was the best system in the world and brought peace and prosperity to all its followers was so weak, and so brittle, and so ugly, that they tried to suppress the truth every time it appeared. They lived in fantasy, until their country rotted under them. In the meantime, they killed 40 million people and operated a gulag that imprisoned 20 million people as a slave market.

      The Big Lie of the S3xual Revolution is even worse. Saying that s3x is whatever a person says it is, and the results are always sweetness and light, will end just like that if allowed to take its course. Prison camps, death and disease will cover this country from one to the other. All truth opposing it will be crushed, to preserve the fantasy.

      Please, reconsider what you are doing and step back from the brink.

      • Jerry Reiter

        Trump is Russia’s tool. If prison camps ever come to the US, it will be due to Trump.

    • Jon Porter

      Ignorance is bliss. You must be very happy!

  • Denise L

    “If anyone serves Me let him follow Me and where I am there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26 Thank you, Professor, for taking a stand and for knowledge behind the system and tenure.

    • Rusty Writer

      Jesus spoke not a word against homosexuals, and certainly never told anyone to deny civil rights to LGBT people in the United States. Nothing Lopez has done has a thing to do with Jesus.

      • end_in_sound

        You’ll find that the same Jesus actually did say that “he who had seen Him had seen the Father”, that the scripture (given to men by the same Father, in passages of the very same book I suspect you took good care not to read) could not be broken, that He “did nothing apart from His Father”, but whatever He sees His Father do, that only He does, and that “He and His Father are One”. So Jesus really is first to be a bigot, and then those who follow Him.

        • Rusty Writer

          I can tell you have never read the three novels by Lopez; they are all gay erotica which would curl your hair. Equating his bad decisions at work and his softcore porn habits to God and Jesus makes no sense. The guy made bad decisions at work; stop blaming deities for it.

          • end_in_sound

            And I can tell you’ve never read the Bible but post about Jesus as though you knew Him, which begs the question – between your comment and mine who do you identify as actually involving “deities” in all this? Read it again, maybe.
            So, as will have been obvious to most, my post is a direct response to your equating Jesus never saying a word against homosexuality in the Bible to the growing mistaken idea that He would no doubt support LGBT rights – the kind of nonsense anyone offended by what the Bible and who Jesus really are come up with everyday when attempting to create the perfect religion from the comfort of their own sofa.
            You’re right in supposing I’ve not read any of Lopez’s novels – I’m actually a straight female, so the chances aren’t too high I’d find anything worthy of inspiration in them. Have you any recommendations for me?

          • end_in_sound

            My bad, it was the word “bull$hit” and not the content of my post that made my post pending. Apologies, moderators – we’re less used to these things in the UK.

            You’ll acknowledge “nonsense” is a little less effective… No?

          • Rusty Writer

            You have a filthy mouth. “It is what comes out of a person which makes him clean or unclean.” – Jesus

          • end_in_sound

            And you a filthy heart.

            Yes, the likes of you make me want to use even worse words. But God is working on me – on you He cannot, since you do not belong to Him, but to yourself alone.

          • Kinsey6

            Kudos to you, sir. You’re right. End_in_sound is wrong (or perhaps I should say; disturbed). You’re clearly and obviously the more knowledgeable, mature, and loving person (I would imagine those who know you in-person probably describe you as altruistic, benevolent, and magnanimous). He just sounds angry and hypocritical. Probably due to some trauma he’s suppressed and was trying to take out on you.

          • Rusty Writer

            You are making false accusations (lying and gossiping) and posting another off-topic rant. This news article is about a professor who resigned due to his own poor judgment. You come along and claim the name of Jesus for this man’s employment woes, and then assume Jesus wants people to take away the civil rights of others. Wrong.
            PS I read the bible daily since the age of 14, went to Christian college and seminary and taught the bible for decades as a pastor and chaplain to homeless people. I am retired now, but after decades of dealing with troubled souls, I can tell you need pastoral counseling for your compulsion to lie and the bitterness which blinds you to the real message of Jesus, which was brilliant in its simplicity: “Love God.. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
            You changed it to “Deny civil rights to others in the name of God, and if you mess up at your job, blame gays.”

          • end_in_sound

            … The poor soul you are. At least I see what I wrote touched you – this will most probably be to the hardening of your hardened heart but that will be between you and Him, because the words are His.

            So firstly, saying that you don’t know the Bible cannot amount to a false accusation, nor to a lie… One does not actually need to have the Spirit of God to understand this, but merely to be above 13. And every Christian (by which we mean, Christian) reading this will have no issue joining in the gossip and lie that someone who speaks the way you do cannot, by any stretch of even the wildest of imaginations, be a Christian, nor understand any of what the Bible actually says. Since, as you are saying you’ve read it daily since you were 14, and think and speak the way you do, I think they all will also join me in praying for God’s mercy on your poor soul because you will need it everyday of your time on earth. Since I am a playful mood, I will also to ask you to tell me with a straight face that someone who will write the colourful things you have on Professor Lopez qualifies to point the finger at anyone else for being accusatory, lying and bitter.

            What so touches you is the truth that I speak, from which you are hiding pretending to be in the light – that Jesus Christ is who the Bible reveals He is, and everyone who knows Him will never deny Him, which you have been doing profusely – in fact I seem to be making your case worse, but making the case of the like of yours worse seems to be what I have come to this earth for.

            You pretend to know love, but are unable to see yourself as the exceptionally selfish person you are – exchanging eternal truth for a lie that promises people a false form of freedom on earth but condemns them to eternal judgment. And the reason you can do this without it ever affecting you is that there is no light whatsoever in you. When you love your neighbour as yourself your desire is to pull them out of hell, even if it must cost your earthly life. In fact it is precisely MEANT to cost one their earthly life, but it is more important to you to be accepted by people living in what will cost them an eternity separated from Him than to live a life of rejection and ostrasizing if it only means one of them will be freed to find the only One source of truth and redemption. It is you that you love, not your neighbour, and someone needs to break it down to you this side of paradise so that you will be without excuse when you stand before Him. May I suggest that on that day you remind Him of civil rights, and call for the LGBT community as witnesses of your “love” for them – I am convinced they will be so very grateful for it.

            You coming from a “Christian” background and being where you are, and being by your own account well older than me, and I coming from an atheistic home and finding Him and His truth for myself, would show you, had you not been hopelessly blinded, that a the background you boast of having (and again, this is very much against you in His eyes) means nothing. His light is so shining on your life, on your heart, on your lie that you are listing what you believe are achievements testifying of your goodness, which makes it all the way more obvious that HIM you do not know, but only yourself and what YOU judge makes you to be approved by Him. You could read the Bible until you were blue in the face that it would still not convict you. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing. I’m not sure how much of what you wrote is true, but I have actually been homeless and I thank God with all my heart that no pastor with a spirit like the one you have came to preach or lay his hands on me then. Isn’t He merciful.

            Here’s the beautiful truth, and it is whether it pleases you or not – that of those reading this you are only fooling those who are like you. The Christians on this board know who you are, and they know I am.

            May I finish by correcting one of the seemingly very many misconceptions you seem to hold – we (Christians) do not actually believe that the LGBT community will have a harder time after this life than anyone else. It isn’t homosexuality in itself that sends people to hell, it is rejecting Jesus Christ and His gospel. You are rejecting Jesus Christ and His gospel, so you are in the exact same position as many of those people you claim to love. The aberation here is that someone actually had to spell it out for you.

  • Jon Porter

    Thank you for your courage. May the Lord bless you and guide you always.

    • Rusty Writer

      Robert Oscar Lopez cited Jesus, so I looked up what Jesus said about homosexuality in the bible, and here is the entire teaching on it (_____________________________________________________________).
      Lopez is a quitter and a bigot, not a Christ follower.

  • Stu Miller

    The far left takeover on the American college campus is quite tolerant…especially if you only tolerate the views of the far left…and by the way…for extra “brownie points”…express your disdain for the only democracy in the middle east…Israel…You’ll become the hit of the college crowd and be guaranteed a job for life…

  • vorpal

    Yes, Bobby… I’m sure it’s far more likely that you were the target of a multi-pronged attack orchestrated by many intended to discredit you, make up vicious rumors about you, humiliate you, and drive you from academia than that you’re a histrionic liar.

    • Rusty Writer

      Sarcasm – the gay lingua franca

      • vorpal

        Thanks for the compliment!

        • Rusty Writer

          Your comments are often witty or clever in some way.

  • Rusty Writer

    I tried to read the novels of Robert Oscar Lopez because they are set in my home city of Buffalo, NY. I was shocked to realize this voice of the ex-gay gang had written a series of gay porn books. And this was long after his ‘conversion’ from happy bisexual to miserable glutton.

  • Rusty Writer

    Now Lopez is free to practice the Insults Ministry and his special calling, “Cruelty for Christ.”

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