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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
COMMENTARY: A tenured professor of English is threatened with dismissal because he challenged one of the sexual revolution’s core assumptions.
Robert Oscar Lopez, a tenured English professor at California State University-Northridge, is on the verge of being suspended without pay, ostensibly due to a conference he organized a year ago. In fact, I believe this is not the real reason why this man of Puerto Rican and Philippine heritage, who knows six modern languages as well as Latin and Greek, is being hounded out of his job.
Lopez’s parents divorced when he was a toddler. His mother formed an intimate relationship with another woman. His father disappeared from his life for a long time. Lopez believes that these events were traumatic for him, and he has been outspoken in saying so. His countercultural views are an embarrassment to the Sexual Revolutionary Establishment at his university and beyond. They believe he must be silenced. Getting him fired is one step toward that end.
I was one of the presenters at the conference in question, “Bonds That Matter.” And, unbeknownst to me, I was one of the sources of controversy in Lopez’s interaction with the Cal State administration.
Lopez invited me to present at the conference on the topic of divorce. I was eager to be part of the event, as my organization, the Ruth Institute, agrees with his general perspective: that it is unjust to deprive a child of a relationship with his or her parents without good reason. Millions of children have their relationship with a parent damaged by parental divorce.
I agreed to waive my usual fee, as a way of supporting this initial effort of Lopez’s new organization, the International Children’s Rights Institute. As part of our agreement, the Ruth Institute was permitted to have a display table. We did not sell anything, nor did we offer participants the opportunity to sign up for our newsletter, activities we normally do when I speak at events. I did not mention anything regarding homosexuality, gay marriage or gay parenting during my talk, which you can listen to for yourself.
Imagine my surprise when I received a call from Lopez, many months later, asking me about some Ruth Institute brochures.
“Did you pass out this brochure called ‘77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage?’” he said.
“No. They were probably lying on our book table. Why do you ask?”
He asked because a student had filed a complaint against him. These brochures were submitted as evidence that his conference had created a hostile environment. Mind you, the student who lodged this complaint received an A in the course in question and did not file her complaint until after she had graduated.
I confirmed that I did, however, pass out and discuss another pamphlet, “Are You a Survivor of the Sexual Revolution?” — which you can look at for yourself. We have revised the artwork since the conference and made modest changes to the content. In fact, the version the students saw did not include the last sentences about children of same sex-parents, under “Gay Lifestyle Refugee.”
I believe the sexual revolutionaries despise Robert Lopez because he challenges one of their core assumptions. The sexual revolution is based on the idea that all adults able to give meaningful consent are entitled to unlimited sexual activity with a minimum of inconvenience. What they never mention is this: Children just have to accept whatever adults choose to give them.
Lopez believes that children have rights to a relationship with both of their parents, in the absence of some unavoidable tragedy. Children have a right to know their identity, so that all adults without exception can know their cultural heritage and genetic identity. These entitlements of children impose legitimate obligations and limitations on adult behavior, including, potentially, public policy and personal sexual behavior.
All of us who presented at that conference agree with this basic point. We disagreed among ourselves about the exact nature and contours of those obligations and limitations. But this common ground created a fruitful avenue for serious discussion.
The very concept of children’s rights that impose limitations on adult sexual behavior threatens the fragile intellectual structure of the sexual revolution. The true revolutionary is counting on no one noticing that sex makes babies and that children need their parents.
The true revolutionary needs to change the subject away from this topic,and on to any other topic. For example:
Here is a link to a summary of the case. Here are the letters filed on behalf of Lopez by attorney Charles LiMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund and by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Looking at these documents, any sensible person must conclude that the answer to all these questions is “No.” Yet these are the questions the sexual revolutionaries, including the students with their frivolous complaints and the University Equity and Diversity Establishment, would prefer to discuss.
Never mind whether children are traumatized by the divorce of their parents. Never mind whether children feel wounded by the state-sanctioned loss of one parent through third-party reproduction. Never mind whether surrogate mothers are fully informed about the health risks they face. Never mind whether some adoption practices improperly commercialize and commodify children and harm their mothers.
The university should drop all charges against Robert Oscar Lopez. Please sign our petition to the chancellor of the California State University System, asking him to drop all charges.