Letter to Editor: Invitation To A Public Forum

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Dear Ms. Parker:

The question is this:  Do we want to live in a Republic or not?

If we want to live in a Republic – in a representative democracy – we are going to need to accept speech that offends us.  All of us, each of us, have our own set of words or images or acts that we find offensive.  If we want our freedom, we need to be adult enough to afford others their freedom.

You made the statement that “we can and should discuss and debate the issues with all the passion of the founders of our great country.”  This sugarcoats the fact that the founders of our nation achieved our independence through open rebellion and revolution.  Four score and seven years after that revolution, we again went to war over the differences between us.

Free speech is the safety valve of democracy.  The steam it lets off is nothing like the explosion that would happen if it was suppressed too long or too thoroughly.  

I entered into this Twitter controversy quite by accident.  As part of my pastoral duties, when I am called upon to help, I help to the best of my ability.  The Sussex County GOP asked me if they could get my advice when they had questions as to the propriety of individual “tweets”.  This would be done only if there was dissent amongst those in the committee charged with “cleaning” the county GOP’s Twitter page.  

To date, they have not needed my advice, but that did not stop several media outlets and the Democrat Party from promptly digging through my Twitter page, looking for something to be offended about.  As a result, I have been attacked in the media for adhering to Biblical truths and called a “Hitler” by the Chairwoman of the Sussex County Democrats.  That is insane.  

Nevertheless, I have not asked for anyone to be fired or called what they did to me “hate speech” or asked that their rights be taken from them.  As a Christian, I have the duty of forbearance and forgiveness.  As the citizen of a Republic, I know that allowing them their freedom ensures me my freedom – or at least it should.

I invite you and the Trustees of the Sussex County Community College to further explore this topic.  I think a public forum and a civil conversation would be just the thing to heal what has occurred – on both sides.  I look forward to meeting with you.


Philip Rizzo
Pastor, City Baptist Church

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