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Originally published April 21, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 21, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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The Reader's View

If confused, don't preach

I am at a loss to explain what The Seattle Times' editors were thinking when they prepared and presented the editorial "Pharmacists reach...

Special to The Times

Plan B puts right of conscience at stake

I am at a loss to explain what The Seattle Times' editors were thinking when they prepared and presented the editorial "Pharmacists reach for Plan B" [Times, Opinion, April 16]. Not only does the editorial lack any mention of the right of conscience that is at stake, but it also uses a demeaning cartoon figure of a cleric.

The editorial calls disagreement over the board's requirement that pharmacies dispense legally prescribed medications a "political fight disguised as morality" and the cartoon stereotype trivializes the role of church leaders in this debate.

The debate is not about the church imposing its views. Opposition to the rule by believers and non-believers alike is based on the right of conscience, a right affirmed by our federal and state constitutions.

The word "conscience" does not even appear in your editorial, which raises the question of whether you understand the issue you are editorializing.

Of equal concern is the apparent religious bigotry involved in the selection and placement of the cartoon. The cartoon trivializes the role of conscience in this debate, and it trivializes the role and voice of the church and clergy in the public square.

Located as it was in The Times' editorial section, it seems a fair assumption that the insult is the opinion of the newspaper.

Since you don't seem to understand the issue and hold an apparent prejudice against the church and its leaders, let me clarify two points:

First, the church does not seek to impose its views in the public square, but it does insist on the right of conscience. The pharmacy board has undermined this time-tested American principle.

Second, The Times' cartoon, an insult to religious people in general and the clergy specifically, is a reprehensible case of intolerance that demands an apology.

The Most Rev. Alex J. Brunett is the Catholic archbishop of Seattle.

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