WHILE I applaud the objective of your editorial on Sen. Bob Casey and the stem-cell debate (

April 16

), I can't agree that legislators have no room for their own strongly felt opinions.

Such arguments were never applied to Rick Santorum when he was in office, and they are rarely applied to Arlen Specter. It appears that they are applied to Sen. Casey because his opinions stem from religious beliefs rather than from political or legal theory, and because he is a Democrat.

The leadership of the Democratic Party deprived us of the opportunity to vote in the primary for a senator who represented a tolerant civic position on beginning- and end-of-life issues. The Daily News and Inquirer applauded so hard you nearly fell off your chairs.

Now that you got what you wanted, you want to change the rules of the game. Like it or not, you are stuck with Bob Casey and his views on stem-cell research funding for another five years.

Ben Burrows, Elkins Park

I disagree strongly with your assertion that Sen. Casey's job "is to represent the views of his constituents, not his deeply held personal views."

Men of character and integrity are extremely hard to come by in this day and age. A man who has morals, has values, has "deeply held beliefs" and is not afraid to stand up for those beliefs is a man to be commended, not condemned.

Dan Rooney, King of Prussia

Bouquets for Flowers

Re Christine Flowers' op-ed "Owed: Some Big Apologies" on the Duke case:

I couldn't have said it better myself! How do we go about getting a campaign started where we insist the the Rev. Al and Jesse Jackson apologize to the country and to these three boys publicly? And the accuser needs to be prosecuted, too. I don't want to hear anything about mental issues - they should have been taken into consideration at the time of her accusations.

She has done a great disservice to women everywhere who may really been raped. They will probably be more hesitant than ever to go to police.

Thanks for saying what so many won't.

Georgeanne Lawson, Lansdowne

Christine Flowers' op-ed "Spinning before the blood is dry" on Virgina Tech says it all about the politics and agendas of those factions looking to make the greatest gains at the expense of those who lost their lives. It couldn't be said any better!

Thomas G. Lutek, Philadelphia