I attended the health-care town hall at the Constitution Center ("Passions high at health meeting, " Monday) hoping to actually hear intelligent discussion of a complex and serious issue. By chance, I ended up seated in a nest of right-wing fanatics. They ruined the event for everybody there, which I am sure was their intention.

I managed to hold on to my sense of humor until the 70-plus-year-old lady seated next to me lurched to her feet, face twisted in fury, and screamed at the top of her lungs, "Excommunicate her!" This was no doubt directed at Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius, who has been subjected to a campaign by conservatives in her home state of Kansas to have her cast out of her church because of a lack of sufficient vigor in her opposition to abortion.

Excommunicate her?! Wow. These people are straight out of the 13th century. But what was really going through my mind, as my mouth dropped open: What in heaven's name would this woman's grandchildren (or perhaps great-grandchildren) think to see her behave so badly in public? It's hard to see how people with these attitudes could ever play a meaningful role in setting policy.

Keith H. Cox

Philadelphia