In criticizing Ruth Marcus for writing that House Speaker John A. Boehner has a duty to set the record straight regarding President Obama’s birthplace, Marilyn Gold [letters, Feb. 21] said she finds it a “beautiful thing about America” that “nobody should tell anybody what to think or believe.”

Yes, it’s the beauty of the human mind everywhere that nobody can tell us what to believe. We are even free to believe the Earth is flat and pigs will fly, but the speaker presumably knows the difference between fact, fiction and opinion. As the most important leader in the legislative branch, he has an obligation to correct the misinformation peddled by the birthers, because the sole purpose of their campaign is to undermine the constitutional legitimacy of the duly elected head of the executive branch.

It’s Mr. Boehner, not Mr. Obama, who has what Ms. Gold calls a “personal credibility issue.”

Vivian Kallen, Arlington