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American glasnost

How heartwarming to read of Charles Z. Wick's principled stand against Russian attempts to stifle the free flow of information [``Glasnost: change of style but not of substance,'' Oct. 16]. And how unfortunate, then, to read in another paper that the visa of a Colombian journalist, on her way to New York to be honored at Columbia University for her journalistic excellence, had been revoked. John Fielding New York

Mr. Wick writes that ``unlike the Soviet Union, the US does not restrict entry of foreign journalists because we don't like what they write about us.'' When, as in Colombian journalist Patricia Lara's case, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) invokes the MacCarran-Walter Act's provision for ideological exclusion, it usually refuses to give any details. Ms. Larra was to accept an award for distinguished contribution to the ``free flow of information between the Americas''; she concluded that her infraction must have been ``writing against the Reagan policy in Central America.'' Wick might not agree that the intellectual life of the republic is impoverished by such actions, but he would have to concede that confident assertions of US moral superiority are questionable. Ted Adorno Bridgeport, Conn.

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Columnist Joe Patrick Bean asks, ``What then is the difference between Soviet suppression of ideas and the Graves County School Board decision to pull Faulkner from its high school classes?'' [``Book banning,'' Oct. 15]. Our children spend a limited time in school each day. It is mandatory that we choose thoughts most beneficial to them then and in their later life. Perhaps the Graves County School Board did not feel that ``As I Lay Dying'' ranked as high on its list of quality works as did others. And, as stated, the work is available at the local public library.

No one would deny that the Bible is a superlative educational work -- but one should recall that it has been denied classroom use in this country many times. T. H. Maguire Jr. Fairfield, Conn.

The moral education that columnist Reo M. Christenson writes about came for me in elementary school [``Moral education: consensus in a pluralistic society,'' Oct. 14]. Each morning pupils and teachers sang songs, saluted the flag, and listened to poetry and Bible readings. It might be worthwhile to go back to assemblies of this kind -- not with the idea of indoctrination but with exposure as a goal. This would enable students to recognize other moral ideas. Cornelia Smollin Amagansett, N.Y.

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