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Protect Speech, But Don't Imperil Children

I am deeply disappointed in the opinion-page article ``Will `Indecency' Cops Retire?,'' Jan. 20.

Perhaps free speech needs to be rethought. We are so eager to protect the idea of free speech that we neglect to balance it with a stand for morals and decency.

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If people want their ``bathroom humor,'' ``sexual innuendo,'' and lewd ``art,'' I'm sure they can be inventive enough to get it without making it so readily accessible to the millions of children at home alone for hours, looking for entertainment and solace. Ask any teacher in public school: Out of the mouths of babes now comes filth that can be directly related to shows watched on TV.

We are told we can turn off our TVs. I put our TV in the storage room because although I am home with my children all day, they couldn't resist the temptation to turn on the TV at times when I wasn't in that part of the house, even though it was against the rules.

How many parents are able to be home and have this much parental control? How many have the fortitude to listen to the protests about it from their children, and from well-meaning friends who think they are overprotective parents?

The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote ``Is not the propagation of the human species a greater responsibility, a more solemn charge, than the culture of your garden or the raising of stock to increase your flocks and herds? Nothing unworthy of perpetuity should be transmitted to children.... The entire education of children should be such as to form habits of obedience to the moral and spiritual law ....''

If we judged what we watch and allow our children to watch by these standards, the little child in all of us would be preserved and many of the world's problems would be met. Robin Biron, Lewiston, Maine

Dubbing double standard

Regarding the editorial ``Cultural Quotas,'' Jan. 24:

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The French government is aiming to represent its people through its courageous attempt to restrain the enormous amount of American film fare that is sent out in dubbed versions while dubbed French films are rarely permitted in the United States.

If and when the United States addresses the issue, as the editorial indicates it will, it should allow the unrestricted importation of dubbed French film into this country.

Certainly there would be a loss from the original version, but it would begin to be a fair fight. Remakes of French films such as ``Three Men and a Baby,'' ``Sommersby,'' ``The Man With One Red Shoe,'' and many others would not be necessary because their French originals would be viewed by a much larger American audience than the one willing to read subtitles. Genevieve C. Bogert, Elsah, Ill.

Sacrificing for Sarajevo

The Jan. 12 Danziger cartoon with the heading ``The New Samaritans'' shows the United States and Western European countries passing by on the other side of the road while gangsters beat an individual representing Sarajevo.

What we need now is a fresh story (and cartoon), a parable of the true new Samaritan who, in spite of being attacked by the Serb and Croat brigands, stops and sacrifices to bring aid and comfort to those who are suffering from brutality and privation.

The role of the new Samaritan is being played by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, members of Doctors Without Borders, and workers for the many private voluntary relief groups active in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, and elsewhere in the world. John E. Fobes, Asheville, N.C.

Sacrificing for Sarajevo

I'm afraid that it is impossible for me to agree with the Jan. 12 Danziger cartoon.

The good Samaritan in the Bible parable used his own money, his own beast, his own oil and wine. He did not risk the lives of many young men in order to help the injured traveler. Nor did the friends of the injured traveler fight other injured travelers and commit dark deeds of revenge.

It is the lives of their young nationals that the leaders of Britain, the United States, France, Germany, and others are unwilling to sacrifice. F. Wintle, Salisbury, England

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