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.

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

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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