Readers Write

Between Censorship and Free Speech

I read with interest the opinion-page article "Why I'm Against the Internet Decency Act" (March 27), but found the reasoning less than reasonable.

To suggest that in the United States of the 1990s a library would be prosecuted for posting "Huckleberry Finn" on-line is ludicrous. To invoke the sacred cow of "free speech," which was never meant by our founders to justify the unbridled public display of the erotomania which pervades our present culture (Internet included), is to be socially irresponsible. Is the unrestrained display of smut on the Internet a "precious freedom," as suggested?

To suggest that parental supervision can protect our children unrealistically assumes the omnipresence of parents and neglects the reality of those unfortunate children whose parents do not or cannot supervise them.

We must be the protectors of each other and each other's children. This is what the Internet Decency Act attempts to do, and I am wholly in support of it.

Scott T. Armistead

Richmond, Va.

Caring for sacred places

"This Old Church Straps on Its Tool Belt" (March 14) about restoring historic church buildings refers to "Partners for Sacred Spaces."

The correct title of this not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization is "Partners for Sacred Places" in Philadelphia. It is a wonderful resource that any religious group may turn to for help in caring for their building. Partners for Sacred Places offers services and programs including publications, conferences, and an information clearinghouse. Material on fund-raising for capital improvements, project management, property maintenance, energy conservation, stained glass repair and protection, and many other topics is available to members who only need to pay a nominal yearly fee to join.

Betty M. Ames

Piedmont, Calif.

Down-to-earth building technique

Your Page 1 story "Mainstream Culture Embraces - but Redefines - Meaning of 'Spirituality'" (March 31) distorts a concept in the photo caption of a Heaven's Gate compound in New Mexico. The comment that "The compound was known as 'Earth Ship' " capitalizes on the "space alien" hysteria surrounding the cult by misrepresenting an increasingly popular building technique in the West.

The compound that you refer to is built of recycled materials and uses the concept of thermal mass to save and store energy. The term earthship is commonly used to refer to these structures, most often made using tires as structural material.

Anyone who lives in one of these homes refers to it as an earthship. By your reporting you seem to equate them with the cult, and that is patently false.

That such a mistake should occur in an article in which you decry the misuse of the term spirituality is doubly ironic.

Thomas W. Elliot

Guffey, Colo.

New Mexico overlooked again

We New Mexicans are occasionally asked if passports are required for visitors from the US. Our packages from other states sometimes arrive with customs stickers. Sometimes New Mexico is simply overlooked. Maps show Arizona and Texas with a common border. New Mexico is so often misplaced that New Mexico Magazine has a monthly feature it calls "One of Our Fifty Is Missing."

This time it is the Monitor's turn. In "Too Many Hands on the Tiller Leave GOP Adrift," (March 27) you identify Sen. Pete Domenici as a Republican from Arizona. Actually, he is from New Mexico, one of the 50 United States, missing once again.

Jill Buckley

Socorro, N.M.

Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to oped@csps.com

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