ALL IN ALL, I would describe my home town of West Point, Miss., as a quiet little community where nothing much ever happens.

West Point is the county seat and the only city -- of consequence or otherwise -- in Clay County. We grow cattle and soybeans in Clay County and enjoy the quiet. Or we did until Morality in America, Incorporated came to town.

Morality in America, Incorporated is based in Tupelo, one of the two most populous little cities in the 20 or so counties which constitute northeast Mississippi. The organization was born early in the spring of 1984 in the office of a Tupelo attorney to combat what its proponents consider their three worst enemies:

*Pornography.

*The disappearance of Christian influences from public schools.

*Abortion.

Interestingly enough, many of these people who are worried about the lack of Christian influence in public schools long ago abandoned public schools for the sanctuary of private schools. Since the birth of Morality in America, satellite groups have been established in several northeast Mississippi counties, including the County of Clay.

In July 1984, the founder of Morality in America told a Memphis newspaper reporter: "Sodom and Gomorrah are starting to look mild compared to America." This gentleman cited the number of child molestation cases in America, the high percentage of divorces and San Francisco's large homosexual community as evidence that America is "languishing in a moral depression that needs alleviating."

The leader of the Pontotoc County branch of Morality in America told a reporter that the goal of his group is "to clean up . . . pornographic areas . . . to establish some decency and morality in our communities." He went on to say that the First Amendment . . . "does not give people the right to choose to read pornographic material" and that "censorship is a way of life in America."

The leader of the Clay County group -- where I live -- voiced his concern about moral degeneration. He said, "The moral fiber [of our nation] has been destroyed, literally."

At a meeting sponsored by Morality in America in Columbus -- which is the other most populous little city in Northeast Mississippi -- the guest speaker, who was identified as the author of a book titled "Porno Plague," told his audience, "Pornographers do not know where to stop . . . unless you stop them now, in a number of years they will be performing live sex acts on the street corners with your children -- forcibly -- and they will resent your suggestions that they stop."

According to this author-lecturer, rapists and child molesters get their ideas from magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler and other lesser known literature. He stated that the reason "pornographers don't come through the door right now and slit your throats with a straight-edge razor is becaus they don't think they can get away with it -- yet."

Before I tell you about Commonsense, Unlimited, let me first say something about West Point and Clay County in northeast Mississippi.

Clay County lies in what we call Black Prairie country, about one and one-half hours drive southeast of William Faulkner's old haunts in Oxford, Miss. Half of Clay County's 20,000 people are black; half are white. Half live in Clay County's only city -- West Point; the other half are clustered in or around little communities such as Pheba and Montpelier and Palo Alto and Big Springs and Tibbee and Union Star.

Clay County could be your typical RFD, U.S.A., but it really is not. I have never made a precise estimate of the number of churches versus the number of liquor stores and beer joints, but the numbers of each are fairly large and probably are almost equal.

The birthplace of Morality in America in Clay County is a little church in the northwest section of the county called the Hebron Baptist Church. Although small and rural, the Hebron Baptist Church is reputed to be very wealthy as a result of a million dollar or more bequest it received several years ago following the death of a rich widow.

The preacher at Hebron Church and founder of the Clay County branch of Morality in America is a member of one of West Point's wealthiest families, famed for its selfless support of civic projects. His call to the ministry came well into his middle age after he had entered into several not very successful business ventures.

The preacher launched his anti-pornography campaign in late spring of '84, choosing as his target the magazine racks at some 10 or so West Point business establishments. There were also broad hints that local libraries need cleaning up. Specific aim was taken at what is generally known as girlie magazines and the usual variety of raunchy comic books on the magazine racks in local stores.

Several public meetings were staged with coverage on the local newspaper, The Daily Times Leader. Threats of picketing and legal action against stores offering Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler magazines, as well as other material the group deemed offensive, were followed up by individual complaintive visits to store managers and a small flood of identically worded postcards and letters threatening to discontinue trading at the stores if the offensive magazines were not removed. Many of the threats were concluded with a prayer by the offended for the soul of the offending merchant.

Within a few weeks all stores but one had either withdrawn the targeted material from their magazine racks or had discontinued sales of printed material altogether. Two local department stores withdrew from their stock items of wearing apparel that had a bunny logo, seemingly an exact replica of the Playboy bunny, imprinted on the apparel. The anti-bunny action turned out to be a grievous mistake because it alerted many West Pointers and Clay Countians to the extremity of the fanaticism that had been unleashed in our community.

This attack upon an innocent little rabbit set in motion a reaction of revulsion that turned into mockery -- and mockery, or derision, is and always has been, a most powerful weapon against zealotry. But the base of reaction against the anti-porn campaign was centered in a small, innocuous, green-fronted building on Main Street called McCollum Drug Store. McCollum Drugs is the only family-owned store among the 10 or so stores that featured magazine display racks, and the only store to resist the threats of the moralizers.

The other stores -- all of them -- are members of absentee ownership chains. Each of these stores decided to give in because, "We weren't making any money on the magazines, and it wasn't worth the hassle." Both department store managers who agreed to sacrifice the wearing apparel cursed by the imprint of the little bunny logos gave the same rationale.

But Owen McCollum, second generation operator of McCollum Drugs, and his pharmacist, Conley Cox, a feisty little man, decided to stand pat and defy the Morality group. "I'm not making any money on the magazines either," Owen McCollum told me. "but I'm going to stand up for my principles -- that I have a right to offer for sale anything that is legal; and that my customer has a right to purchase anything that is legal." Conley Cox said, "I'll fight the bastards on the street if that's what it takes."

The anti-porn movement received no encouragement from West Point's governing officials. The mayor, who is related by marriage to the preacher-founder of the morality group, and the city's prosecuting attorney firmly reminded the preacher and his followers in so many words that the stores were not violating city ordinances and that the State of Mississippi's obscenity statute is in a state of unenforceable limbo due to a preliminary injunction issued by one of the federal district judges in the state.

As I watched this morality play unfold, I was intrigued that there were many privately spoken whispers of opposition to the morality group's actions, but no shouts of public criticism. The Daily Times Leader reported the actions of Morality, Inc. with straight-faced dispassion, but made no editorial comment, pro or con.

I wrote a letter to the editor challenging the group's tactics which I described as intimidating. The editor suggested what turned out to be a remarkably wise idea. He told me that if there were a group opposing the anti-porn group, he would give it equal time. That is "fair play" if I ever heard of "fair play." I asked him how many people it took to constitute a "group." The editor studied my query for several moments and replied -- quite seriously -- "Gains, I'd say that two people -- certainly three -- constitute a group."

I picked up the phone and called Conley Cox at McCollum Drug Store. He told me that he would be delighted to be a charter member of an organization that I suggested calling "Commonsense Unlimited, Inc." It has always been my philosophy that an unlimited source of commonsense is the best counter-agent to unlimited emotional nonsense.

A young lawyer named Jim Waide who occupies a law office next door to McCollum's joined.

Thus, Commonsense Unlimited, Inc. was born in West Point, Miss. I was interviewed immediately by the local newspaper and spoke my piece about what I described as "strong-armed and possibly illegal tactics" being used to intimidate local merchants, and I pointed out the present and potential dangers that the morality group posed to free speech and free press.

Subsequently, Commonsense has not become a big deal in West Point or elsewhere in terms of membership. We have had six or seven people write in or call or stop me on the street and ask that their names be added to our membership rolls.

Our group, though not large in terms of membership, became important because it served as a rallying point for those West Point and Clay County citizens who personally desire to remain anonymous, but who appreciated and applauded Commonsense's willingness to expound publicly and loudly their own unspoken misgivings, fears and even contempt for a form of zealotry that they recognize as a major threat to First Amendment rights.

Why this reluctance to voice their own opinions in public places? You must understand that West Point and Clay County are RFD, U.S.A., though not necessarily typical of RFD, U.S.A. Many of these people have spent their entire lives in Clay County. God only knows how many of them are related to one another -- close or distant. And only they themselves know how many real or assumed obligations they have to one another.

But bloodlines and obligations aside, West Point is not one of your common, ordinary rinky-dink southern towns. It boasts a more imposing and thoroughly stocked public library than you will find in much larger cities throughout the nation. Ironically, the new library was largely funded by a branch of the family of the preacher-founder of the Clay County branch of Morality, Incorporated. West Point has an extraordinarily active Arts Council.

The West Point Music Coterie is comprised of pretty, leggy schoolteachers, business and professional women and what a young attorney friend of mine calls "recycled housewives." The coterie is known throughout north Mississippi for its superb musical performances. In the area of intellectual and artistic pursuits, West Point is a cut above RFD, U.S.A.

The fact is that the vast majority of citizens in Clay County are intelligent, fair- minded people who simply do not cherish the spotlight of public controversy -- particularly when it involves public criticism of cousins, aunts, uncles and other good old boys, girls and neighbors. But when Commonsense began to speak out publicly, many of them began to communicate their own criticism privately to individual members of the Morality group, and there was no lack of quietly-voiced encouragement spoken to the founders of Commonsense.

The flood of hate mail, addressed to McCollum Drug Store, and blessed by the prayers of the writers, has subsided to a trickle. The anti-porn preacher became isolated and forlorn on his weekly Sunday morning TV sermon show. The TV sermon hour itself quietly disappeared a few Sundays ago.

And what has been the result of this low- keyed opposition to Morality in America's campaign in West Point and Clay County, Mississippi? Folks, the girlie magazines are coming back. Yes, dear friends, Penthouse and Playboy are returning -- quietly and unobtrusively -- to the magazine racks they fled from several months ago.

As founder and chairman of our nine-or 10-member Commonsense organization, I do not consider this to have been a victory for Playboy and Penthouse, although I have become known to some of my friends and non- friends in Clay County as the Prince of Porn or Sultan of Smut. I consider this experience to have been a small victory in a small battle in the continuing large war that must be waged throughout this nation to combat the ever-present and ever-recurring assaults on First Amendment rights that are so essential to the preservation of freedom in this nation.

If there are any laurels to be awarded, those laurels are richly deserved by the many citizens of West Point and Clay County, Miss., who recognize that Commonsense is alive and doing nicely in this minuscule segment of greater RFD, U.S.A.