Colman McCarthy, a thoughtful and profound columnist, proposes that dogs be banned in America, at least in cities, and cites the happy state of Iceland's capital where no dog is allowed to live {op-ed, Sept. 12}.

Iceland is all very well, with a high standard of living, a regimen of hot baths and fish, but Iceland has not traditionally been the American guide to judgment in all matters, and need not be thought of further on the question of dogs.

Now the dark side of McCarthy's springlike freshness, which we expect from his usual columns, is an occasional hint from him that the eatingof sugar, the giving of tips in res-taurants and the keeping of dogsas pets are three of the most hei-nous examples of human evil. Until now, however, he was content to mutter about dogs. His clarion call to abolish them in our nation is something new.

We have no space here for encyclopedic argument, but for purposes of quick summary we may say that American freedom, honor, prosperity and general hope all derive from the understanding and love of the dog.

Why, you may ask, should so thoughtful a columnist urge total phasing out of dogs in our country? Why, the dog eats $500 worth of food a year, he says, and this food or at least this money could go to the poor.

We may remember that woman who once broke an alabaster vial of precious ointment and was rebuked for extravagance -- should not the money have been spent on the poor? But a competent judge of virtue ruled she did well. Love ought not to be assaulted in the guise of charity.

It is well known that Adam was obliged to flee Eden, his only steady companion a good hound. What good were angels then? They lost no time snarling at him in his distress, and one took a flaming sword against him. So much for angels. Even his dear wife was not much use, the day of his expulsion. Indeed, if she had cared more for dogs, and less for serpents and devils, it would have been better. Or so the Good Book reminds us.

And you recall the Sufi mystic, judged worthy of immediate entry into paradise, only he could not take his mutt along, and he said:

"Not without my dog."

And we should not take lightly the view of some deep thinkers who say dogs have souls. It has even been suggested cats do. I have my doubts about rabbits, having known a rather vicious one for 12 years, but I leave such questions to my betters. Dominican monks of the Middle Ages, to whom civilization owes something, by the way, could think of no more pious name for their order than Domini canes, the dogs of God. Presumptuous, you may say, but they meant it in hope, and as a title to be earned.

Lord Byron, not always considered an ultimate authority on morals, nevertheless understood the inner beauty of the dog. He speaks of beauty without vanity, courage without ferocity and other high wonders he had remarked in life with Boatswain, his good Newfoundland. But if testimonials to the dog were collected there would scarcely be space in any library for lesser knowledge.

But leaving these lofty grounds, you have only to observe the waddling child with a pup. What an unsuitable custodian he is, in many cases, being given to much tugging at ear and tail, grievous to the dog's dignity and comfort. Yet who doubts that here we see the first grapplings toward human responsibility, the first faltering steps toward human love?

Take the sparkling terrier. What human ever deserved his high spirits, his irrepressible affection? Who ever earned, really, such eyes, such faith or such furry comfort when dark days come? Who can doubt the terrier eases the loss of Eden?

Or take the cur, the mongrel, your basic dog. He is the same in all nations and all generations. Despised and rejected by some, he yet bears in his chromosomes and his heart every possibility of Dog. And those who find divine love too hard to comprehend may well find the dog an earthly approximation. Giving freely and not to be denied.

Now, it is possible some men have phobias, but these may be alleviated if the desire for health be present.

Undoubtedly we can insult or kill or ban the dog, but alas for the one by whom such coldness comes into the world. One can urge the sins of the dog more than those sins are. Yes, they eat their Mighty Dog, when some are hungry; yes, they void their waste as mammals do, and yes they yap at intervals or offer hymns to the pagan moon. But it is hard to see how one finds grace, who kicks a dog in word or deed, and such a person should think of that warning given by one theologian (in another connection, perhaps):

Bethink you by the bowels of Christ that you may be mistaken.

Or, again:

Now put away the works of darkness for the whole armor of light while there is time beneath the sun; living day by day in peace in that joy well given to mortal men. (Dogs.)