Washington will be the focus today of another demonstration against the Persian Gulf War, and, in contrast to the beginning of the Vietnam War, the nation's mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches are significant members of the opposition movement. President Bush's own bishop, the Most Rev. Edmond L. Browning of the Episcopal Church, has expressed his opposition to the war to the president.

Some area public school children and government workers expressed frustration yesterday that their attempts to show support for U.S. troops have been curtailed. Officials, struggling to reconcile constitutional free speech rights and the potential for conflict, have stopped their demonstrations.

Speculation about motives for Iraq's apparent oil dumping yesterday suggested either the creation of a defensive military barrier to slow or divert an allied amphibious landing, an act of "environmental terrorism" that could foul Saudi Arabia's drinking water plants, or another tactical move seeking to disrupt allied forces.

Scud missiles hit by the Patriot air defense system may be causing more damage than anticipated because the system was designed to protect small and compact installations rather than larger population centers, according to officials familiar with the system.

The Super Bowl will be played Sunday, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said, unless events in the gulf mandate television's return to full war coverage or there is a security threat at Tampa Stadium.