Correction Appended

Giving Gospels Away Just weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that materials distributed by religious organizations could be taxed, the Jehovah's Witnesses have stopped asking for contributions in exchange for their magazines, Bibles and other literature.

The new policy, which began March 1, was announced in a recent letter read in all Kingdom Halls, where Witnesses gather for worship. By not charging, the letter explained, ''Jehovah's people are able to greatly simplify our Bible education work and separate ourselves from those who commercialize religion.''

The head of the legal department at the Watchtower Society, the Brooklyn headquarters of the Witnesses, acknowledged in an interview that there were other reasons as well: taxes and fear of government intervention.

The lawyer, Philip Brumley, said the change in policy came after several Supreme Court decisions, the most recent of which, on Jan. 17, upheld state sales taxes on materials by Jimmy Swaggart Ministeries.

Mr. Brumley said Witnesses would stop charging ''just so there is no confusion'' that they are involved in retail sales. ''If it is determined we're making retail sales,'' he said, ''the next step is we're considered commercial salesmen, and many municipalities prohibit commercial salesmen.''

While Witnesses will not solicit contributions, they will accept them if offered. Mr. Brumley said it is too early to assess the financial effect of the change.

A 'Bridge' Seminary

With Orthodox and Conservative backing, a group of Jewish educators has announced plans to open a rabbinical seminary, the Institute of Traditional Judaism, that is intended to be a bridge between the two Jewish branches. The new school will only ordain men.

The school, which will open in the fall in Mount Vernon, N.Y., is expected to appeal to traditional Conservatives and modern Orthodox Jews rather than Reform Jews since it plans to adhere to halacha, or traditional religious practice. It represents a rare coalition in a time when Orthodoxy is becoming increasingly isolated from Conservative and Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Ronald D. Price, the dean of the new school, said he hopes that the school will be ''a haven from polarization and sectarianism of all extremes.''

The school grows out of a movement in Conservative Judaism that rejected the decision in the mid-1980's to ordain women at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the training ground for the Conservative rabbinate.

Women make up about one-third of the rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary. While the new school will ordain only men, women will be able to take classes there.

The head of the school is Rabbi David Weiss Halivni, who will continue to teach at Columbia University, where he is professor of Talmud and classical rabbinics. Among those on the new school's academic advisory council are Elie Wiesel, the writer and Nobel laureate; Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz, a theologian who served Orthodox congregations in Europe and the United States; Dr. Marvin Fox, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Brandeis University, and Rabbi David Novak, a professor of modern Jewish studies at the University of Virginia.

Movies for Christians

Cinderella corrupting children?

That is the warning from Ted Baehr, an Atlanta writer whose ''Christian Family Guide to Movies and Videos'' has just been published by Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers Inc.

The Walt Disney classic is just one of many films that Mr. Baehr labels unsuitable for born-again Christians in the second volume of his guide. Volume one sold 12,000 copies nationwide at a cost of $9.95 each.

The problem with Cinderella, he says, is that it ''suggests that magic and wishful thinking can overcome evil'' when ''in truth, only Jesus can and has defeated the Evil One.''

Other movies on his danger list are ''Bull Durham,'' ''Cry Freedom'' and ''Mississippi Burning.'' Movies that pass muster include ''Bambi,'' ''My Darling Clementine'' and ''It's a Wonderful Life.''

Persecution in Iran

A United Nations investigation of human rights abuses in Iran has found that many Baha'i holy places have been confiscated, Baha'i students are denied admission to universities and followers of the Baha'i faith prevented from emigrating.

The report, made public last month, was based on the first on-site United Nations investigation in Iran in more than five years. While the findings were generally negative, the report did say that the imprisonment and killings of Baha'i believers has declined since the early days of the Islamic revolution in 1979, when Muslim animosities against the Baha'is were unleashed.

Baha'i traces its origin to Mirza Ali Muhammad, a Persian Sufi Muslim who in the mid-19th century proclaimed himself the Bab, or gate, through which a new manifestation of God would come. From the beginning, believers were persecuted by Muslims who considered them apostates.

There are more than 4 million Baha'is today in more than 340 countries and territories, according to the faith's international office.

Prayers for Deliverance

A group of Jewish demonstrators fasting and praying at the Soviet Embassy in Washington on Thursday said they were giving a new dimension to the traditional Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther's plea for divine intervention to save the Jews of ancient Persia.

The fast precedes the joyous holiday of Purim, which begins tonight.

The demonstrators were led by Carmela Raiz, a Soviet woman who is visiting the United States on a tourist visa with her oldest son while her husband and youngest son remain in the Soviet Union. For the last 18 years the Soviet Government has denied the Raiz family permission to emigrate to Israel because Mr. Raiz, a mathematician, once held what the authorities consider a classified government position.

Mrs. Raiz, a violinist, said the fast this week was designed to highlight the plight of those who are denied exit visas even as the Soviet Government is allowing tens of thousands of Jews to leave for Israel.