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October 20, 1988|JOHN VOLAND | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

First it was the Hindu/Buddhist Indian government. Then the Jewish state of Israel chimed in. And now Papua New Guinea--which, though nominally Christian, contains many animist sects--has banned the controversial film "The Last Temptation of Christ" on the ground that most citizens would find it offensive. The South Pacific island group's chief censor, Bishop David Hand, told reporters on Wednesday that he had seen the Martin Scorsese film and felt the outcry about its sex content was largely unwarranted, but added, "We must remember how much store is traditionally set by Papua New Guineans on dreams and hallucinations and also how many people say 'I saw it on the movies, it must be true.' "

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