ABAM rejects ‘magical healing’ label: denounces Assam CM, Bill

Clarifies Christian healing has no connection to magic

Impur, February 24 (MExN): The Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (ABAM) strongly denounced any claims of Christian evangelists indulging in magical activity in the entire healing process of an individual or society. 

The statement came in response to the introduction of the Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024, in its State Assembly on February 21 and the reported remarks by Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, stating that there "should be a religious status quo… So, we want to curb evangelist activities to prevent conversion in our state."

The Chief Minister's remark is unwelcome, as it threatens the harmonious coexistence of religions in pluralistic India, stated a press release issued by ABAM Executive Secretary, Rev Dr Prof Mar Pongener, and President Rev Dr L Lima Jamir.

In this context, the release indicated strong opposition to the Assam government's bill to ban "magical healing" and clarified that Christian healing has no connection to magic.

"Healing has physical, social, and spiritual dimensions. As responsible citizens, irrespective of our religious affinities, we have a vision to collectively fight against societal ailments," it maintained.

"Mission works undertaken by Christians are not for force conversion, as conversion is understood as a change of heart solely under the domain of God. Evangelists are mere facilitators in the activities of God," it asserted

The ABAM further stated that magic is an alien term in Christian activity, as it is widely understood as a "specialized art, having a system of rules and rituals, mantras (chants), and special worship" to manipulate supernatural power to "accomplish things the magician wishes to do." 

This imitative magic includes both ‘white’ or ‘socially not harmful magic’ and ‘black’ or ‘socially harmful’ and thus comes under the term sorcery and witchcraft, it noted.

Black magic is used to bring about torture, sickness, or death of an enemy and is usually done to harm someone and termed an“exuvial magic because it involves the use of human exuviae," it added.

It further pointed out that magic supplies an "individual with a ritual of a ready-made number with a definite technique, its procedures tend to be mechanistic and function automatically if one knows the proper formula."

Accordingly, the ABAM reminded that ignorance, caused by a misapprehension of the difference between the Self and higher intelligence, results in all sorrow and pain.

In an apparent response to Sarma's statement on religious identity, the ABAM noted that ignorance about oneself and the mind can lead to fear and a distorted sense of life, freedom, and responsibility.

Drawing parallel, it added that when religion strives for power and identity, whether at the community or national level, violence is beyond doubt.

The assorted acts of criticising other religion’s teachings and practices in the name of one’s religion and indulging in activities that create and cause the loss of unity, harmony and cooperation among the people of a country, etc, are the visible seeds of fundamentalism, it contended.

Such principles do not reflect religion, but yearnings for material interests, power, and politics, leading to communalism, even terrorism, it added. To this end, the ABAM expressed sadness that “the leaders of our times have unleashed insensitive remarks resulting in chasm and rift among culture, race, and creed.” 

“We yearn for approaches, not perpetuated by specific political ideologies and nuances, but by God-Human participation in the way of life,” it asserted.