Following reports of the Naga national political groups levying “tax” on the Aoyim Baptist Church building workers here, the Ao Baptist Church Association (ABAM) condemned this “disrespectful act” and appealed to all Christians to vigorously stand up against extortion drive in church.
Such a step will give hope to all churches that no such “hazardous activity” prevails anymore, the ABAM said in a statement on Thursday.
The association further said it was “disgraced and irked” at this crime perpetrated against Christian moral dignity.
“Churches under the aegis of ABAM do not enjoy the account brimful of penny, but minister by faith and with this kind of act by any section of people, the church is left precariously under threat if proper curb is not taken by the concerned administration,” the statement said.
The association said though scripture taught believers to give to the Lord, the church did not give any diktat to its members for contribution. “Church is one organisation that is run by contribution,” it said.
The statement further said the ABAM had been ministering without any hindrance for the past 146 years
Condemning the “ignominious act”, anti-graft group – Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) – demanded an explanation from the higher-ups of the Naga national political groups involved in the incident.
A statement issued by the media cell of ACAUT said it was appalled by the depravity that had engulfed the Naga political groups.
Stating that the groups no longer find any wrong in taxing the church, the organisation said this was just a manifestation of the rottenness that had become permissive in the present Naga society.
The ACAUT stated that the Aoyim Baptist Church was struggling to construct a new concrete building as the previous bamboo structure was no longer able to hold larger congregation since last year. But all workers were being taxed at all stages of construction by the Naga political groups, it pointed out.
“If the greed of taxation is desecrating the sanctity of the church, it is a wake-up call to all right-thinking Nagas to ponder as to where our society is heading to,” it added.