GLOBAL FAITHS: Rastafari faithful believe Ethiopian emperor is the Messiah By MARLIN JESCHKE

By MARLIN JESCHKECOLUMNIST

Haile Silassie
Haile Selassie, late emperor of Ethiopia and “messiah” to those of the Rastafari faith.
WIKIPEDIA

Most Americans have seen dreadlocks, heard of reggae music and heard of cannabis (marijuana). These three are all connected in a Jamaican religious movement called Rastafari.
Jamaica was once a colony of Great Britain, which had abolished the slave trade in 1807 and abolished slavery itself in the British Empire in 1833. But despite abolition, ex-slaves in Jamaica continued to live under social conditions not much different from their earlier ones under slavery.
Historians usually credit Leonard Percival Howell with being the main founder of the Rasta movement. He started preaching around 1933, shortly after the 1930 coronation of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia, an event Howell had witnessed. Before his coronation Selassie was called Ras Tafari Makonnen, hence the name of this Jamaican movement.
Howell claimed Haile Selassie was the Messiah returned to earth, and many Rastafarians simply called him God. Reports of the crowning of an African king, one of their own people, boosted the morale of Jamaican blacks, and soon many of them began to hope for an imminent repatriation to Ethiopia.
In his preaching, Howell fostered a hatred for the white colonial government and asserted the superiority of blacks, as a consequence of which he was constantly in trouble with the police and colonial authorities. He was arrested up to 50 times, and police repeatedly raided The Pinnacle, a settlement he had established for Rastas.
Haile Selassie himself welcomed some Jamaicans to settle in Ethiopia. In 1966 he visited Jamaica, though perhaps only partly taken in by the worship of its Rastas.
It was iffy weather when Selassie’s plane approached the Kingston airport, but one Rasta predicted the sun would come out when “God” appeared —and it did!

One hundred thousand devotees mobbed the plane after it landed, preventing Selassie from coming out until again some Rasta leader informed the crowd they would have to fall back to allow Selassie to deplane.
Haile Selassie’s personal visit reinforced the faith of Jamaica’s Rastas, and many of them later believed he never died. Some Rastas took up the language of Ethiopia, Amharic. In fact, some reggae songs are written in Amharic.
With a few possible exceptions, Rastas do not use houses of worship. They do, however, have gatherings, and these are marked by the smoking of “ganja,” marijuana, which is practically a sacrament with them.
They justify this by citing biblical texts such as Genesis 1:29, where God says, “I have given you every herb-bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth.” Or Psalm:104:14, “He [God] causeth the grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the service of man.”
As for the dreadlocks, they invoke a biblical text such as Numbers 6:5, “… There shall no razor come upon his head…. He shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow,” even though this text refers to the Nazirite vow in ancient Israel.
As for diet, Rastas avoid shellfish and pork. Some, in fact, are vegetarian because meat is associated with the death of animals. Rastas have an eloquent table prayer which I heard when hosting a Rasta for lunch in Kingston in the early 1970s.
Also characteristic of Rastas is their use of “I” instead of “me,” and “I’n I” instead of “we” or “us.” They avoid the objective case because, they say, “I’n I” are subjects, not objects.
The Rasta movement is still around in Jamaica, and followers of this movement can also be found in the United States and Canada as well as in numerous countries of Africa.
Marlin Jeschke is professor emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Goshen College. He taught at the college for 33 years. In 1968-69, he received a fellowship in Asian Religions to study Islam and Buddhism, spending five months at the Center for the Study of Religions and Harvard Divinity School and then five months traveling in Muslim countries of the Middle East, and Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia) and Japan. He is also the author of several books.
 
Source: Goshen News

0 Comments

  1. From GETACHEW REDA (Editor Ethiopian Semay)
    Emperor Haileselassie was honored and loved by many, except by the hateful TPLF and EPLF fascist gangs. Unfortunately, the king’s grand children many of them are now worshiping TPLF. His pathetic grandchild Prince Ermiyas Hailese lassie Sahleselassie sent a condolences of letter to the gangs in Addis for the Meles’s death. That fascist leader was the one who refused the burial of his grandfather in proper burial place and time. This pathetic prince *Prince Ermias was named the recipient of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), and was given the Silver Star Award of Outstanding contributions to strategic Progress through humanitarian achievements because of his work for Ethiopian Refugees in Africa. And yet, Meles Zenawi was the one reason why Ethiopians are flooding all over the world as refugee in thousands of them unheard of. And yet, this prince wrote a letter of sadness and condolences for Meles’s death.
    Not only that, many of those shameful Dukes are now in Addis Ababa worshiping TPLF system, because TPLF returned their business buildings/Hotels as a bride o manipulate the brain of those Dukes. Just like Prince Mengesha flirting and admiring TPLF’s crime. All those Prince junkies are MAferiawoch/Shameful baggage of Ethiopian current history. I will write a full commentary on my weblog one day regarding those MAFERIYA/Shameful Dukes and their character. Hiale Selasie the great was now humiliated by his grand children for their Stomach. Shame on those hooligans. These junkee Dukes might say “well, it is our culture to feel sad when human being dies”: but you know what, it is not our culture to flirt with Facists who landlocked Ethiopia, who murdered citizens, who hate Amhara, who is causing havoc and ethnic cleansing in the land where their grand fathers ruled. Stay tune for my commentary ” Ethiopia’s Junk Dukes”. Thanks Getachew REda (Editor Ethiopian Semay http://www.ethiopiansemay.blogspot.com

  2. DEAR MR. REDA tHAT THE BEST ARTICLE I HAVE EVER READ. HIALE SELASIE WAS NOT JUST A LEADER FOR ETHIOPIA HE WAS A GREAT LEADER OF AFRICA. HE AS DONE A LOT FOR EVERY TRIBE, INCLUDING FOR TIGRIS.WE WERE BETTER OFF DURING HIS ADMINSRATION. EVEN THE ERTRIANS WERE STABLE AND ENJOYING PEACE FULL LIFE.WE WILL NEVER GET SUCH A LEADER IN THE NEXT 100 YRS. WE SEEN BUTCHER MENGISTU AND MELES WHO BOTH HAVE KILLED OVER A MILLION PEOPLE.

  3. I’m glade prsident Girma and Hilemariam D are talking about the erection of Haileselase statue in the AU compound. What soever they are brutal to their own people ethiopian leaders from Haileselasse to Meles have done a wondeful job when it come to Africa and we have admit this and promote it irrespective of our poletical differences. It is promoting Ethiopia in Afrca stages not Haileselase or Mengestu or Meles. Don’t let your hatrate spil over and destroy Ethiopia for the sake of your narrow interest

  4. Dear Reda ,Loloygermal and Sam
    The articles is talking about the scrap Rasta faith not about hailselassis leader ship or about his regim you guys are compleletly lost .
    The answer for this artciles is rastas are the most idoit people who belive hailesselasi is god and if Genesis 1,29 saying i have given you evey herb bearing seed.then cocain is also a seed ,khat is also a seed herion is a seed then we should use them this is stupid,
    if u guys like to talk about hailesslai lets talk in fact he was evil becouse he was enjoying on his lovish birthday ceromony in his palace while millions of people died in famine in welloo he even do not want to tell for western.agian after his exile in england when he returned back he murderd the patriotes who defened the county for 5 years from coloniest italia above all he needs to rule for ever he was mad

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