Attitudes to Other Religions and Interfaith activities

Christianity is seen as the religion of the oppressors. Slaves in Jamaica were excluded from the Anglican Christianity practised by British colonials because it was seen as too sophisticated for them and it was thought that they might be inspired to think of themselves as equals in the eyes of God. In the past Catholicism was also abhorred because of the link with Italy as the power invading what was then Abyssinia. Rastas were seen by Christians as outcasts in Jamaican society: as criminals, poor, and not respectable. This began to change in the latter part of the 20th century, however, as Rastas lost some of their outcast status. There are, moreover, several points of convergence between Rastas and Christians; both revere Christ, for example. However, for Christians the veneration of Haile Selassie as the messiah is a heresy.

In the late 1990s some prominent Rastas converted to Evangelical Christianity. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is an inspiration and influence because this was the faith of Haile Selassie. Bob Marley was baptised into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church shortly before his death in 1980. There are few organised interfaith activities by Rastas inasmuch as there are few organised activities by Rastas. Members of other faiths are welcomed into ceremonies depending on the relationship with the specific group of Rastas holding the ceremony.

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