Greetings in the name of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, Rastafari Almighty!
I will start this mediation with a quote from an I-tren, Messian Dread. Grant it this article was written in 2002 and the views of the author may have evolved since that time but the nature of the comments still holds relevant in 2015
“Equally, I see many Rastafarians whose Rastafarianity expresses itself mainly as coming from an anti-Christian point of view. When you enter with a Yesus Mediation they start to scorn at you. To “Fire Bun Jesus Christ” is a current trend within certain factions. Christianity is unconditionally being portrayed as a Babylonian movement, Jesus Christ as the God of the enslavers. These Rastafarians in my view are totally ignoring the fact that His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I was a devout Christian, his works gave him the title “Defender of the Christian Orthodox Faith” And by ignoring HIM’s Christianity, they are also denying the existence of a Christianity without Babylon. And that is also a very serious thing” –Messian Dread
The Rastafari movement is first and foremost a resistance movement. It is not a religious movement and definitely not a movement to try and rehash Christianity. Queen Nyabinghi, for which the Mother branch of Rastafari is named, is historically known for her fearless efforts of organizing a militia of guerilla soldiers in Uganda, which fought fiercely against the British oppressive and enslavement forces in Africa. It was this spirit of Resistance that the early Rastas sought to capture in the origination of the Rastafari movement. A spirit of liberation that empowered its adherents to trample and topple the oppressive forces in Jamaica, both Black and White by way of death.! Although both the Bible and the Holy Piby were instrumental in establishing certain tenants in the Rastafari movement, Rastas believed that truth ultimately came by way of revelation from the Almighty and not merely by studying or human efforts. This truth was fostered by living an austere lifestyle outside and away from the negative influences of Babylon. Inevitably the mountains became the Rasta’s refuge and thinking grounds.
At Rastafari’s inception Haile Selassie I was not seen as Christ incarnate or Jesus returned, rather a figure of salvation who would redeem blacks from European oppression and reunite them with their homeland of Africa. Haile Selassie’s coronation in 1930 became seen as the fulfillment of Marcus Garvey’s prophesy, who prophesied of a Black King who would redeem the African race. This fulfillment was further cemented by various scriptures in the bible in the books of Psalms and Revelations. It was not until 1958 that we begin to see a major ideological shift in Rastafari with the Bobo Shanti movement coming into existence by Prince Emmanuel I and a strong adoption of Christianity in 1968, by Brother Gad with the formation of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Understanding this history is critical in appreciating the term “bun Jesus Christ” Jesus is pure mythology. No man named Jesus ever walked the faced of this earth during biblical times. If you want to speak of the true Messiah named, Yeshua Ben Yosef, the appropriate discussion can begin. The only historical reference of a “Jesus,” would be the first British ship to reach the Americas led by Captain John Hawkins, who ironically insisted his crew serve God daily. Jesus is a mis-translation of Yehua intentionally done by Europeans to foster an Eurocentric depiction of the devine. A belief in Jesus would have never empowered Queen Nyabinghi to furiously mount dreadful attacks against the British. Oddly enough is was Christianity that was used to suppress the Nyabinghi movement through a witchcraft ordinance of 1912 which encouraged Christianity and other anti-Nyabinghi colts.
The logic that because Haile Selassie I was a Christian now Rastas must in-turn do the same is not compatible with the philosophy of Rastafari. Rastas are not bound to follow all of Haile Selassie’s religious practices verbatim, as we are all self-thinking rational beings and not mere sheep who follow. Rastas will always reserve the right to self-determine what best fits our needs. Remember, Haile Selassie I nor Marcus Garvey appointed themselves in the Rastafari movement. It was Rastas who made that determination. Haile Selassie was not a Rasta, nor did he sport locks or eat strictly iTal food. We are therefore under no constraints to live our life like his letter-perfect or prescribe to all of his religious beliefs.
“Jesus Christ” must burn because he has only served to perpetuate neo-colonialism. Those who feel guilty doing so I would strongly encourage to deepen their mediation and upgrade their herbs, for heighten clarity and introspection
Peace and Love-Ras IyahHottaFyah