I did a search and didn't find anything on this topic.. and before anyone questions why this is in Conspiracies in Religion. Let me say that
Rastafarians believe that the death of Haile Selassie was a conspiracy and that he did not truly die. They also believe that Jesus was Black, and not
the only "messiah". Haile Selassie was the living God on earth and another version of Jesus Christ. I bring this topic here, because I feel many
do not truly understand Rastafarianism and only think of it as weed smoking dreadlocks, plus I wanted to discuss why Rastas hold on to this belief,
even though Haile Selassie never accepted the idea of him being a messiah and encouraged the Rastas to read and study the scriptures (He was a member
of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church). However, the faith and beliefs of the Rastafarians persisted and he remains a revered figure.
A Rasta to this day will greet you with "Greeting in the name of the most high, H.I.M Haile Selassie". They had also claimed that Selassie had nail
marks in the palm of his hand proving his divinity. I have no intentions of this becoming a religion bashing thread, I have respect for the
Rastafarian religion and their culture and would like this to be an intelligent discussion to try to understand why they cling to these beliefs. If
there are any Rastas out there, I would especially love to hear from you.
Rastafarian Religion has in roots in Garvinism. Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican, who promoted the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in the
1920s. The organization's main goal was to unite black people with their rightful homeland, Africa. Garvey believed that all black people in the
western world should return to Africa since they were all descended from Africans. He preached that the European colonizers, having fragmented the
African continent, unfairly spread the African population throughout the world.
Garvey was considered a prophet by many and he even spoke in a very prophetical way. He assured his followers, "No one knows when the hour of
Africa's redemption cometh. It is in the wind. It is coming. One day, like a storm, it will be here." He told blacks to "look to Africa for the
crowning of a king to know that your redemption is near."
In 1930, Prince Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned the new Emperor of Ethiopia. Upon his coronation, he claimed for himself the title of Emperor Haile
Selassie (Power of the Trinity). This announcement was a monumental event that many blacks in Africa and the Americas saw as the fulfillment of
Garvey's prophecy years before. After the crowning of Selassie, the Rastafarian movement gained a following and officially began. Ironically,
Selassie was never a Rastafarian himself, and no one is really sure what he ever thought of his following. Also noteworthy is the fact that Garvey
himself was admittedly not an admirer of Haile Selassie, and he went as far as to attack the Ethiopians as "crazy fanatics.
Haile Selassie visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966, while the country was amid an ongoing national social crisis in which Rastas were perceived by the
majority as a revolutionary threat that had to be defused. During this first and final trip to Jamaica, Selassie met with several Rastafarian leaders.
The visit resulted in two profound developments within the Rastafarian movement. First, Selassie convinced the Rastafarian brothers that they "should
not seek to immigrate to Ethiopia until they had liberated the people of Jamaica." Second, from that day forth, April 21st has been celebrated as a
special holy day among Rastafarians, "Grounation Day."
In Jamaica, the reverence of Emperor Haile Selassie continued to create distinguishable movements, such as Nyabinghi, the Ethiopian National Congress
or Bobo dreads, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The Twelve Tribes of Israel, founded by the Prophet Gad, has added another dimension in the liberation movement, to include liberation for all races
through the teaching of the bible, and the acceptance of Jesus Christ. Membership is not limited, but inclusive. By identifying the spiritual sons of
Jacob and finding truth for oneself through reading the bible "a chapter a day", man can find salvation. The divine lineage continues through the
Ethiopian Monarchy, the seed of David, of which it is said, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from beneath his feet, until
Shiloh comes and unto Him will be the gathering of the people."
To Rastafarians, Selassie was much more than just a political leader; Rasta theology centered on the divinity of Selassie as a living manifestation of
Jah, the all-knowing and all-loving God. To Rastafarians, the story told by the Old Testament pertains to black Africans who descend from Abraham and
Jacob. But white Christians altered this fact to keep Africans in a substandard position. Rastafarians refer to this oppression as "Babylon", with
obvious references to a state of slavery and cultural tyranny that all blacks must overcome. To greater represent the truth, Rasta rejects the Bible
used by most Christians, opting instead for a "black man's Bible" known as the The Holy
In his life, Selassie claimed to be a direct descendant of King Solomon and Queen Sheba, however he did not claim any divine powers or that he was
In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was detained and overthrown by the Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in a 1974 coup (In 1960 Selassie's son,
Asfa Wossan lead an unsuccessful coup against his father. His dad forgave him but all the other leaders of the coup are executed.)
He was detained by soldiers loyal to the new government in his palace until his death. On August 27, 1975, Haile Selassie died, and a tremendous
crisis of faith ensued. With his death came various forms of rationalization from many Rastafarians. The responses concerning Selassie's death
ranged from "his death was a fabrication" to "his death was inconsequential because Haile Selassie was merely a personification of God".
The circumstances of his death were mysterious but many believe he was murdered by his captors. In 1992 after the Marxist government was overthrown,
the remains of Emperor Haile Selassie were found buried under a toilet in the Imperial Palace. The body was exhumed and moved to a mausoleum in Addis
Many Rastafarians believed that his death was staged by the media in an attempt to bring their faith down, while others claimed that Haile Selassie I
had trodded on to the perfect flesh, and sits on the highest point of Mount Zion where He and Empress Menen await the Time of Judgement. There are
others, however, who were quite logical in their approach to the theological problem surrounding the Emperor's death. They saw the death of Selassie
as changing nothing, except that their God was no longer physically present. Such Rastafarians claimed that He is omnipresent in spirit and visited
the clouds with the hosts of heaven.
Leonard Howell (Rasta Leader) gave the Rastafarians six fundamental principles:
Hatred for the white race.
The complete superiority of the black race.
Revenge on whites for their wickedness.
The negation, persecution, and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica.
Preparation to go back to Africa, and
Acknowledging Emperor Haile Selassie as the Supreme Being and only ruler of black people.
Concepts that are key to Rastafarian beliefs:
Babylon: "Babylon" is the Rastafarian term for the white political power structure that has been holding the black race down for centuries. In the
past, Rastas claim that blacks were held down physically by the shackles of slavery. In the present, Rastas feel that blacks are still held down
through poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and trickery by the white man. The efforts of Rastafarianism is to attempt to remind blacks of their heritage
and have them stand up against this Babylon.
I and I: This concept has become "the most important theoretical tool apart from the Babylonian conspiracy in the Rastafarian repertoire." Cashmore
explains, "I and I is an expression to totalize the concept of oneness, the oneness of two persons. So God is within all of us and we're one people
in fact. I and I means that God is in all men. The bond of Ras Tafari is the bond of God, of man. But man itself needs a head and the head of man is
His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia."
Jah: The Rastafarian name for God is Jah. The presence of Jah in His children and in the world is the triumph over the tribulations of everyday life.
Ethiopia specifically, and Africa in general, is considered the Rastas heaven on Earth. However, there is no afterlife or hell as Christianity
These above 6 rules given by Howell might have been the original intentions, however Rastafarianism is more about promoting unity, peace, love,
comtemplation, respect for nature, respect for cultural heritage. BTW, if I missed any points or misrepresented the religious movement...let me know
Who is Haile Selassie
About H.I.M Haile Selassie
The Holy Piby: Black Man's Bible