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CHRISTAFARIANISM, OR: DON'T BE A RASTA, BE LIKE A RASTA

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Christafari's "Response To The Essay"

Read "Christafarianism 2:0, The Political Correct Update"

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ENTER CHRISTAFARI

It is from the evangelical Christian movement in the United States of America, that Christafari entered the arena.

Since their demo "Tribal Warning", they have released several albums and are touring the continents a lot. They've played at the inauguration party for Bill Clinton , former president of the United States.

A major controversy followed them in the mid 1990's, when Christafari joined the "Reggae Sunsplash Tour" and handed out books with their message to fellow artists like Buju Banton . It wasn't really received that well by Banton, who had just then turned to Rastafari after being into the dancehall scene, where pornography and violence seem to run things. The result was Christafari's Mark Mohr being threatened  with a knife by Banton, taking Rastafarian Elders to calm down the situation.

This event has been covered widely in the Christian press where it was described like a clash between missionaries and pagans.

“Buju Banton, one of Jamaica’s biggest artists, attacked Mohr in a Cleveland hotel lobby. Banton punched Mohr in the neck, then slashed at him with a knife. Police were called in, but Mohr didn’t press charges. “I felt the Lord leading on my heart that I could not excpect (Banton) to understand the God of forgiveness and grace if I did not demonstrate that myself.”

Despite the hostility from the Rastafari community and uncertainty among some Christians, Mohr and Christafari stand undaunted[1]

There is also an official statement by Christafari. Here it is:

At the completion of my first booklet titled Rastafari and the Bible (An Eschatological Study of the Second Coming), we, (Christafari) began making my writings available at our shows in booklet form. It was after we joined the 46 city Reggae Sunsplash Tour that I faced an overwhelming amount of persecution for my beliefs and writings. After all of the other artists on the tour read my booklet the verbal abuse and spiritual attacks began. In fact, the headlining artist on the tour Buju Banton, (then the World’s most famous Dancehall DJ) even physically attacked me attempting to stab me with a knife in the lobby of our Cleveland hotel on the Fourth of July.

(…)

Despite such persecution, Christafari remained on the rest of the tour and reconciled with the rest of the performers by the last show.

However, the threats on myself have not changed. The gospel is still an offense to many. I have been called “Satan”, the “Antichrist” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” for my belief system. My writing has literally been quoted as “the fulfillment of Rastafarian prophecies” by Rasta Elders. Just like the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is a stumbling block, will be considered foolish and will continue to be an offense to many.

No Compromise

Mark Mohr

Christafari”[2]

An illustration of the difficult relationship between (evangelical) Christianity and Rastafari, or an unfortunate incident that could have been prevented?

Or perhaps both?

Most certain is that although it is mentioned how Rastafarians themselves tried to stop Buju and reconciliation was even practiced, a conclusion from it is not drawn. All over you can see how Rastafari is being presented as the enemy in a war against Christianity .

Since that time I saw less and less of Christafari in the reggae community, and more and more of them within the Christian world. That’s a fact.

When you check their agenda, the awards they win and the reviews they get, 95% of it is inside the Christian world. Churches, Christian awards, Christian press.

A few years later they would even no longer see themselves as focusing on Rastafari “specifically” anymore, although that did not lead them to change the way they communicate and present themselves.

Even where this communication and presentation itself is presented to the Christians as a way to “missionizing the Rasta’s”.

But I’m running ahead of myself.

I have read a book similar as the one that was handed out to Buju Banton  that day. It’s called "Christ and Tafari ", by the same writer.

It contains several passages in which the writer tries to prove why Selassie cannot be God. The way this is done is party by expressing, with a kind of humor that can not be appreciated by everyone, that Haile Selassie  was a sinner and mortal (just like we all). One chapter, referring to what is described as His Majesty’s death has the title “The Conquering Lion Conquered”…

The book is nowhere to be found, by the way. But it is being appreciated by “Christafarians ” who have read it.

One of them said on the Christafari website: “I have read the booklets Mark wrote and I must say they are amazing! A big help for Christians with a ministry to Rastafarians . I have read them at least 4 times through and I think I'm due to read them again! Always good to keep the info fresh in your mind![3]  

So what’s the matter with this?

Why does someone like Buju Banton  (Okay, he’s not known to be relaxed all the time) get so vexed by the writings that he threatens the writer with a knife, where other use words to describe the same writings with a description that suits the Bible, but a man’s writing?

Mmmm…

There’s definitely something going on here.

It is obviously not the mere “message of Christianity” that vexed Banton. Because, why are most Rastafarians devout followers of Yesus Kristos or at least claim to be? Don’t talk bad about the Divine Saviour to a Rasta!

Christafari likes to say that Christianity itself is the target of the hostility they receive, but that cannot be.

No, it is “Christafarianism ” and what it does with Christafarians rather than Christianity itself that makes some people so vex.

Time to investigate this matter.

FOOTNOTES

[1] CCM Magazine, July 1996

[2] Link: website

\ 3] Link: website

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