By Simeon B Hall
Senior Pastor Emeritus
New Covenant Baptist Church
A radical change in the way we perceive and treat those who embrace the Rastafarian way of life is urgently needed.
Too many Bahamians, especially some conservative Christians, allow the Rastafarian customs, beliefs and attire to override the fact that they, like the rest of us, are human beings. A person's religious beliefs and/or cultural expressions do not negate his or her humanity.
If a person is "a Rasta", this in no way means that he/she is automatically a criminal or of an unsavoury character.
I go even further.
The doctrinal beliefs and social habits that Rastafarians espouse are antithetical to what we believe and proclaim as Christians. Yet, whom, what or how people worship can never negate the basic truth that all of us are God's creation.
Personally, I have grown to see and accept that a persons' humanity is undeniable, whether or not I agree with whom or what they worship, how they dress or what they eat or do not eat.
Mature Christian faith believes that any person who differs from what is commonly accepted as "normal" is first a person - and all people are in need of God's grace.
Rastafarians generally are some of the most disciplined, respectful and courteous citizens of our country. Have you ever bought peanuts or anything else from a Rasta? Aren't you impressed by how mannerly and courteous they are? They have their beliefs and they adhere assiduously and legalistically to them. More of us Christians ought to do the same about our beliefs.
Our Rastafarian brethren are our sons and daughters and we must not allow their smoke, music or dress to negate the fact that they, too, are humans who have the right to choose.