10 things to know about the Rastafari religion

The head of the Sugarleaf Rastafarin Church offered insight into the suspect killed in the Yuba County officer-involved shooting Tuesday.

A suspect who allegedly engaged in gunfire with two Yuba County Sheriff's deputies is dead, officials said Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting happened in the area of the 9000 block of Marysville Road in Oregon House, about 22 miles northeast of Yuba City shortly after 8:30 a.m. According to the Yuba County Sheriff's Department, the two deputies who were wounded in the gunfire exchange are in fair condition as of Wednesday morning after undergoing surgery Tuesday.
 
Officials had received reports of a dispute involving a man who was reportedly armed with a gun happening at a marijuana grow belonging to a Rastafari church. The leader of the Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church, Heidi Lepp, told ABC10, the suspect was not part of the church and she was not personally connected to him. She said the man had been working on a neighboring property.
 
While the details about the incident are still coming in, there may be some questions on what a Rastafari church is, since it's been mentioned as a part of story. Rastafari is more of a way of life than an organized, structured religion, but the beliefs are rooted deeply in traditional spirituality.
 
Here are 10 things to know about the Rastafari religion:
 
1. The religious movement was founded in the 1930s in Jamaica. The majority of its followers are rooted in Jamaica but its believed there are around one million Rasta around the world. 
 
2. Rastafari began as a social stand against the white and middle-class society by the working-class black community. The foundation of Rasta beliefs is based on the idea of recapturing the African heritage black people felt was robbed from them when they were taken as slaves to the Caribbean. Rasta completely reject Western society. The Rastafari believe they are genuine ancient Israelites. 
 
3. Jamaican socialist Marcus Garvey prophesied in 1927, the black race would be liberated from oppression after a black king was crowned in Africa.
 
4. The Rasta leader is Haile Selassie I, former emperor of Ethiopia, who was crowned shortly after Garvey's prophesy. Rasta believe Selassie is the Messiah, or the incarnation of God who would lead people of African origin to the promised land. He died in 1975 but Rasta believe he'll return. Before his coronation, Selassie was known as Ras Tafari Makonnen, which is where the movement gets its name. 
 
5.  The Rasta religion is based on the text of the Holy Bible but the Rastafari updated the scripture to reverse what they believe is "white power" speak to reflect their deep belief in the importance of honoring African heritage. Africa is the Rastafari version of Zion, or the Promised Land. Rasta believe in the preservation of African culture.
 
6. Rasta believe in the Judeo-Christian God and refer to their higher power as "Jah". 
 
7.  The Rastafari believe marijuana, known as ganja, is sacred. It's used to clean the body and mind and brings people closer to God. Ganja sessions are often accompanied by Bible readings. Dreadlocks are another symbol of the Rastafari as they believe in letting their hair grow long without cutting.
 
8. Rasta believe in communal living and in eating "Ital", which comes the word "vital". Rastafari refuse to eat processed foods and red meat. Most Rastafari eat vegetarian, vegan and natural foods.
 
9. Bob Marley is the most famous Rastafari. He brought Rastafari to the American masses in the late 1970s and early 1980s through reggae. His lyrics are full of Rasta doctrine and spirit.
 
10. Rastafari do not like the use of "isms" or "ians" as they believe it represents oppression from the Western culture, meaning the terms "Rastafarian" and Rastafarianism" are not embraced by Rasta.
 
Sources:
 
 
 

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