National Geographic : 2011 Dec
together. at is one of the beauties of Rastafari. We who have su ered and been brutalized and beaten, we have been agitating for compensation and reparation for years, but we don't think we will stick you up with a gun to get it." Pious Rastafarians read the King James Bible every day. Lorne has read it "from cover to cover." Evon Youngsam, who is a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, a Rastafarian "man- sion" in Kingston, its headquarters opposite Bob Marley's old house in the city, learned to read with the King James Bible at her grandmother's knee. She taught her own children to read with it, and they, now living in England, are in turn teaching their children to read with it. " ere is something inside of it which reaches me," she says, smiling, the Bible in her hand, its pages marked with blue airmail letters from her chil- dren on the other side of the ocean. e adherents of another, strict Rastafarian mansion, Bobo Shanti, in their remote and oth- erworldly compound high in the foothills of the Blue Mountains outside Kingston, rhythmically chant the psalms every day. e atmosphere in Bobo Camp is gentle and welcoming, almost monastic, but there are other Rastafarians whose style is the polar opposite of that, taking their cue from some of the more intolerant attitudes to be found in the Bible. Several Jamaican reggae and dance hall stars have been banned from per- forming in Canada and parts of Europe for their violently antigay lyrics. e justi cation is there in the Bible ("If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have com- mitted an abomination: ey shall surely be put to death," Leviticus 20:13), but this is a troubling part of the King James inheritance: a ferocious and singular moral vision that has become unac- ceptable in most of the liberal, modern world. N in the heart of Westminster but also in some of the most obscure corners of the English-speaking world, this book remains complicatedly and paradoxically alive. Not that it any longer holds universal sway. From the late 19th century onward, revisions On Bobo Hill outside Kingston, Jamaica, Rastafarians chant psalms from the King James Bible as they do every morning, facing east into the early sun. ey are members of the Bobo Shanti "mansion": e term comes from John 14:2, "In my Father's house are many mansions." Not Christian, but believing in the divinity of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia, they follow a strict regimen modeled on Old Testament laws.