I grew up as a strict Seventh Day Adventist. I observed the Sabbath from sunset on Fridays to sunset on Saturdays. My father did not attend church but my mother made sure that all her children were in church every Saturday. Not only would we have to go to church every Saturday, but we would go to prayer meeting every Wednesday night. Then two weeks in the summer, we would attend crusades every night. I don’t know how the Seventh Day Adventist church conducts crusades in the United States, but in Jamaica the church would build a tent and for two weeks, every night there would be a church service under the tent.
As a young boy I thought the object of these crusades were to praise the Lord, but I soon grew to realize it was about winning souls. Of course, the more souls a pastor won, the more tithes and offering he won for the church also. So like most things in the world, money was at the root of these crusades. I am sure for those who attends church frequently, you must have hear the following from the preacher at some point: “If you fail to pay your tithe and offering you are not robbing me, you are robbing God”.
As I got older I started to catch on to the schemes of the church. By the time I became a teenager, reggae music had me unlearning a lot of what I was learning in church. My mother had framed pictures of Jesus and the twelve disciples in our house and I would also see Jesus’ pictures in the Sabbath School Books. Reggae was slowly painting a different picture in my head of what the most high looks like. Then one day, like an avalanche, it all came tumbling down. Years of being brainwashed were about to change. It was the day, I heard my father playing Max Romeo’s “Maccabee Version”.
I went from singing church hymns that said, “Whiter than snow, whiter than snow, Lord wash me until I am wither than snow” and “Whiter than snow I long to be” to hearing a song that says:
Black man, get up stand up on your foot
And give black God the glory
Black man, get up stand up
And give Rasta the glory
From the first time I heard that song, I started thinking for myself. I started analyzing my surroundings. I started questioning everything I was told and taught. I felt like I had a God given brain, I felt like I could think for myself, I felt free, I felt Rasta.
*** To show the part the Government plays in keeping the people in bondage, at the time of Max Romeo’s song, the Maccabees bible was banned in Jamaica. ***