You would think that, since my alma mater is the University of Colorado, I would know a lot about Rastafarianism. But I don't. And mainstream media articles such as the ones below, dealing with a lawsuit brought by a Rastafarian against his employer, aren't likely to cure that problem. Here's the gist from the Boston Globe:
The right of a business to control its public image doesn't trump workers' right to dress or groom themselves differently if they are required to do so by their religious beliefs, the state's highest court ruled today.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in the case of Bobby T. Brown, a Rastafarian who worked as technician at a Hadley Jiffy Lube owned by F.L. Roberts & Co. Inc.
Brown's religion doesn't permit him to shave or cut his hair. When the company instituted a new policy that required employees who worked with customers to be clean-shaven, Brown was only allowed to work out of sight from customers in the lower bay of the oil change shop, the court said in an opinion written by Justice Roderick Ireland.
That first line of the last paragraph is the sum total of the Globe's discussion of the actual religious beliefs at play here. That just won't do.
The Associated Press didn't do much better, with only this discussion tacked on to the end of its piece:
The Rastafarian faith urges followers to let their hair grow unbridled. Many grow their hair into long, matted strands called dreadlocks to express a oneness with nature.
Never mind that one article says Rastafarianism prohibits cutting hair while the other says it merely urges unbridled hair growth. (The AP article is closer.) The two articles cited are quick reactions to a Massachusetts high court case, so maybe we'll get better treatment in future stories. But unless I'm the only person lacking in-depth knowledge of Rastafarianism, it seems odd that reporters wouldn't provide a bit more information.
Total side note here, but if you are into Rasta music, I suggest Paula Fuga, a Hawaian ukelele player and singer (and part of my husband's extended family) and some of her music has a distinctive Rasta edge.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.