Religious freedom prevails and religion has a strong position in society. Christianity dominates with over a hundred different communities. The rest breaks that many associate with Jamaica make up only one percent of the population.
Most Jamaicans are Protestants. Most are Pentecostal and Seventh-day Adventists, followed by Baptists and Methodists, among others. The Anglican Church, which previously dominated, has lost members, while the biblical Protestant “success churches” from the United States have grown strong. There is a small Catholic minority and an Ethiopian Orthodox church (which reggae artist Bob Marley joined just before his death, see Culture).
Jamaica also houses several sects and spiritual cults. The most widely known domestic sect in the world is the Rasta Movement, which emerged in the early 1900s and considers itself a religious movement. The Rastafaril was created by the black nationalist Marcus Garvey, whose vision was to return all Africans in the rapture to the African “homeland”. Its name is the movement after race (prince) Tafari Makonnen, who was crowned in 1930 to the Emperor of Ethiopia under the name Haile Selassie I. The coronation was linked among the Rastafarian holidays with the liberation of the blacks and the movement considers Haile Selassie as the Messiah. Some of them are waiting for him to free the blacks from the oppression of the whites and bring them home to Africa.
Also important for rastafari is to spread the message of non-violence and anti-racism. More controversial is their use of cannabis (ganja) as a sacrament (sacred act), even though possession and use of minor amounts of marijuana were decriminalized in 2015. The Rastafarians feel discriminated against by the Christian majority and harassed by the police, even though they state that it has has become significantly better in recent years.
In Jamaica, a few thousand Muslims and Hindus also live, and there is a Jewish community that is one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. African people still live in the form of voodoo, religious belief and healing and have been mixed with other religions.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Jamaica, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.