Obeah Is To Jamaican What Voodoo Is To Haitian
After the government of Jamaica abolished colonial-era punishments, the Obeah believers are optimistic that decriminalization of the Obeah practice will follow. The practice, which is similar in so many ways with the Haitian Voodoo was banned hundreds of years ago by the Jamaican government. Those who attempted the practice have been flogged or thrown to prison among other forms of punishment.
The idea to decriminalize a practice considered as black magic by many is already receiving criticism from many Christians in Jamaica. Jamaica is claimed to have the highest ratio of churches to citizens in the globe. In Jamaica Christianity is the dominant religion with people gathering in wide range of structures-wooden holding a small number of congregants to mega structures holding thousands of believers.
Obeah began during the era of slavery and has declined significantly. Most of the Obeah believers are rare to find. It is a rare practice in most of the places but the people of St. Mary are familiar with the practice.
A man in St. Mary commonly known as Judge has practiced Obeah since childhood. He is not ashamed by the practice. He says Obeah can be used to cure diseases or cast off curses among other uses. Obeah product paraphernalia is sold by pharmacists to customers to help cure them or use them to 'tie' their men.
The change of the Legislation against Obeah will be an uphill task. There is a lot of resistance from church and Jamaicans think that the parliament has more crucial things to handle.
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, an anthropologist believes that decriminalization of Obeah would make a difference. "People don't consider it criminal. I don't remember the last time someone was arrested," he says.
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