Valentine’s Day and the defense of marriage

Happy Valentines Day to all of America’s sweethearts, especially mine: Angela, Aubrey, Austen, and Wangying Lin. I also want to send a heavenly Valentine’s Day wish to my mom, Elizabeth Thomas West. She’s there with her special lifelong Valentine my dad, Herman Sr.

Today guys try to get themselves out of the “doghouse” and retailers and marketers capitalize. I do have to ask a question though, what do men get on Valentine’s Day? I know, if you act right and bought the right gift, you get peace of mind.

But you might be surprised to know the true story of Valentine’s Day. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, explained the following to CBN.com.

Valentine was a Roman Priest at a time when Emperor Claudius was actively persecuting the church. Claudius also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people based on the idea that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers, because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.

Valentine lived in a very permissive society in which polygamy was quite popular, yet the Christian faith was attracting more and more followers. Valentine encouraged them to marry within the Christian church – which he had to do secretly because of the edict.

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against the command of Emperor Claudius. Legends exist surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison. A man called Asterius, who was to judge Valentine, had a blind daughter. Supposedly, Valentine prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.

In 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three-part execution of beating, stoning, and finally decapitation. Legend has it the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter signed, “from your Valentine” thereby inspiring romantic missives to this day.

Valentine was persecuted because of his stand for marriage, between one man and one woman. History has a way of repeating itself.

“What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death.”

So the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is rooted in the Christian faith and the stand for Christian marriage between one man and one woman. And for St. Valentine, it was based upon this verse, John 15:13 (NIV), “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

So today, when you write “to my Valentine,” remember the saint, the man — Jesus Christ — who inspired Valentine and inspires us still today.

60 COMMENTS

    • Hey realfreedom, you totally missed the point if you are implying that “whomever you want” could be a same sex partner. I hope I misinterpreted you. If not, you are in my prayers. St. Valentine pray for us all in this bizarre culture we live in. It seems the hedonistic ancient Roman ways are revisiting our world.

      • I realize that isn’t the point Rep. West was making but the overarching theme of the story seems to be a man standing up for an individual’s right to be married. That point is the same one made by advocates for marriage equality. People have a right to be married to whomever they choose, so long as the people involved are consenting adults. I don’t think that it is the job of the government to decide who can and cannot be married. While I identify as an atheist, I appreciate your prayers.

      • Marriage equality isn’t about equality.

        Why is it that it is so important to change the definition of marriage, which is a covenant between a man and a woman, to make such a small group of people happy? Why don’t you come up with a term of your own to describe a commitment between two men or two women and get the laws set up to protect your rights? No one cares if you choose to live together. No one is interested in what you do in your bedroom. A heck of a lot of us do care that you are trying to change the definition of marriage and our society with it.

      • The church has every right to dictate who can and can’t get married in the church. But as far as who can and cant get married in the eye of the law, its none of your damn business. Judge not, lest Yee be judged. I hope you realize that your church and religion are very un Christ like.

      • You are right, Mario. What you do in the privacy of your home is none of my damn business. What you don’t seem to get is that trying to force our society to change the definition of marriage, which is a covenant between a man and a woman, to suit your lifestyle does make it my damn business.

        You can tell me that the church has every right to dictate who can and can’t get married in the church, until you get the government and society to change the definition of marriage. When that happens you will go after the churches and sue them and make life for them miserable, just like you do people who don’t want to cater or perform your weddings, because of their religious beliefs.

        You are misquoting Christ and his words on judgement. He is telling us to be careful how we pass judgement he is NOT telling us to not make judgement. Who gives you the right to speak for him?

      • First of all, I am not gay. Far from it. In fact, I used to sound alot like you, ignorant and judgmental. But over the years I began to see things differently. I began to see how one group of people try to force their ideals on everybody, just like the Taliban do in the middle east. Its not right. Gay people aren’t asking your permission to live as a married couple. They’re already doing that, whether you like it or not. They have been forever. They just want the legal status that goes with the life they’re living. It has nothing to do with you or the life that you choose to live. Live and let live. try listening to Jesus actual words instead of what the church tells you what he meant to say. if Jesus was around today, trust me, he would not even consider being a part of the church.

      • Who gives you the right to speak for Jesus? Who gives the church the right to speak for Jesus? Who gives anybody the right? Just read Jesus actual words. They do not refer to any of this nonsense one way or the other. But if you were to live by Jesus actual words, and not the words of those who exploit him, it would make you a better person.

      • Telling me that I am “ignorant and judgmental is like the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn’t you say, Mario.

        Beyond calling me names and telling me that I am ignorant and judgmental, you haven’t addressed my concerns. Like I said before I couldn’t care less what other people do in the privacy of their own homes. When they try to change the definition of marriage, which is exactly what they are doing, they make it my business. As you said, they have already been living together for a long time and sodomizing young boys at the bath houses. If they were worried about protecting their rights, it would a simple thing to get laws changed to protect their interests. They could come up with a term to define their relationship if they wanted to. That is not what they are up to.

        Changing the definition of marriage opens a lot of doors that will be used to go after your and my religious rights. I am not about to sit on the sidelines in silence and let them do it.

      • I’m not calling anybody names, I’m just pointing out the fact that you are being judgmental. Do you deny that you are judging? You say that these people (actually you claim that they are trying to get the right to customize young children ??? but I am not even going to signify that with a reply) are trying to change the definition of marriage. Maybe it is just “your” definition that you feel is being threatened. Why do you care if they get married? Does your God care? Would Jesus care? I feel sorry for people who think like that, you think that preaching hate makes Jesus proud of you? No, my friend, follow Jesus, not the church.

      • Making a judgment that is for the greater good of the people isn’t judgmental. With exception to sodomizing children, everything you mention in your post has already been addressed in previous posts. So scroll up and reread my posts again, and quit talking in circles.

        With regards to sodomizing children. Luring young teen aged boys into the bath house in the community that I grew up in is what they did. I didn’t say that anyone wants to make it legal. This is just what they did. I have 3 friends that I grew up with, that were dead by the time they were 25 years old as a direct result of this practice.

        Books have been written on all of the reasons that homosexuality is bad for society. You don’t even have to drag the Bible or Jesus into the discussion. But calling people that stand up against it names, and threatening them, is a good way to shut them up.

        As I said before. I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their own home. Changing the definition of marriage for them isn’t the answer.

    • Then I guess you don’t celebrate Christmas because it used to be a pagan holiday also. You see the Catholic church took the pagan festivals and turned them to Christian celebrations. 2000 years later, the pagans of today are merely turning them back into pagan celebrations.

      • The pagans never stopped their festivals, but Christians, in order to get Pagans to come into their flock would started adopting the pagan festivals as their own.

      • See, here’s the thing, as I see it. Christianity allows for a fair amount of personal freedom, and whether one celebrates Christmas an/or Easter or not does not, so far as I can tell, affect one’s relationship with Christ. (Christianity and Judaism, at their most basic, are not collective “religions”, but rather PERSONAL relationships between the believer and the “I AM” (Yahweh in the Hebrew, transliterated *is that the proper term?* into Jehovah in the English).

        That said, I think Valentine’s Day is a non-starter.

      • I do not argue that Christianity allows for a “fair bit of personal freedom”, however God does not mince words when he directly tells us not to accept the ways of the world. Accepting false “gods” or incorporating pagan worship into Christianity is adulterating it for the sake of luring non-believers into the flock. What are we teaching then if we do this?

        If we are to be Christian then we are to follow His word and not accept the things of the flesh, which would include anything pagan into our worship of him. Would you then as a parent when setting the rules in your house accept that its OK for your children to bring in porn? Would you allow your child to bring in other idols from other religious worship and bow down to them in worship just because you allow them “personal freedom”? How about human or animal sacrifice? If it is acceptable in other religious beliefs, would you allow your child to perform it because its his/her “personal choice”, but because he still believes in Jehovah and Jesus and has built a “relationship” with them?

        My point is, if you have built your personal relationship with Jehovah and Jesus, then you would not want to do the things that they have counseled against. Many churches have accepted many pagan rituals into their worship of God that does not belong thus diluting His word so they can appeal to the world. Jehovah does not want us to “appeal” to the world but to Him as He wants us to separate ourselves from the the worldly ways.

    • The main point of Mr. West’s article is the life of St. Valentine and I would argue that Mr. West is making an attempt to reclaim that day from paganism.

      • You cannot reclaim something that has it’s roots in paganism. I am not going to change my beliefs for anyone.

  1. part of the history was the fact that Rome encouraged homsexuality in the army because they believed the soldier would look after the lover on the field and not have to worry about the soldier thinking about a lover back home. Since Valentine lived in a permissive state, couldn’t the idea that Valentine was trying to argue and secretly rallying against was happiness with the one you loved. His same argument for the marriage of a man and a women could hold today for a marriage between two men or two women as well.

    • Hm… I actually read that it was the Greeks who encouraged homosexuality in the army. The Romans, up until the time of the early Imperial period, viewed homosexuality in a rather negative light. In fact, a charge of such could ruin a Roman man’s political career.

      • they might have looked down on it but they still pushed homosexuality. charging someone for it was a political move to ruin an opponent or adversary that you had. it was a way to demean them. they still pushed it during the initial imperial period.

      • You may be correct regarding early Roman history. But the article is about later Roman history. Emperor Nero married one or more of his male homosexual consorts for one.

    • Ignorance is BLISS for some …

      You are nuts, obviously you don’t know scripture and you don’t get it …
      That’s your problem, but I hate when others slander the meaning and intentions of OTHERS DEATHS and especially a Christian Martyr on the premises of justifying HOMOSEXUALITY… !!!

      Their is No Homosexuals In HEAVEN …
      Christ declared, plain and simple ..

      That two abomination’s or hated SINS with disgust and Animosity …

      Was: A. Abortion –
      The Human Selfishly and Sick Murdering of Innocent Unborn
      Babies and The Blatant Disregard For God Being The Sole Provider Of Life and Allowing or Removing Life On This Earth,
      NOT MANKIND.

      B. Homosexuality –
      The Blatant Disregard and Biological Dismissal of Humans
      Natural and Normal Need For Reproducing and Multiplying In Loving And Sacred Marriages Between a Man and Woman ….

      This SIN is NOT supersede by Worldly Concept’s or Justification
      Of “If It Feels Good, Then Do It”, Or “Because I Was Born That
      Way”, All Of These Are Lies, and Science Even Supports This …

      Homosexuality Spits In The Face Of The Lord, Saying I Will Not Work
      Out My Physically And Emotional Fears And Issues With The
      Opposite Sex, And I Refuse To Obey Your Commands and Biblical
      Laws.

      The Fact Anyone Even Try’s To Justify Homosexuality On The Premises
      Of “Well it’s Love”, is ignorant and needs to take it from a “Ex-
      Homosexual”, that you are ignoring what the relationship of
      Homosexuality is built upon. It’s built mostly upon one being a victim of
      sexual assault, it’s also built upon the mere experimentation with – wait
      for it- “SEX” or sexual activities with the same sex, why is this wrong,
      because it’s not for natural design or human civilizations development
      or Morally Centered, Because it’s solely on the abused power of Sex
      and Love with the Wrong Person and Wrong SEX.

      Also “CHRISTIANS” don’t SECRETLY, Change Their Agenda In That Time Frame –
      To Quantify That – Would Be Saying Then That He Was A FAKE CHRISTIAN Because Ultimately, “IF” This Was The Case.
      He Is Definitely Slandering Gods Word, And Will Pay For That.

      He IS WHAT We Would Call A False Prophet.
      Or False Example Under That Scenario.

      But This Is Were I Say Your Wrong, He Was A Christian A He Was Not
      Defending Homosexuality .. LoL …

  2. It is amazing to me that in olny a few short years, we have gone from viewing a child raised by people other than their parents as a concession out of necessity. Now, it is a pervasive thought that parents are “interchangeable” Yes, good outcomes can and do occur with children raised out of wedlock by those other than their own biological parents, but to elect this for the child out of selfish wanting is a deadly conceit for society.

  3. Good article. i did not know he preceded Constantine during the 300 year period after Christ when Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire.

  4. There is actually another layer to be peeled back from this onion. The Romans celebrated a Pagan holiday on February 14th to honor Juno Fructifier, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses as well as goddess of marriage. In one ritual, women would submit their names to a common box and men would each draw one out. These two would be a couple for the duration of the festival (and at times for the entire following year). Both rituals were designed to promote not only fertility, but also life generally. In 469, emperor Gelasius declared February 14th a holy day in honor of Valentinus instead of the pagan god Lupercus. This allowed Christianity to take over some of the celebrations of love and fertility which had perviously occurred in the context of paganism. Pagan celebrations were reworked to fit the martyr theme — Christianity did not approve of rituals that encouraged sexuality.

      • English can be a tricky language indeed! Note: my comment did not address Christianity’s approval of SEXUALITY ITSELF, but rather of R-I-T-U-A-L-S. Rituals that promoted sexuality. Now – did / does Christianity approve of ANY RITUAL which promotes sexuality? (No spin required, but thanks anyway.) Lastly, the term “Biblical Christianity” is as much an oxymoron as “military intelligence.” Cheers!

      • ah, don’t you mean redundant? since an oxymoron means the words negate each other. And Christianity is based upon the Bible.

      • Christianity is “based on the Bible” the same way a Hollywood movie is “based on a true story.” Solstice observances, worship on Sunday, idolization of the Messiah above YHWH, a trinity-deity, halos… I would say the term “oxymoron” stands well on its own.

      • It’s no big deal that pagan rituals were redeemed into becoming Christian festivals. That’s what we Christians say God does–redemption.

      • It’s no big deal “to you,” but if the Bible is anything to be believed, it is a very big deal to our Creator. It was that constant discord between the traditions and doctrines of Christianity and the Bible that first caused me to renounce the religion, even before I understood we were commanded to come out of it.

      • It should be, but the word itself has become so abused by so many called Christians. I use to say I try to be a good Christian. But now I just say I believe in Our Lord and his only begotten Son.

      • I couldn’t agree more – the word has been badly abused. Centuries before Messiah, when the Jews came out of Babylon, they had taken the WORD and from it created a religion: Rabbinical Judaism. It was mostly traditions, many of which actually violate the Law of YHWH. Messiah came and called us to repent (come back). He denounced the traditions and commandments of men, and proclaimed the kingdom of his Father. Centuries later, we did it again! We invented a religion of traditions that convinces us to actually disregard 2/3 of what’s in out Bibles. All our Father ever asked of any man was faithful obedience. When we obey His word, we live in perfect love for Him and out neighbors as well. He’s got a plan, yes? I like it.

      • I am going to tell you to go away. Yet everyone seems compelled to respond to your know it all tripe that appears to me to only denigrate Christianity. So, go away or not. I won’t be reading any of your opinions.

  5. “I do have to ask a question though, what do men get on Valentine’s Day?”
    Interestingly enough, in Japan girls give guys chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and then guys give them a gift in return a month later on White Day.

  6. He is no longer on the saints’ list, because there is no proof for the story. However, since my DH always buys me Godiva, who am I to challenge tradition?

  7. Nice story, partially true, but spun to fit your needs.

    In the Roman Catholic Church the name Valentinus does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, compiled by the Chronographer of 354. But it already can be found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum,which was compiled, from earlier local sources, between 460 and 544. The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implies, nothing was yet known to him about his life.

    So, it could’ve been a number of people, and when made a saint, nothing was known about his acts besides being martyred for the faith.

  8. Why do so many people have to pounce on every beautiful story and attempt to destroy it. Mankind is getting more and more discouraging. Best to you and your Valentine from me and mine.

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