Ed Team

The Passion of Saint Valentine

Filed By Ed Team | February 14, 2006 6:57 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality

This morning on the radio I heard Garrison Keilor explaining the origin of St. Valentine's day, which until today, was a mystery to me. The story kept resonating with me, so I did a little more research. The parallels between then and now are notable.

Although there remains some historical debate, St. Valentine was a Roman Priest during the late 3rd Century BCE who was apparently sympathetic toward the Christians and aided them while his government was actively persecuting them. Claudius II was emperor at that time and was engaged in several unpopular military campaigns to expand the Roman Empire. Claudius could not keep his armies staffed with young men. Thinking that the love of home, family, and spouse was such a disincentive for young men to join the Roman Army, Claudius prohibited marriages. St. Valentine, it appears, was also sympathetic toward people in love, and opted to break Roman law and perform secret weddings. As we might suspect, he was discovered by the Roman authorities and put to death by beating and later beheadded.

Here we are, 18 centuries later, we have our disenfranchised, marginalized groups. We have our unpopular wars. We have a government that seeks to keep marriage illegal for millions of people. We may yearn for a modern day Saint Valentine--one who recognizes the value of love and compassion that cannot be restricted by law. Where is our Saint Valentine today?

As this day of love draws to a close, let us be comforted that many of us carry the passion of St. Valentine in our hearts as we challenge our legislators and the public to make marriage legal for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender. Let's never forget St. Valentine.

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Margeaux - your post almost made me cry! But I believe that WE are the modern St. Valentines - we are the ones fighting for people to love whom they want. And I'm sure it will happen. The people who are against GLBT marriages exist in a narrow, small world. They think that what is now is all that exists. They have no concept of history and what has gone before. They live in a vacuum, while we live in the larger world. It is up to us to make sure that the arrows of love hit their targets, and that ALL people will soon be free to be with their true loves!!!!

Bruce Parker | February 15, 2006 2:35 AM

Margeaux - What an inspiring and courageous post. Thank you and your perspectives and insights are unique and enjoyable for me. Thanks for challenging how I think about the world frequently and without fear. - Bruce

What an excellent post, Margeaux! The spirit of St. Valentine lives on!