Would you give your life to protect the “Sacred Institution of Marriage?” This past Sunday, whether they realized it or not, millions of people around the globe honored a man who did just that. His name is Valentinus and, of course, the day I am alluding to is Valentine’s Day. There are at least 16 other countries besides America where it is celebrated, but few people know the story behind it.
The Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus was in power from 268 – 270 AD. Because it was a time of war, he issued an outrageous edict to cease all marriages. He reasoned that during times of war, single men were better soldiers. A clergyman named Valentinus thought this policy was insane, so he continued to perform marriages and defy the edict (or executive order in today’s vernacular), and for that he was imprisoned. Legend has it that while in prison Valentinus fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and wrote notes to her – signing them, “From Your Valentine.”
He was executed on February 14th, 269 AD. Fast-forward, 1,752 years later, we still celebrate his courageous act of love! It’s also a reminder that the overreach of government into areas of religious freedom and family values has been around for a long time. As Solomon said, there really is, “nothing new under the sun.”
Doesn’t it seem amazing that God turned around something evil and used it for good! Pastor and author Mark Batterson would say that God “flipped the script.” He turned a day of evil and injustice into a day that reminds us to love others and value family, especially our spouses. The attacks against marriage and family continue to increase and we need many to take a stand for the “Sacred Institutions” we hold dear.
Family Policy Alliance® is always on the lookout for men and women (like Valentinus) who will stand for God-honoring family values. Our sister organization Family Policy Foundation hosts a Statesmen Academy℠ training program for current and future public servants who want to honor God in their work. The program not only trains these individuals initially, but it provides ongoing community and support. You can learn more here.
The Apostle Paul may have been an inspiration to Valentinus when he said, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
Chairman, Board of Directors – Rhode Island