St. Valentine’s Day Idiosyncrasies



The universal day of love passed last week. February 14 is the magic day each year. But the facts surrounding the holiday are not as well known as most think.

     History provides several St. Valentines. Most historians attribute St. Valentine’s Day to a third century Roman priest, his name obviously Valentine. The popular concept is that Valentine was executed because he was promoting Roman Catholicism. In the course of spreading the word, Valentine married many people. His conducting of a large number of marriages was the problem. Not his Catholicism.

     Claudius was emperor at the time. He needed a large army. Wars were commonplace and married men were exempted from service so Claudius proclaimed a ban on new marriages. Valentine was warned: stop marrying people. He continued. Claudius warned him repeatedly. Valentine opted not to listen.

     Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death. He was to be beaten with clubs and stones. He was. But he would not die. Claudius ordered him beheaded and the date of Valentine’s execution was February 14.

     The centuries have added an aura to the day. It is for lovers, recognized as such universally. Even Pope Francis spoke of love this St. Valentine’s Day while carrying a red rose. Red has become the symbolic color of St. Valentine’s Day, together with gifts of red roses and chocolate candy. This is true everywhere today, except for one place: Saudi Arabia.

     Most areas of Saudi Arabia frown big time on St. Valentine’s Day. The day of love is considered immoral. Red roses cannot be sold. Some merchants do, howeverr — from the back room of their shops. Heart-shaped chocolates are sold from under the counter, reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s when condoms and porn magazines were sold from under the counter.  The color red is prohibited.

     Valentine Day gifts of red roses and chocolate candy are considered immoral under present day Islamism. Obviously, they are illegal also. The two are intertwined. Imagine gifts of sexy female underwear. I am sure the reaction would be explosive.

     Saudi Arabia maintains a secret police, a religious secret police. The group is commonly referred to as the religious patrol. Ever vigilant, they monitor the stores looking for red roses, chocolate candies and the color red being used in displays during the time surrounding February 14. They also are on the lookout for any public display of affection. A cleric recently stated that those who celebrate Valentine’s Day “…want to copy the infidels.” You and me.

     Pope Francis has it right. We should all love one another and express that love. Change is a constant. Perhaps some day the men of Saudi Arabia will be openly able to bring their wives and lady friends red roses and chocolate candy., purchased in an open market place.




Addendum to last week’s column concerning the new Farm Law. This information came to light after the column went to press. I am beginning to suspect not everyone reads bills before they are voted upon by Congress. Perhaps they do and keep quiet about certain items since they do not want us to know.

     One of the biggest problems with the Farm Law is that certain Congresspersons who vote for the bill thereafter receive monies under the bill. They own farms or a portion thereof. Through subsidies and/or crop insurance, they walk away with significant chunks of money.

     My problem with the system is that the law does not require those Congress persons to be identified. The new law as drafted contained such a provision. It was deleted prior to the final vote.

     The new law was signed by President Obama on a Friday. The following Tuesday, it was revealed that the new law contained a provision barring the disclosure of the names of corporations receiving benefits. We live in an era of big corporations in the farm business. Corporations like Monsanto.

     Why hide these things? What has happened to transparency? Obama promised transparency when he first ran. It seems we are getting less rather than more today. Secrecy seems to cloak more and more governmental operations.

     We live in a time of economic depression. Every taxpayer dollar is important. Nevertheless, government waste is rampant.     

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