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VALENTINE’S DAY: PAGANISM ANCIENT AND MODERN

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According to Wikipedia, “Saint Valentine's Day, commonly known as Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine,is observed on February 14 each year.” Valentine's Day is a pagan relic frolicking in Christian colours. Like its satanic brother pagan festival Halloween,Valentine's Day celebration is undeniably and historically rooted in pagan revelries. Classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado, USA, informs us of the Roman foundations of Valentine's Day: “The lovers' holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility.” Few things can be more outlandish than this! But for the mercies of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, I would have loved to see this unfair ritual carried out on the luminous bodies of many nymphs happily and expectedly convulsing over the Feast of Saint Valentine today. For equity sake also, it would have been fun to see turbo charged women and girls in vengeful mood against centuries of discrimination “grab goat- or dog-skin whips, and spank” without mercy hapless and helpless men “in hopes of increasing their fertility!” Infertility is not a female preserve despite the naivety, ignorance and bias of traditional societies. The scholar Lenski tells us that an annual popular pagan festival called Lupercalia was held every February 15 for more than 150 years after Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire in A.D. 311. Professor Lenski recalls that Lupercaliawas “clearly a very popular thing, even in an environment where the [ancient] Christians are trying to close it down. So there's reason to think that the Christians might instead have said, 'OK, we'll just call this a Christian festival.'” That was how St. Valentine was tagged with the pagan theatrics of Lupercalia.Though Professor Lenski does not ascribe 100 per cent correctness to this historicity, he argues that "it may be a convenient explanation for a Christian version of what happened at Lupercalia." The mystery religion of Babylon which enveloped the world vomited the spirit of Valentine Day festivities. Wikipedia tells us that “in Roman mythology, Lupercus is a god sometimes identified with the Roman god Faunus, ….of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia.”Lupercus was coined from the Latin word lupusor wolf. Wikipedia is definite that “Rome was traditionally founded”at the Lupercalia.Deified as the god of fertility, the ritual of the two classes of the college of Lupercaliawas meant “to expiate and purify new life in the spring.” Lupercalia was originally denoted and celebrated as “the festival of sexual license.” It was the eve of the sex rite of the pagan Roman fertility god. Romans of antiquity also celebrated on every February 14 to honour Juno Fructifier, a goddess and consort of the Roman gods. Nimrod,a predecessor of St. Valentine was a biblical, ungodly mighty hunter of the post Flood creation who sowed the seed of idolatry, false worship of God and occultism was also worshipped in Babylon mystery religion which flourished in Rome.

NEW BIRTH TALES WOVEN FOR VALENTINE'S DAY CELEBRATIONS

However, a coat of new plumage has been sown for the now famous Valentine love festival. Now a secularized western born again whimsicality, Valentine's Day has a universal appeal for the young, the educated and the romantic. Though its' supposed Christian roots say that “St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus,” the day in reality is steeped in many martyrologies. One of the most endearing claims link the day with a Saint Valentine who was allegedly jailed for wedding Roman soldiers who took spouses against the order of 3rdcentury Roman Emperor Claudius II. To stop his army from being distracted by voluble, attention seeking wives, the martial minded king who enjoyed the attention of numerous voluptuous wives and concubines decreed celibacy for his soldiers. The tradition according to Saint Valentine has it that he was executed in A.D. 270—on February 14 for defiling the Emperor's celibacy decree. Another window has it that St. Valentinus was prosecuted for ministering to persecuted Roman Christians. Another prison tale about the priest alleged that he healed one Asterius, the daughter of his jailer. Later, the love struck damsel was the beneficiary of a farewell death note from St. Valentinus that was signed off "from your Valentine." Valentine Day means many things to organizations personal and corporate, secular and ecclesiastical. The Anglican Communion has enthroned Saint Valentine's Day as its official Feast Day. While the Lutherans pay tribute to Saint Valentine's Day on July 6th in honor of a Roman presbyter named Saint Valentine, the Easter Orthodox Church chose July 30th in remembrance of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna. The day began to take the colour of romantic love in the High Middle Ages when courtly love was in fashion courtesy of Geoffrey Chaucer. Flowers, hearted shaped doves, greetings cards and the figure of Cupid the Roman god of carnal love later became physical means of expressing Valentine love. Like all things in the west, the festival is now a religion of commerce. Over 190 million greetings cards are sent annually in the USA during this time, according to the Greeting Cards Association. "Giving your sweetheart or someone [else] a Valentine's Day card is a deep-seated cultural tradition in the United States. We don't see that changing," defended association spokesperson Barbara Miller. The association credits France's Duke of Orléans with sending the first Valentine's Day card to his wife in 1415 when he was a prisoner in the Tower of London following the Battle of Agincourt. Though not marked as a public holiday, clothes, candy, meals, entertainment and jewelries have since joined the list of traded items in the festival train. Theme parks, hotels, clubs and cinema houses earnestly look forward to the celebrations. The National Confectioners Association, USA, recorded $1 billion sales of candies during Valentine's Day celebrations of 2012. It computes that 75 percent of that billion dollar sales came from chocolate, which association spokesperson Susan Fussell called the emblem of romance from the days of Mexico's 15th- and 16th-century Aztec Empire. Fussell said that the 15th century Aztec emperor Moctezuma I believed that "eating chocolate on a regular basis made him more virile and better able to serve his harem." My friend and brother Biodun “Batik” Adebiyi who played trumpet in Fela's band once told me that the Abami Eda routinely consumed plenteous bars of chocolate. While Batik, now a university lecturer laughed at the irony of an acclaimed Black Power revolutionary feasting on the emblem of white capitalist colonialism, I think that the Abnormal One,an educated, well travelled instrumentalist, magical song writer, avid composer, iconoclastic singer and band leader may have read about Emperor Moctezuma 1. The 2012 Valentine Day celebrations in the USA grossed almost $18 billion from an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation. In line with the unbalanced, bizarre emotional love nature of westerners which bothers on bestiality, gorgeously dressed pets receive adorable gifts and ungodly demonstrations of carnal love during Valentine's Day celebrations. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey and author of several books on love said that "once you start giving the dog a valentine, you are talking about a real expression of attachment as well as romantic love." The Holy Spirit unreservedly rebuked such ungodly, unnatural relationships - EZE. 22:9. And the Lord Jesus faulted it totally: “It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs” – MT. 15:26{NIV}.

LANDMINES OF VALENTINE'S DAY CELEBRATIONS
Professor Dan Ariely who teaches behaviourial economics at Duke University, North Carolina attributes the avid eagerness today to partake of Valentine's Day celebration to what he called a herd mentality. In his words, "herds give us a sense of what is normative behavior—not normative in terms of rational but normative in terms of this is how people behave." Emotional landmines are deceptively planted in many Valentine's Day iconic candies: "BE MINE," "KISS ME," "CALL ME." On the highway of commerce, Valentine's Day revelries has become the altar of infatuation, perverted love and lust in many young souls though they don't know it. Rutgers University's Professor Helen Fisher, an author of several books on love, including Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love has studied love attitudes at Valentine. Fisher breaks love into three distinct brain systems that enable mating and reproduction:

Sex drive
Romantic love (obsession, passion, infatuation)
Attachment (calmness and security with a long-term partner)

These three brain systems in the words of Fisher play different roles in love. They can operate independently, but people crave all three for an ideal relationship: "I think the sex drive evolved to get you out there looking for a range of partners," she said. "I think romantic love evolved to enable you to focus your mating energy on just one at a time, and attachment evolved to tolerate that person at least long enough to raise a child together as a team." Valentine's Day, Fisher added, is not an ideal relationship, but mostly used to encompass only two of these three brain systems: sex drive and romantic love. In other words, many young people just do what they do during Valentine festival because of a “follow follow” mentality, because peer pressure tells them that they must be seen to love and to be loved, because they must not be seen to be out of the touch of modernity, because they must follow the Jones and the Janets! We now identify Valentine love as the devil's template of gross sexual immorality to depraved humanity. The trinity of Satan, the world and the flesh amalgamate at Valentine festival – JN. 8:42-47, ROM. 8:13, 1 JN. 2:15-18. It provides opportunity for hardened 419ners, drug barons, cultists, armed robbers, abusers of spouses, domestic violence practitioners, looters of public fund, indecent exhibitionists and all manners of rogue elements to launder a new false image via carnal love. Like many western high school and college sexual herd phenomena, Valentine's Day brings home to mindless youths an acceptable canvass to misbehave. It's a time to impress and impose improvised lusty love on girls and women through carnal gifts like cards, fragrances, sprays, lip sticks, phones, lingerie, lunches and dinners. It's a time to tell sultry lies to itching ears and get away with it. It's a time when loveless, lurid predators pretend to be pierced with Cupid's arrows, but only the hearts of naive men and women will be bore through in the end. It's a time when clueless girls dream, dress, play and act like Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Rihana, Joy Bryant, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolly, Maria Carrie and other posters of fake, western immoral sophistication and their aspiring Nigerian equivalents. Valentine's Day celebration is a time to massage the lust egos of idealized youths. It's a time for lusty songs to be worked into young and old hearts going astray. It's a time for agile Nigerian 419 men to warm their fraudulent ways into the hearts of dreamy western women and girls lonely for love. It's a time when many vaginal youths furiously work their Blackberry phones on the walk of virtual love. Valentine's Day celebration is a time when the Nigerian electronic media saturates the airwaves with various brands of fake fun anchored on American Grammy award singers like Maxwell. It's a time to be flirty and sexually loose and not have any remorse! It's a time when sexual immorality is given an endemic tolerance. It's a time to look fashionably trendy in nakedness, a moment for Christians to be far from God and His word. During Valentine's Day parties, society expects everyone to be intoxicated on lust, love, drinks, lewdest ribaldry and unbridled sex. It's a time when Satan's agents on the altar of Jehovah God indulge and encourage some blue eyed youths to partake of the evils of Valentine's love, leading them away from the righteous injunctions of the living God. My beloved cousin Rita was hectored and harassed for sex at Valentine 2010 by a Christian brother who professed Valentine's love and in return wanted Valentine proof that she “loved” him. She stoutly refused the invitation to sexual immorality and the young tempter promptly took his leave! Valentine's Day spirit seduces and allures youths to surrender chastity and live in lusts. The day and activities associated with it alters the mental balance of people to think of sex unreasonably. It emotionally lowers the bar of morality. The Feast of Saint Valentine is a time when these misguided and misbegotten men of God, whose bellies are their god, swell their ranks and bank accounts with devotees who are thereafter sent to hell's expressway on a one-way ticket. Valentine's Day is a societal systematic evidence of failed and flawed moral values. It's a time when wealthy men bamboozle greedy women with gifts and break their hearts and marriages. It's a time when female hostels in our tertiary institutions become red light zones in a new glow and demonstrates the lost control of some parents/guardians over their children and wards. It's a time for fake, sweetie promises that dies and is buried the day after Valentine's Day celebrations. True love is symbiotic and interfaced with time, pain, tolerance, giving, forbearance and sacrifice – 1 COR. 13: 1-13.Valentine love is make-believe, mercantile, myopic and mostly masochistic. Valentine love is spiced up by the atmosphere; true love most times manifests inspite of the most adverse atmosphere.

PITFALLS OF VALENTINE INDUCED LUST AND SEX
In an atmosphere of cowed sexual uniformity, it takes an exceptionally righteous spirit and brave soul to resist the perverted lust of Valentine's Day infatuation. The herd mentality that pumps the Cupid adrenalin of celebrants virtually denies them the sense of value associated with people standing on sure emotional grounds. Scripturally, the spirit of the day speaks lewdness, lawlessness, transgression, error and falling aside – JN. 3:4, ROM. 4:15, 1 TIM. 2:16, HEB. 2:2, 9:7, 2 PET. 1:10. Depravity, wantonness, carousing, orgies, debauchery and open sexual indulgence gets licentious endorsement during Valentine festivities – EPH. 6:12. Today, Valentine's Day celebrations is a great demonstration of worldliness. Yet God warns: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world” – 1 JN. 2:15-16. Years of dedicated attention to the spirit of Feast of Saint Valentine leads to a reprobate heart. Like any product or service, sexual love as ordained by God comes with strict beneficial warnings about its use. This is because “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” – HAB. 1:13. Sex is given by God, but for only men with woman in lawful marriage. From the beginning, the everlasting righteous God warned that man should not provoke and misrepresent eroticism in place of agape love – Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5, 8:4. God is definite that unguided and misplaced love has an explosive, premature content – Song of Songs 8:6. Therefore, it will pay us to note that the Almighty God is still against sexual immorality under any guise whatsoever – EXO. 32:6, 1 COR. 5:11, 6:12-20, 10:8, I THESS. 4:3-9, EPH. 5:3, COL. 3:5-6. Though secularism encourages unbridled passion at all times and in all places, virginity is a God given virtue that secures the boys and girls from sexual self immolation. This is because “there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” – PROV. 14:12. God punishes any act of homosexuality without mercy! – GEN. 19:1-28, DT. 29:23, LAM. 4:6, JERE. 49:18. Homosexuality brings about longing for sin – AMOS 8:5-6. God's command is that we guard against it among the brethren, put it off from our midst and destroy it totally – JOB 11:14, PSA. 4:4, ROM. 6:6. Natural sex is good, but sacred, to be enjoyed only in holy matrimony, not to be abused in pre-marital perversion. Pre-marital sex doubles as sin against God and the unfortunate ones indulging in it. Sex is a covenant sealed with blood; hence “he that is joined with a harlot has become one with her” - ROM. 11:22. Biblically, harlotry is not just the sexual iniquity practiced in brothels and other places of immorality, but any sexual activity outside God's definition of marriage. Common sense dictates that you don't enter into this covenant with any Tom, Vic and Jenny! Hollywood and Tinsel Town with their associates such as Nollywood viciously lie to gullible youths especially during Valentine's Day celebration, that sex is one and the same thing as love. While true love is a journey, pre-marital sex is an abrupt destination, a sin. One sorry, horrible effect of sin is that it blindfolds the eyes of the sinner and wraps up his mind to his own sin – 2 COR. 4:4. Only the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of Truth” can open the eyes of a sinner – JN. 14:17, 16:8-11. Unwanted pregnancies usually triple after Valentine's Day celebrations. When this correspondent worked in a hospital, he met many young people who regretted getting pregnant or contracting STDs and HIV/AIDS after such revelries. Indeed, I knew a few who were brought back to die in their ancestral homes.

THE ONLY WAY TO ESCAPE THE DESTRUCTIVE ALLURE OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY

Though under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, some people get angrier and commit greater evil – ACTS 26:18. Please remember my friend that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”– ROM. 6:23. Anything that takes us away from God's holiness is sin despite its allure, attractions and temporary gains. It should be violently avoided. The allure and attraction of sin presents iniquity as a right thing to enjoy, but hides its hideous final consequences. God commands us to “flee from all appearances of evil.” We must be far from the sin that easily entangles us – EPH. 4:17-19, HEB. 12:1-2. God's warns that “the world is passing away and the lusts thereof” – 1 JN. 2:15. Friend, I invite you to embrace the salvation of God offered in Jesus Christ – JN. 3:16. The One who knew no sin was made sin for your sake. As befits saints, we must put off lewdness and lusts and be renewed in the spirit of our mind, putting on the new man created by God in righteousness. As Christians, we should not be leavened with the yeast of lewdness and lusts. Rather, we should eat the unleavened bread of holiness and the fear of God – 1 COR. 5:8. On the Cross of Calvary, the Lord Jesus drew an eternal line between sin and holiness, between God's glory and Satan's wickedness, between the world and the word of God. Without the spirit of Jesus Christ, you can't mortify the flesh – ROM. 3:23. Through the Valentine's Day revelries, we can understand that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” – 2 THESS. 2:7. Ignorant saints who give themselves over to the spirit of Valentine's Day celebrations and still go ahead to partake of the Lord's Supper without confessing this sin genuinely must know the risks that they face – 1 COR. 11:17-34. Every sinning believer who eats the broken body of Jesus Christ and drinks His shed blood risks weakness, sickness and death – LK. 21:34, 1 COR. 5:1-5, GAL. 5:19-21. In place of healing and restoration, death may be the reward – 2 KGS. 4:35, JOB 33:21, PSA. 103:5.Instead of spiritual blood transfusion, weakness may overtake such a one – LK. 6:57. When taken worthily, the Lord's Supper is an insurance of long life – JN. 6:58. Listless Valentine Day advocates should hear this warning: “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” – DT. 32:29. Friend, let's celebrate the King of kings, the Lord of lords and the Prince of princes daily. God bless you.

Shalom.

Historian, freelance journalist and writer, JOSEPH EMEKA ANUMBOR is the author of THE INTERCOURSE OF TROUBLED THOUGHTS, a critically acclaimed discourse on homosexuality published by Author House Inc., Indiana, USA.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Emeka Anumbor and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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