Archive for the ‘Paganism’ Category

Roman Catholic Origins:

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three different martyrs named Valentine. Two were in the clergy in Italy during the second half of the third century. The third lived in Africa. However, not much is known about him.

There are two prominent legends about St. Valentine:

  • During the reign of Emperor Claudius II it was decided that single men made better soldiers than those who where married and had families. According to History.com, Claudius II “outlawed marriage for young men.” St. Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret for young couples. When Claudius II heard of what St. Valentine was doing, he ordered him put to death.
  • Another legend is that while St. Valentine was in prison, he befriended, or fell in love with, his jailor’s blind daughter. Before he was executed, St. Valentine wrote a letter to her, which he signed “from your Valentine.” When she received the letter, and the first Valentine ever, it is said she was able to see.


The pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia was celebrated by ancient Romans on Feb. 14 and 15.

One tradition of this festival was that all the young women would write their name on a slip of paper and place it in an urn. Young men would then choose a name from the urn. The couples would be paired together for the entire festival. Sometimes these parings lasted for up to a year or resulted in marriage.

Some suspect that the feast day of St. Valentine was placed by the Roman Catholic Church on Feb. 14 in order to “Christianize” Lupercalia.

Modern Traditions:

St. Valentine’s Day became associated with love during the 14th century. According to infoplease.com, medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly placed Chaucer as the first one to connect St. Valentine’s Day with love. He wrote the poem “The Parliament of the Fowls” to celebrate a royal engagement. In it he wrote,

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, /When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

The correlation between love and finding a mate has continued until present. The tradition of exchanging Valentine’s has also continued and expanded to include gifts as well.



Catholic Encyclopedia


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Dinner and Divination

The Ozark Avalon Church is having a dinner and divination fundraiser tonight, Friday the 13th, for Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride, a non-profit organization that promotes religious tolerance. Dinner is at the Stein House Restaurant – 421 Main St., Boonville, Missouri – and includes three readings from the following categories: tarot, runes and astrology.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event ends at 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the door. It’s $18 for an individual, or $30 for a couple.

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Here’s some headlines on faith from around the world.

219 children, women taken from sect’s ranch

Authorities search for more kids at Texas ranch

Research explores what 1.3 billion Muslims think

How Would Jesus Choose?

The Episcopal Property War

Civil Rights Groups Seeing Gradual End of Their Era

The story behind the Dalai Lama’s visit to Seattle

Got a headline you think needs to be on this list? Post it in a comment below.

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Stonehenge, a popular and baffling tourist site, will be undergoing an excavation until April 11 to determine its exact date of construction.

Geoffrey Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries and Timothy Darvill, Stonehenge scholar from Bournemouth University, will lead the dig.

Wainwright and Darvill believe that the bluestones, the oldest stones at the site, are originally from the Preseli Mountains in south Wales.

According to researchers, Stonehenge was first created out of timbers and wooden posts in 3100 B.C. Bluestones later replaced the wood in approximately 2600 B.C.

New Agers, neo-Pagans and Druids believe there is mystical meaning attached to the site, but there is still debate as to why the circle of stones was formed.

To read more, click here.

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For those curious about the interplay between love and religion, it is now possible to purchase “The Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions” for only $256.

With 300 entries written by over 200 international scholars, the illustrated encyclopedia, edited by Yudit Kornberg Greenberg, a professor at Rollins College, explores adultery, homosexuality, filial love, celibacy, forgiveness, purity and ecstasy, to name a few.

To read more, click here.

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A proposed constitutional amendment to further define religious freedom in Missouri that passed in the House in February has yet to move out of the Senate committee it was referred to a month ago.

The amendment sponsored by Rep. Michael McGhee, R—Odessa, “guarantees a citizen’s First Amendment right to pray and worship in all public areas including schools as long as the activities are voluntary and subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all other types of speech,” according to the bill’s text.

The bill does not introduce any new parameters on public religious freedom. Instead, it only reaffirms the rights already stipulated in the state’s Bill of Rights. This has led some lawmakers to question the necessity of the bill during debates in February in the House.

Democrats said the extra verbiage did little, if anything, to change rights already guaranteed by the U.S. or Missouri constitutions.

Article I, Section 5 of the Missouri Constitution Bill of Rights states “that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

McGhee said that he felt compelled to introduce the bill after hearing from a minister that school children had been prohibited from bringing Bibles onto a school bus, however, he gave no specifics as to the district or area where the event occurred, according to the Kansas City Star.

Democratic opponents of the House bill questioned whether the timing of the amendment had more to do with drawing conservative voters to the polls in November than addressing a specific problem.

Rep. Trent Skaggs, a North Kansas City Democrat, said the proposal appeared to be trying to correct a problem that didn’t exist. The U.S. Constitution already protects a student’s right to ride a school bus while carrying a Bible and he questioned whether any Bible-toting student was denied a ride on the bus.

If this was really a problem, it needed to be dealt with before November. He proposed moving the proposed amendment to the August primary ballot.

Republicans blasted the amendment, saying constitutional changes should be on a ballot where the most people have a chance to vote. Rep. Joe Aull, a Marshall Democrat who is a former school superintendent, said school districts and parents would be better off knowing any new rules in August rather than having them changed in November.


Skaggs amendment was defeated. If the bill passes in the Senate, it will be placed on the November ballot.

The bill is now in the Pensions, Veteran Affairs and General Law committee in the Senate.

KC Star blog from before the bill passed. The post gives some of the comments from lawmakers on motives behind the bill.

Perfected bill that passed the House.

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In 2008 race, US religious vote fragmenting

McCain making quiet play for Catholic vote

Pope Reaches Out to American Catholics

Side note: This articles has great interactive graphics that give a demographics breakdown of American Catholics. For more information you might also want to check out the recent Pew Forum study on American Catholics.

Itinerary for pope’s U.S. visit combines official, informal

Vatican Sees Pope’s Visit as Chance to Soften Image

Vatican: Islam World’s Largest Faith

Redefining the Mormon Empire

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