He probably wouldn't. But, in looking him up, there's not a lot to be said.
There are a few myths that are dismissed outright as not being based on...you know...history. But that's pretty much it. Very few of them have anything to do with the Valentines Day we celebrate. Maybe he married people illegally to keep them from having to go to war. That's a little bit abolitionist? One could argue conscription is a form of slavery. Or maybe he married christian couples when it was illegal for christians to be christians - let alone get married and potentially make more little illegal christians. In either case, these would have been poor ancient-ish folks. A long long way from chocolate and roses.
So, certainly slavery for chocolate and roses doesn't honor Saint Valentine...whoever he was and whatever he did. But it's not like the case with Saint Nicholas who was a former slave and now we pretend he delivers toys to kids when those toys are likely made by...drum roll please...slaves. It's not that cut and dry with Saint Valentine.
But let's try someone else. The first letter of John, in the fourth chapter, tells us that God is love. And maybe somewhere beneath all that Hallmark propaganda, Valentine's Day is about Love. So, I'm going to take a little license and say that maybe somewhere beneath all that Hallmark propaganda, Valentines Day has more to do the the legacy of the God of love than of some murky stories about Saint Valentine. So, who is this God person. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, this God John calls love is the one who set the Hebrew slaves free. This God John calls love is the one who dreamed up this thing called jubilee where all slaves and debtors and folks who lost their land are restored to freedom and liveable economics. God [arguably] is the one turned over tables in the temple when the poor were being abused for profit. God is the one who has shown us what is good and what Love requires of us: Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. According to Hebrew and Christian scriptures, this is who God is. According to Jesus' friend John, this is who Love is.
So...Valentine shmalentine. But love. Love. On February 14th - and on every day - if we're going to be about love, we have to be about justice.
So if you're buying a gift, make sure it is a gift that maybe good ole Saint Valentine the renegage marrier of people who aren't allowed to get married would approve of. But certainly, let's make sure it's a gift that the God of Love would approve of by keeping it just.
- There are currently 36 million slaves sharing this planet we call home.
- Two of the worst industries are roses and chocolate. Roses and chocolate particularly use un or underpaid boys who work in dangerous situations to bring you those great deals while they still make great profit.
Here, again, are resources for avoiding it:
if you live in my neighborhood (everett, wa), go to ethical choices downtown on colby. meet leo carpenter who owns the store and puts everything on the table to end slavery. let him help you pick out the perfect gift.
if you live in seattle, head over to ten thousand villages or to the theo factory. better yet, give a tour of the theo chocolate factory.
if you live other places,
shop for roses here: www.oneworldflowers.org. you can pick them out and set up a delivery time.
shop for your chocolate at any of these places:
if wine is your thing, order a bottle of one world chiraz or visit fair spirits.
if you want to give something else try searching this webiste: fairtradeusa.org
if you don't find it there, send me an email and i'll see if i can't chase down some fair trade options for you.
or, just make something or give time. just make sure the things you make are made with ethically sourced materials and that the way you share your time doesn't involve slavery (ie grabbing hot chocolate at starbucks...)