For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
William Holmes McGuffey was called the "schoolmaster to the nation." His readers, first published in 1836, sold 125 million copies, making his textbooks the most used in history.
In the forward to his work McGuffey wrote, "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the particularities of our free institutions."
Of course, that was then and this is now.
Dexter Thielhelm, a second-grade student at a Sheboygan, Wisconsin, school found out just how much things have changed, when he brought his home-made valentines to class for Valentine's Day.
His valentines included a plastic water bottle filled with heart-shaped candies, a note which said, "Jesus Loves You" and the text of John 3:16. A teacher notified the principal of the "objectionable" valentines, and the principal said the religious message had to be removed.
In support of that principal, the school says the parents of Thielhelm's classmates should have been asked to give written permission for their children to receive the "valentine-with-a-religious-message." Others maintain that Thielhelm, who was not being disrespectful, has the right to express his personal and religious views. Authorities are trying to develop a policy that would define what religious messages would be allowed and what would be forbidden.
I wish them all the luck in the world. They're going to need it.
Why? Because the truth is this: Valentine, the fellow after whom Valentine's Day is named, is a Christian saint, who was martyred because he loved the Savior, who had first loved and saved him.
That means in order to divorce religion from Valentine's Day, the public school is going to have to get rid of Valentine. This means they are going to end up celebrating "Somebody Day."
It's generic and not very romantic, but that's what happens when you remove religion from a society which, in many ways, was shaped by people's faith in the Savior.
People of faith know we are not just a body and mind; we are not human animals. The Lord has also given us an immortal soul. That soul, along with the rest of us, is loved by the Lord.
Showing His love, God sent His only Son to save us. Through a perfect life, a rejection of temptation and the defeat of death, Jesus paid the penalty price our sins had incurred. Now all who are given faith in Him are saved. And that is a valentine present of love no principal or school board can take away.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, by Your love, as shown in the Savior, we are saved. May I, in all I do, reflect that love to others and most of all to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries