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  1. A former public elementary school teacher who is a Jehovah’s Witness has filed a lawsuit against the suburban Detroit school district where she used to work because, she claims, school officials ordered her to organize a classroom Valentine’s Day party and then sacked her because she refused. People who belong to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a millenarian Christian sect, do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. Thus, the teacher, Yvonne Lemmons, is suing for religious discrimination reports Michigan Live. The defendant in the lawsuit is the Southfield Public School District in Southfield, Mich. Lemmons, 56, says in her lawsuit that she had been a fourth-grade teacher at MacArthur University Academy, a public magnet school, for 10 years and had faced no issues concerning her religious beliefs prior to the Valentine’s Day party kerfuffle. “She’s really a good woman devoted to teaching students,” Kathy Bogas, an attorney representing Lemmons, told Michigan Live. “Her abilities were never questioned until she challenged this directive.” According to the lawsuit, on Feb. 12, 2014 — a Wednesday — the principal at MacArthur University Academy instructed Lemmons to throw an in-class Valentine’s Day party. Lemmons refused, citing her status as a Jehovah’s Witness. In the past, Bogas noted, parents of the students in Lemmons’s classes organized Valentine’s Day parties. It’s not clear what was different about 2014. The lawsuit doesn’t say, and the school district would not comment on the lawsuit. In any case, Lemmons did not show up for work on the day of the party — presumably Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Then, in June 2014, she was sacked. Lemmons believes her dismissal is directly related to her refusal to organize be any part of the Valentine’s Day party. “Defendant rejected all the Plaintiff’s suggestions that would have permitted students to have a holiday celebration without Plaintiff violating her religious beliefs,” the teacher’s court pleading states. Lemmons and her attorneys argue that the school district’s refusal to accommodate her genuine religious belief and her subsequent job loss amount to illegal religious discrimination. The lawsuit lists no specific dollar amount. Lemmons has found work at an unnamed charter school since she was laid off. Jehovah’s Witnesses object to Valentine’s Day because they seek a restoration of their notion of first-century Christianity. Valentine’s Day involves Cupid — the Greek god of erotic love — and one or more possibly martyred, third-century Roman saints named Valentinus. Other holidays that Jehovah’s Witnesses spurn include Halloween. There’s no love for the Easter Bunny, either, because said bunny is, of course, a rabbit, and thus “a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility,” according to the official Jehovah’s Witnesses website It’s not clear how Lemmons handled Halloween parties in her classroom, if they occurred. The Jehovah’s Witnesses website JW.org that there are 8,220,105 Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world. This figure includes Prince. The Notorious B.I.G. and President Dwight D. Eisenhower were reportedly raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses. http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/25/suit-teacher-sacked-for-not-throwing-valentines-day-party/#ixzz4098jXth9
  2. The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day Arnie Seipel ~ February 13 Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled. A drawing depicts the death of St. Valentine — one of them, anyway. The Romans executed two men by that name on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Hulton Archive/Getty Images Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them. Those Wild And Crazy Romans From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile. The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day. Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, "It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn't stop it from being a day of fertility and love." Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day. Galatin meant "lover of women." That was likely confused with St. Valentine's Day at some point, in part because they sound alike. William Shakespeare helped romanticize Valentine's Day in his work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas Shakespeare In Love As the years went on, the holiday grew sweeter. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work, and it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Handmade paper cards became the tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages. Eventually, the tradition made its way to the New World. The industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards in the 19th century. And in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass producing valentines. February has not been the same since. Today, the holiday is big business: According to market research firm IBIS World, Valentine's Day sales reached $17.6 billion last year; this year's sales are expected to total $18.6 billion. But that commercialization has spoiled the day for many. Helen Fisher, a sociologist at Rutgers University, says we have only ourselves to blame. "This isn't a command performance," she says. "If people didn't want to buy Hallmark cards, they would not be bought, and Hallmark would go out of business." And so the celebration of Valentine's Day goes on, in varied ways. Many will break the bank buying jewelry and flowers for their beloveds. Others will celebrate in a SAD (that's Single Awareness Day) way, dining alone and binging on self-gifted chocolates. A few may even be spending this day the same way the early Romans did. But let's not go there. https://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day
  3. This is Abby from North Carolina, USA. Her kindergarten class was given an assignment for Valentine’s Day. Abby was assigned to make a poster about her family and what makes it special and then present it to her class. She chose to tell about being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, JW.org and her favorite Caleb and Sophia videos. Thank you AGAPE

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