Sacrifice is the essence of humanity

By Tom Quiner

What separates us from the animals?

It is man’s ability to love that makes us unique. When I say love, I mean love in all of its multi-faceted and wonderful complexity.

When I say love, I don’t mean sex. When I say love, I’m talking about self-giving.

The culture’s notion of love is warped. Our politics accelerate the corruption of love.

No where is this seen more than in the abortion debate. The premise is simple: if a life is inconvenient, end it.

Self-love trumps sacrificial love, even if it is at the cost of a human life.

How can a civilized society allow this? It is not easy, because it necessitates de-humanizing the human being in the womb. One common approach is to insist upon viability before bestowing human rights upon these people.

Viability is the point when a fetus can survive outside the womb. It suggests that our humanity, our very notion of human rights, is somehow linked to some subjective level of independent living.

This is dangerous.

A baby is not viable when it is born. It will die unless it is fed and nurtured by another human being.

The baby is still not viable at one year of age, or two, or three.

My late grandmother wasn’t viable. She was a diabetic dependent upon insulin to keep her alive.

My twenty-something nephew, Danny, who has Downs Syndrome isn’t viable.

Have you ever met someone with Alzheimer’s disease? I’m thinking of a very sweet man I knew named Maury who died a few years ago. Maury was reduced to the level of a child due to the ravages of this disease.

I pray it never happens to me for my wife’s sake. I pray it never happens to my beautiful wife.

And yet I witnessed something beautiful with Maury. His wife, Mary, modeled the highest form of love for her family, her friends, and her church community all to witness. It is called “agape” love, which is a sacrificial love.

Mary treated her husband with dignity even though his life was no longer “viable.” Nothing changed. She loved Maury. She didn’t complain. And her life wasn’t easy. In fact, one dark night, she was put to a severe test. As she helped Maury, she fell and broke her neck. She laid on her bathroom floor all night long, unable to move, as Maury roamed the house in childlike terror.

Love isn’t easy, is it? Why did Mary sacrifice so much for Maury even though his life was no longer viable?

It all goes back to what I shall witness tonight. This is Holy Thursday, also knows as Maundy Thursday. The Church commemorates Jesus’ extraordinary acts of agape’ love.

Do you know what Jesus did? He washed his disciples feet. The Master washed the disciples’ feet! Jesus calls on us to do the same for our friends, our families, and our community. I shall get on my knees tonight to wash someone’s feet. They shall do the same for me.

Jesus called on us to be servants, because the idea of agape love is the essence of being fully human, fully alive.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. This is the day Jesus was condemned to death and executed. He died for our sins, so we might live.

The single biggest event in the history of the world was an act of agape love.

That single act of agape love has spawned two-thousand years of sacrificial love. Without it, the world would have self-destructed long ago.

This brings me back to the issue of abortion. Unfettered abortion is doing damage we can’t see, and damage we can see.

We can’t see the psychic damage, the moral wounds, to women who have had abortions. The culture can tell them that the human fetus in their womb is simply a clump of cells. But they know. They know what they have done. And it scars.

Many women experience the same phenomenon, moral injuries, as returning soldiers who have killed in war. They are told that what they did was right and just, and yet a significant percentage can’t heal from the moral trauma.

We can’t see the psychic damage to men who have fathered a child that was aborted. Some are scarred through their ignorance and apathy. They are left with the impression that sex is about their own gratification, that there are no consequences to their actions. Others know what they have done and loathe themselves for taking the easy way out, or worse, pressuring their wife or girl friend into an abortion.

There is no upside to abortion. It is a path of destruction for every party involved.

Mankind travels a rocky road in its quest to become more civilized. By some yardsticks we’ve made progress. By others, we haven’t.

Abortion is an area where we haven’t. If the ability to love separates us from the animals, then abortion makes us less than an animal.

At least animals take care of their own.


  1. Bob Vance on March 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I find it hard to believe that a God who you describe as a loving God would create certain people different just to deprive them of a loving relationship; one that is offered to everyone else.

    You can make statements like God hates the sin but loves the sinner, but ultimately that just isn’t practical for people to practice in day to day life. When you denounce a homosexual, you are sending him a clear message that he is different in a bad way. You are ultimately condemning him his lifestyle and happiness because of you own personal beliefs. Is that what people who love each other do?

    Jesus was openly against divorce (except under rare certain circumstances) yet I never see web sites that condemn those who do it. I have never seen groups standing outside a lawyer’s office, praying to end divorce. You don’t point to the divorced man and call him a sinner, at least not to his face. You just make statements like “We’re all sinners” and you move on.

    Contrary to divorce, the church goes out of its way to “interpret” the Bible to create its anti-gay stance. Jesus never says it directly. Even the references Paul makes are extrapolated from other lessons and were never lessons against homosexuality. It is found in the Old Testament but there are over 600 other rules most don’t even know or ignore anyway.

    Either He is a loving God or He is not. The God you portray is not. Is the problem with God or with the portrayal? You are welcome to think homosexuality is a sin, and you may have been born a homosexual and chose not to act on it. But even if it is, then shouldn’t that be between the sinner and his God? Do we need another crusade?

    • theguywiththeeye on March 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Your online presence is a lot nicer than mine, Bob, but I appreciate what you’ve said here.

      What irks me is that a statement like “At least animals take care of their own.” can be made by a Republican in good conscience.

    • theguywiththeeye on March 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

      “I do think homosexual intercourse is a sin. Neither me, nor Tom, nor anyone I associate with is on a crusade to end that particular sin in the world. That is between God and the sinner. We are, however, on a crusade to stop so called “gay marriage.” It is not good for society, it is especially not good for the children.”

      If you could stop people from having homosexual intercourse, would you?

      Do you think homosexual intercourse is the type of sin that sends a soul to hell?

    • Bob Zimmerman on March 28, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Here’s the problem with saying “Jesus never directly addresses homosexual sex”: If you are a Christian, then you believe that Jesus was fully God as well as fully man. And if Jesus is fully God, then it’s not difficult to discern what God had to say about the matter in the Old Testament. If gay sex was okay with God, then he He owes Sodom and Gomorrah a big apology.

      • Bob Vance on March 28, 2013 at 6:47 pm

        I am not against religion. It offers comfort to many. But when people start to use it to punish innocent people’s lives, I feel like I must step up.

        Like Noah and Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah, the stories in the Bible are just that – stories. There is no proof that they ever happened. Back in those days, story telling was how mankind taught lessons and morality. Modern science was not there to explain things so we filled in the blanks ourselves. Do they offer good moral stories today? They can and they do for many.

        In the insurance world, a lightning strike is still described as an “Act of God”. Before Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the world believed lightning strikes were directed by God as a form of punishment. Imagine having your house burn down because of a lightning strike, only to be shamed and shunned by those around you for evoking God’s wrath. It is hard to imagine people today acting that way, but it was very serious back then. Franklin’s writings tell how that was one of the main motivations for his work in electricity. He was a modern day Myth Buster.

        There are a lot of things people believed that they don’t anymore; beliefs based in religion or because those were the beliefs at that time of those who wrote the Bible . The world being flat for example. The world being only 4000 to 6000 years old also.

        Could the Noah story have been true? You would have to believe all the animals of the world fit on a single boat. Many attempts have been made to prove this by recreating the boat. Each time it has failed. If we were all descendants of Noah, recent DNA mapping would have supported that. It does not – the first human being was traced back to a black woman in Africa thousands of years ago. Was there a flood? There is nothing to show a world-wide flood in man’s time on earth.

        What about Jonah? Can a man be swallowed by a fish and survive? They actually recovered a man, in Japan I believe, in the last few years who had been swallowed by a fish. The doctors were unable to overcome the damage caused by the fish’s stomache acids and he died a painful death.

        Also, scientists have recently began to find evidence to support the big bang theory – something the religious right argue against a lot. The test was done last July. It took them until now to confirm the results because they wanted to be sure.

        There is plenty of room for religion in today’s world. There is not room for religious intolerance. We have evolved as a people. Many superstitions have been debunked and we adjust and move on. Gays were considered deviants because the Bible told us they were. It is time to move on.

    • xPraetorius on March 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Bob, you said: “I find it hard to believe that a God who you describe as a loving God would create certain people different just to deprive them of a loving relationship; one that is offered to everyone else.”

      However, there’s no conclusive science indicating that homosexuality is anything more than a psychological condition. Oh, the “genetic cause” popped up for a while, and then there was the “gay gene,” but that all went away inconclusively.

      However, your premise is incorrect from the get go. God created MANY people who are not able to have the standard man-woman love relationship. This doesn’t mean in the slightest that they must be deprived of a COMPLETELY rewarding and fabulously rich life.

      There are 30 trillion (I counted 🙂 ) possible components to a COMPLETELY happy, rewarding, exciting, fulfilled, ecstatic life. Man-woman love is just one of them. Any one of us gets to sample, maybe, what 10? of them in his or her life.

      Furthermore, if you have God’s love you need NOTHING more to be fully happy and fulfilled.

      You may not believe that, but it’s true. He’s all you need.

      As far as your definition of a loving God is concerned…God has placed in front of you and me the ONLY thing we need for complete fulfillment and total happiness…and all we have to do is reach out and take it: His love. All we have to do is reach out and take it.

      After I reach out and take that perfect gift, no matter what happens to me thereafter, complete happiness cannot be denied me. Ever. Under any circumstances whatsoever. This gift sits in front of you too…as well as in front of every gay man or woman. In fact, this perfect gift sits in front of every man, woman and child on the face of the earth…all he or she has to do is reach out and take it.

      Sounds pretty loving to me.

      — xPraetorius

      • quinersdiner on March 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

        I agree. Very well put.

  2. Karen Quiner on March 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Bob, you make the huge mistake of thinking love is the same thing as sex. They are two different things. They are closely associated, but not the same thing.

    We do not denounce homosexuals. We don’t judge homosexuals. Just like we don’t judge women who have had abortions. If we judge, (and we all do sometimes, you do also), we are not doing what Jesus clearly taught.

    The church is against gay marriage, not against gay people. Gay people can love whoever they want to love.

    God is a loving God. Always. He loves gay people as much as heterosexuals. I suspect he might even have more tenderness to some of them because they have a huge cross to bear that I cannot possibly understand.

    I do think homosexual intercourse is a sin. Neither me, nor Tom, nor anyone I associate with is on a crusade to end that particular sin in the world. That is between God and the sinner. We are, however, on a crusade to stop so called “gay marriage.” It is not good for society, it is especially not good for the children.

    • Bob Vance on March 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      There is no valid research to suggest same-sex marriage is bad for society or bad for children. If there was it would have been brought up before the Supreme Court. Making claims on a blog somewhere or on Fox News is one thing. To make it in front of the Supreme Court, you better be sure.

      The cross homosexuals bear is having to live in a world where they and their children are judged harshly by a small group who justify it with religion. I am not saying you and Bob are bad or are hateful, but many in the anti-gay-marriage group are.

      You did not address the divorce issue. People seem to get a free pass on that one. You would have a hard time finding any professional who would deny that divorce is the number one problem facing families today. Research definitely shows that children are better off in a family with two adults than one, whether straight or gay.

      • quinersdiner on March 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        There is no valid reason to countenance so-called same-sex marriage. People with same-sex attractions have always been free to marry, as long as it was with someone of the opposite gender. By the same token, people with opposite-sex attractions have always been prevented by law from marrying someone of the same gender. As you can see, there has never been discrimination based on someone’s urges. Secular marriage, up to now, has always been based on its primary function: what is best for the children whom can only come into being out of opposite-gender unions. The current political debate has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with redefining the purpose of marriage.

        Regarding divorce, I think you make an interesting point. Our legislators weakened marriage (and paved the way for so-called gay marriage) with the passage of no-fault divorce (NFD). NFD made it easier to get out of a marriage when the feelings were no long there. It put feelings ahead of children who are gravely injured by divorce. So-called gay marriage is the natural evolution of NFD. Polygamy will be the next frontier.

      • theguywiththeeye on March 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        Excellent point about divorce. I don’t see that one getting addressed, though.

        I would like to know how gay marriage is NOT GOOD for children OR for society? Does anyone know how many homosexuals try to force themselves into a traditional lifestyle only to come out 10 years after their first child is born? I’d like to see stats on that.

      • xPraetorius on March 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

        Bob: You may be right that there is not a ton of research suggesting that gay marriage harms children, but that is likely because “gay marriage” itself is such a new phenomenon. There’s just not that much data.

        There ARE tons and tons of research indicating pretty conclusively that, by far, the best arrangement for children is a stable household headed by a married man and woman. No one really disputes this… not even enthusiastic gay marriage advocates.

        I suspect that when there is time to do more research, if it’s not quashed by political correctness, the findings regarding gay marriage will not topple the stable man-wife ménage as the best possible arrangement for children.

        You say that “The cross homosexuals bear is having to live in a world where they and their children are judged harshly by a small group who justify it with religion.”

        Bob: this simply is not true…the only condemnation “out there” is directed at those who are skeptical of all this brandy-new, shiny adulation for the previously unknown glories of the gay relationship. Who KNEW that men with men, and women with women were such GREAT and NOBLE and WONDERFUL things?!? Up until just a few years ago…nobody knew it.

        Sorry: it’s just not obvious to me that a group whose identity is so wrapped up in how they do what they do REALLY needs any special privileges. If so, then there’s simply no reason to forbid, say, “marriage” between two straight men, who want simply to adopt and get the financial benefits of marriage. Or marriage between a gay man and a lesbian who ALSO might want to take advantage of something to do with the married state. Purely and simply: there’s no good reason to forbid “marriage” between ANY adults who want to marry. Of course, that simply legislates away the very idea of marriage itself, as far as the state is concerned, at least.

        It’s important to note that the case before the Supreme Court is REALLY all about … money. Yep. That’s it. The complainant is irritated because she had to pay a big tax bill after inheriting a lot of money from the woman she lived with, and wanted to “marry.”

        Oh, SHE’ll (the complainant) pretend it’s not at ALL about the $360,000 tax refund she’d receive if she were to win…

        Love the idea, like it, indifferent about it, or hate it — let’s at LEAST be honest about it — gay marriage has NEVER been about any exalted concepts like love, or commitment, or equality, or civil rights or fairness…it’s ALWAYS been about beating the tax code. However, THAT won’t get past an American public that loves the underdog…even when that “underdog” has been in the political — and politically correct — driver’s seat for a long time now.

        Bob: Play a little thought game with me: Pretend I’m a young dude, the next-door neighbor to a very wealthy older man. He and I become friends. I help him out around the house, and we spend evenings on his porch and mine over coffee passing the time of day. He has no family and we become close friends, but that’s it. He’s straight and I’m straight. Then, as my hypothetical continues, he is diagnosed with a terminal disease. Of course, Obamacare is in full swing at this point, and health care is fully rationed, so he recognizes that he doesn’t have long to live. He calls me to his hospital bed and lets me know that he has made me the sole beneficiary of the substantial estate that he will leave behind. Deeply moved, what do I say? Easy: “Let’s get married before you die, so that when you die, I will have a considerably smaller tax bill.”

        That’s ALL gay marriage is, or ever HAS been, all about… money. It BEGAN because gay people were irritated that companies were not allowing gays to add their “partners” to their insurance policies. It has progressed to be the Supreme Court tax dodge that it is today.

        It’s all seems juuuuust a tad less noble, doesn’t it, when one realizes that gay marriage is nothing more, at this point, than an attempt at a tax dodge for men and women who prefer to have sex with other men and women.

        Again, let’s at LEAST be honest about it…if there hadn’t been the corporate insurance thing, or the tax benefits of ACTUAL marriage, then there would have been NO gay marriage movement.

        — xPraetorius

        • quinersdiner on March 28, 2013 at 9:19 pm

          You make a compelling case. Thanks for writing.

  3. […] here’s the kicker: as recently as March 28, on one of my favorite blogs, I had an exchange with a gay “marriage” proponent. I […]