“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The case of Robert Latimer: Justice denied

Seven years into his second-degree murder conviction, child-killer and Canadian folk-hero, Robert Latimer won day parole today. In Canada, second degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least ten years. (The jury at his trial recommended he only serve one year.) Happily the sentence was mandatory, but he still gets out three years earlier than minimum requirements. Hey, who’s counting?

Actually Canada’s disability community, their advocates and allies were counting. You see, Canadian courts tend to be easy on killers of the disabled. Seven out of ten Canadians support Robert Latimer. Seventy percent of Canadians agree with assisted suicide for the chronically ill and disabled.

Canadian citizens with disabilities and incurable illnesses needed re-assurance that we are seen as deserving of equal legal protections as able-bodied Canadians. We didn’t get it.

Disability community responds

Jim Derksen of the Council for Canadians with Disabilities told CBC News, "I worry that the public will understand this parole as some kind of sanction of what he [Robert Latimer] did."

Craig Langston, the president of the Cerebral Palsy Association of B.C., worried other parents would follow Latimer's lead: "I think it sends a scary message that parents can decide that taking a life of their child is the right thing to do," he said. "The preservation of life should be the first concern."

Justice denied

Although it was clearly established early on that the murder of Tracey Latimer was premeditated, it was doubtful any trial would convict him of first degree murder. Latimer was eventually convicted by a reluctant, sympathetic jury to second degree murder which carries a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least ten years. Now he does not even serve the minimum requirements of the lesser sentence!

Canada is increasingly hostile to its incurably ill and disabled people, like me.

Canada’s National Parole Board reversed an earlier decision to deny Latimer’s day parole application, and granted it. They consider him a low risk to society. I suppose that’s true – he has no more disabled children to put out of his misery.

Still, one wonders why we even have minimum sentences for crimes when offenders are not required to serve them. (?) Then again, why should I be surprised? That's the appalling and unjust nature of Canadian justice.

Mark Pickup

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Read Mark Pickup's blog for February 24th 2008 "I know that my Redeemer lives."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wei Jingsheng and original rights

Wei Jingsheng (58) is known as a pro-democracy and human rights activist in China. He is recognized as , perhaps, the best Chinese fighter for human rights against communist dictators of the Peoples Republic of China. Wei Jingsheng spent a total of eighteen years in prison as a dissident charged with “counter revolution propaganda and agitation.” Wei was released from jail in 1997.

In early 1998, he issued a joint statement with Amnesty International in which he spoke about universal human rights that people innately possess:

“Human rights have already been accepted globally as a standard of conduct. … Even autocratic countries, even those countries where slavery is practiced, have to pay lip service to the acceptance and respect -- of human rights principles. (This attitude) creates favourable conditions for those who fight for human rights, freedom and democracy, and gives the people who suffer persecution growing encouragement to fight for the rights which originally belong to them. … Those rights which originally belong to the people have been taken away by the oppressors.”

Wei spoke with such conviction and such certainty about “original rights” that people everywhere possess, regardless of borders or citizenship. Wei believed this so fervently, and spoke out and wrote so adamantly against the oppression of the communist People's Republic of China (PRC) that, as I said earlier, he was imprisoned by the Chinese government. Despite his many years suffering in Chinese prisons and labour camps, he continued speaking out for his belief in democracy and human rights – as though it was irrepressibly fire at the core of his being.

Wei spoke of rights that “originally belong to the people.” What rights was Wei referring to? When he used the word "originally" what did he mean?
Important questions

Do these rights come with adulthood or do children possess them too? Is there a certain age at which these rights begin or an advanced age at which they are lost? Do some people enjoy these rights (whatever they might be) while others do not? Do these “original rights” only exist in this generation or have they existed throughout the ages – regardless of what any government or court declared? Who or What gives these rights?

These are critically important questions. How we answer them will determine how we view and act toward humanity. We must answer these questions as individuals and as nations.
To whom do human rights apply?
Although Wei spoke about human rights as they apply to the Chinese people suffering under a communist regime, parallels can be drawn to “original rights” denied by oppressors to other members of the human community. These “original rights” must begin with the right to life for all other human rights are predicated upon the right to exist being protected.

We know that Wei was speaking about rights that belong to everyone because he spoke about them as global. We know that these rights belong to children because these rights were people’s “originally” – from the beginning.

What did Wei mean by using the word “originally”? When was the origin of human rights? There are clues.

The rights Wei spoke of have the similar attributes and appearance that America’s Founding Fathers envisioned and mentioned in their blazing Declaration of Independence. Therefore, we can reasonably conclude these rights date back at least to the 1700s.

Could it be that such rights might stem from the same origins that utterly convinced abolitionists slavery must end, or those who fought against child labour in England? I am alluding (and I think Wei was too) to some sort of law or standard of behaviour or conduct, defining right and wrong, written deep within humanity’s heart that was originally there.

It does not date back to our births, rather centuries. I submit that whether or not Wei was overtly aware of it, he was touching upon the same truth previous generations understood and spoke openly about, dating back into antiquity.[1]

Wei Jinsheng mentioned in his statement that “human rights have already been accepted globally as a standard of conduct.” He spoke about these human rights being innate to all humanity. Everyone accepts – deep in their heart of hearts – there is a “standard of conduct.” A standard for right and wrong. They may not admit it, but they do. In fact, we know that Wei thought this truth was self-evident because he said that people are aware these rights are originally theirs’ and that oppressors are wrongfully taking them away.
The oppressors are oppressing something that is inalienable to the oppressed. Notice these inalienable human rights are even self-evident to the oppressors who “pay lip service to the acceptance and respect – of human rights principles.” In short, the oppressors, the deniers of universal human rights, know they are doing something wrong and they try to either cover it up or diminish the wrong-doing. They may deny the wrong-doing or try to alter public perceptions of the gravity of their assault on human rights.
Original rights and abortion

In North America, the most glaring example original rights being violated and taken away is in the area of abortion. The original right to life of millions of unborn children have been systematically taken away from them, with the full endorsement of the state. If life begins at conception (and there has never really been any doubt about that) then the right to life exists from life’s origin. Civilized and compasionate societies that truly believe in universal human rights must be supportive to women in crisis pregnancies so they will give life to their babies, and never participate in abortion which is a crime against humanity.

Where do rights come from?

We are still left with a dilemma: Who or What bestows universal human rights that were originally endowed to all humanity? The Declaration of Independence says that inalienable human rights are endowed to humanity by their Creator: God. My own heavily secularized country of Canada has a Preamble to its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognizes “the Supremacy of God”—a lawgiver. It's there.

Who is this God? I mentioned America and Canada. Both counries have their legal roots in British Common Law and Common Law has Christianity at its base. This is not a matter of opinion, it is plain historical record. In 1829, Joseph Storey stated in his inaugural address as Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University, “There has never been a period in which Common Law did not recognize Christianity as laying at its foundation.”[2] Sir Francis Hale said, “Christianity is part of the Common Law of England.”[3] Christ is behind Christianity. Christianity is at the foundation of British Common Law. Rights that were originally there, as inalienable, come from God, not legislatures or Courts -- how ever Supreme they may be.
It has been a decade since Wei Jingsheng issued his human rights statement. I hope he still believes what he said and implied. Original rights still belong to everyone and the oppressors are still on the prowl.

Mark Pickup
[1] References to the Law of God written on the human heart can be found in Jeremiah 31.33, Hebrews 8.10, Romans 2.14-15, cf Romans 7.21-22.
[2] Quoted in Perry Miller, editor, The Legal Mind in America (New York: Doubleday, 1962), p.178.
[3] Historia Placitorum Coronae, ed. Sollom Emlyn (1736). Also in W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, iv, 1765.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

We have entered a New Dark Age

In Canada, abortion was legalized in 1969. Canada’s Justice Minister of the day was the so-called "Honourable” John Turner. He stood in the House of Commons at the bill’s third reading and assured a reluctant Parliament that:

“The bill has rejected the eugenic, sociological or criminal offence reasons. The bill limits the possibility of therapeutic abortion to these circumstances: It is to be performed by a medical practitioner who is supported by a therapeutic abortion committee of medical practitioners in a certified or approved hospital, and the abortion is to be performed only where the health or life of the mother is in danger.”[1]

It was an evil ruse: Once the bill became law it did not limit abortion to certain circumstances, it allowed abortions in any circumstance. There were people who warned this would happen. One written brief submitted to Canada’s Parliament two years earlier, by an adhoc group of citizens calling themselves the Emergency Organization for the Defence of Unborn children, warned that abortion acceptance would make Canada step backward in time:

"We would enter a second Dark Age where human life counted for little…When we find ourselves killing off our unwanted babies, why not our old people, our crippled, our blind and our sick? Why not all inmates of prisons and mental institutions? …"
The brief continued,

"All abortion, in fact, is human sacrifice. If not to appease our anger, it is the sacrifice of an innocent life to our own comfort and convenience, our social and economic position or perhaps a woman’s peace of mind or physical well-being… To legalize abortion is to give official sanction to it and therefore encourage it -- not only in some circumstances, but whenever someone thinks it convenient."[2]

The paper's authors were decried, their voices shouted down. Abortion advocates discounted them as alarmists and religious kooks, … but the kooks and alarmists were right. The bill did not limit abortion. It encouraged abortion. It played into the logic of human darkness.
Abortion increase wildly after legalized
In the year that Canada’s abortion bill passed into law (1969) there were 268 abortions in the entire country. The ink was barely dry on the legislation that legalized abortion and the law was being flouted. Within twelve months, the number of Canadian abortions spiked over 4,000 percent to 11,152! In 1972, the official number of abortions in Canada jumped further to 37,299.[3] The tight narrow guidelines were rarely, if ever met. The number of abortions in Canada increased dramatically and unrelentingly. (By 1982, things became so bad in Canada that abortions outnumbered live births in Canada’s largest city of Toronto![4])

I had a discussion with a retired Canadian physician whose medical practice was its peak during the 1960s and1970s. He could not remember any request for abortion ever being refused by a hospital abortion committee. He recalled that in his experience, all requests for abortions were simply rubber-stamped.

No abortion law tolerated

Canadian abortion advocates were not happy with any law or theoretical restrictions. They wanted no law, no appearance of restrictions to abortion, regardless of how ineffective or phony Canada’s legislation might have been. They wanted abortion on demand! In 1988, the abortion lobby got its wish when Canadian Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion law. Abortion advocates literally danced in the streets. Since then, there has been no law restricting abortion in Canada. It is legal to have an abortion for any reason, or no reason whatsoever, during all nine months of pregnancy.

Foreshadow to Roe v. Wade

By the time of America’s infamous 1973 Roe verses Wade abortion decision by the United States Supreme Court, Canada had had its abortion legislation for nearly three and a half years. The Canadian rate of abortion increased over 13,000 percent! All America had to do was look north to Canada, with a fraction its population, for an indication of what lay in store for the US. The human carnage that was occurring north of the 49th parallel was exactly what American “progressive” secularists had been conniving to get for years: unrestricted abortion. They knew that permissiveness toward abortion would result in wild increases in abortion rates.

Former abortionist and abortion rights activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, wrote about this in his 1983 book The Abortion Papers: Inside the Abortion Mentality.[5] He wrote that during the 1960s groups like the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) claimed, without documentation, that there were more than a million illegal abortions in America annually. Actual demographical studies on that time showed an average of 98,000 illegal abortions annually between 1940-1967. By any standard, misstating the number of abortions by 902,000 annually is an exaggeration of monumental proportions!

More than 50 million abortions have occurred in America since Roe v Wade in 1973. It is only a fraction of global abortions.

According to Paul Belien of The Brussels Journal there are now 40 million abortions performed in the world each year.[6] The Canadian kooks who spoke against abortion, forty years ago, were right.

“We would enter a second Dark Age where human life counted for little…When we find ourselves killing off our unwanted babies, why not our old people, our crippled, …”

We have entered that new New Dark Age. The next assault on the sanctity of human life is euthanasia. It has begun.
With advanced multiple sclerosis, will I be euthanasia fodder?
Mark Pickup
[1] Hansard, May 6th 1969, pp.8397-8.
[2] Taken from, Alponse de Valk, Morality and Law in Canadian Politics: The Abortion Controversy (Montreal. P.Q., Canada: Palm Publishing, 1974), p. 51. Out of print. See House of Commons Committee Proceeding minutes -- Abortion, November 8, 1967, Appendix “F,” pp.168ff..
[3] Government of Canada. Statistics Canada, Therapeutic Abortions, 1981, Minister of Supply and Services 1983, Catalogue 82-211, P.120.
[4]“Abortions outnumber live births in Toronto,” Toronto Globe and Mail, June 17th, 1983.
[5] In the mid-1979s, Dr. Nathanson renounced his abortion activities and advocacy. He became vehemently opposed to abortion and pro-Life advocate, and later became a Christian.
[6] Paul Belien, “EU to Catholic Doctors: Thou Shalt Abort,” The Brussels Journal, 27 December 2005. (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/596). Article accessed from internet 3 January 2006.

Thursday, February 7, 2008