“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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


My son, Dean Pickup, is a successful Canadian graphic artist who works in graphic design -- primarily in the book publishing industry. That's how he makes a living. His passion is visual arts. He just finished a pencil portrait of the Gord Downie, lead singer for the Canadian rock band, the Tragically Hip. As you may know, GordDownie is dying of brain cancer.  

Dean is auctioning his original sketch with 100% of proceeds will go to the Canadian Cancer Foundation for research to stop and cure this deadly killer. There will be prints available later, but the original goes to the highest bidder.

The portrait is below. Lyrics from Tragically Hip songs lightly interwoven throughout the drawing. Bids can be placed at Facebook page "Dean Pickup art" or link here 
Let's help this important cancer researcher fundraiser. Not only will the winner get a great piece of art, they will have helped fund brain cancer research. For an interview, contact Dean Pickup by email at dpictcom@telus.net

Mark Davis Pickup

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Alberta's anti-Christian
education minister
David Eggen
Alberta's Education Minister, David Eggen is forcing a radical anti-Christian sexual indoctrination on Christian schools under the guise of inclusion. Eggen's devious version of inclusion apparently does not include Christian education or beliefs. He is imposing graphic material promoting radical sexual agendas while policing pro-Life presentations on all schools, beginning at elementary school levels.

Most recently, minister Eggen took offence at an accurate high school presentation comparing abortion to the holocaust. He called the presentation inaccurate but failed to produce the alleged inaccuracies. The comparison of abortion to the Nazi holocaust was apt and I suspect that's why he took offence. He's part of the Alberta socialist government, the New Democratic Party (NDP), that has long supported abortion. So-called progressives don't like comparing abortion to the holocaust. Why? The similarities are too striking: The Nazis did not consider Jews as persons, Canada doesn't consider prenatal life to be persons (based on zero scientific evidence); The Nazis systematically killed Jews they didn't want in gas chambers, Canada systematically kills unwanted preborn babies in abortion clinics. The comparison may be offensive to abortion supporters, but it is apt. If the shoe fits ...

How are biblical Christians to respond to such egregious assaults on their constitutional religious freedom of religion, thought, opinion, belief and their expression guaranteed in section 2 of Canada's Charter of Freedoms? An example is the following is a press release issued by the Canadian Christian Reformed pro-Life Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) regarding the Alberta hostility toward Christian education. 



April 12, 2017

Christian Advocacy Group Welcomes Province-wide Investigation of Third Party Influences in Alberta Schools 

EDMONTON – The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada applauds the call for an inquiry into what students of Alberta schools are exposed to. “The sad truth is that Alberta’s Ministry of Education is the party most guilty of promoting propaganda in provincial schools,” commented ARPA Canada’s Executive Director Mark Penninga.

Accessing Information not Myths (AIM), an Alberta-based activist group, is calling for a province-wide investigation in light of a presentation made about abortion in a Roman Catholic school in Red Deer. Education Minister David Eggen was quick to chime in, expressing regret that the province’s “excellent filters didn’t catch something like this.” Eggen added, “I think it’s a good reminder to everybody to be vigilant and to ensure this sort of hateful propaganda doesn’t infiltrate our schools.”

ARPA Canada notes that an inquiry into what is being taught to, and even forced on, Alberta students is exactly what ARPA Canada has advocated for, though Minister Eggen has been most unreceptive.

“We have been working with hundreds of Albertans over the past year who are concerned about how the Minister of Education has been forcing their schools to promote a radical gender ideology that is unscientific, full of misinformation and harmful,” explained Penninga. “Instead of showing even an ounce of regard for these concerned parents, the Minister ploughed ahead with his agenda and his secretive efforts to revamp the entire education system using “experts” that he refuses to make public.”

As reporter Ted Byfield has exposed, Minister Eggen refuses to disclose crucial information about who is behind what even he calls the most sweeping reform of the school curriculum ever undertaken in the province. Freedom of Information requests are also denied. The minister absolutely refuses to share the names of the 300-400 “experts” who are making these radical changes.

“It doesn’t stop there,” Penninga continues, “Just weeks ago the blog Informed Albertans detailed how the Alberta government is funding and promoting a website that delivers sexually graphic content, including images of naked men and recommendations for how to use BDSM products. This sexually abusive and pornographic content was linked to on the Alberta GSA Network website to ‘help K-12 children with their Gay-Straight Alliance.’” added Penninga.

“It is ironic that Minister Eggen and AIM call the pro-life presentation hateful and inaccurate,” Penninga added. “No evidence is produced to support this. The fact is that Canada’s Criminal Code definition of a human being is both hateful and inaccurate. The Criminal Code says that a child becomes a human being only when it has completely left its mother. The sciences unequivocally prove that human life starts at conception. If the Minister wants the scientific facts taught in Alberta schools, we welcome it, because it would only further the pro-life cause,” Penninga concluded.

ARPA Canada lawyer André Schutten also noted that the Minister’s comments are constitutionally inappropriate. “This is not the first time Minister Eggen seems to think he stands above the Canadian constitution,” Schutten noted. “The Charter of Rights protects our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, religion, and association. The young lady at the centre of this controversy was delivering a factual and respectful presentation, at the request of the school. Mr. Eggen and the activists at AIM may have different views about abortion, but that does not give them the right to censor all views they don’t like.”

Schutten went further. “The Charter exists to protect citizens from the heavy hand of the state. What Mr. Eggen is implying here – that he can snuff out a pro-life presentation like this – is borderline illegal. If he continues in this direction he can expect court challenges from our organization and others like it.”

Interview Requests:

For further comment, contact Hannah Sikkema, media facilitator at 1-866-691-2772, ext. 1 or Hannah@ARPACanada.ca.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


In 2015, Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the nation’s laws against assisted suicide.  It sent shock waves across the country: People opposed to legalisation of assisted suicide were appalled the high court would do such a thing; advocates of assisted suicide were shocked that the court went so far – even beyond their fondest dreams. The foundation beneath the high court’s ruling was the new high ideal of personal autonomy. Apparently, in Canada, people now have a right to assisted suicide if they have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”

The Supreme Court said that self-defined grievous and irremediable medical condition ”does not require the patient to undertake treatments that are not acceptable to the individual.” Everything hinges on the patient’s perceptions and feelings  -- and they need not take treatments they don’t like. 

Something significant happened to shake the historical taboo of killing the sick and disabled. More than 700 years of Common Law, that discouraged, prohibited or otherwise punished assisting someone’s suicide was brushed aside by one judicial decree.[1] How did this happen?

If the Supreme Court was to rule in favour of assisted suicide they had to confront a problem: The Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms – which acts as a constitution in Canada – states in Section 7 that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person …”. The judges’ had to suppress the ‘right to life’ and accentuate a false notion of liberty and emphasise ‘security of the person’. The problem with trying to suppress the right to life is that all other rights depend upon it.  Liberty and security of the person become tenuous if the right to life is not guaranteed. Self-destruction eliminates liberty and assisting in a suicide is license, not liberty. 

The Supremes paid obligatory but shallow homage to the concept of the sanctity of human life, then discounted the right to life in one paragraph. They wrote:

“…[W]e do not agree that the existential formulation of the right to life requires an absolute prohibition on assistance in dying, or that individuals cannot “waive” their right to life. This would create a “duty to live”, rather than a “right to life”, . . . The sanctity of life is one of our most fundamental societal values. Section 7 [of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms] is rooted in a profound respect for the value of human life. But Section 7 also encompasses life, liberty and security of the person during the passage to death. It is for this reason that the sanctity of life “is no longer seen to require all human life be preserved at all costs.”

Continuing in their cleaver distortion, the judges wrote:

“Underlying both these rights [liberty and security of the person] is a concern for the protection of individual autonomy and dignity.”  I do not believe the architects of the Canadian Charter envisioned a vehicle to autonomy and dignity included a right to suicide.  The right to death is not mentioned in the Charter – the right to life is.  Do you see how they were twisting things?  They went on to say “The law has long protected patient autonomy in medical decision making.” Granted, but Canadian law has only recently sanctioned medical killing by assisted suicide or euthanasia.  

The dramatic departure from legal and moral traditions went from the court to the Canadian Parliament and assisted suicide became legal in June 2016. The legislation (bill C-14) was enacted under the euphemistic and deceptive title “medical assistance in dying”.  I used the words 'deceptive' because those who are eligible for ‘medical assistance in dying’ do not have to be dying.  The odious new law defines grievous and irremediable medical conditions eligible for medical killing:

“A person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition only if they meet all of the following criteria:

(a) they have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability;
(b) they are in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capacity;
(c)  that illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and cannot be relieved under circumstances they consider acceptable; and
(d) their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all their medical circumstances, without a prognosis having been made as to the specific length of time that they have remaining.”

In the first 6 months after the law passed, at least 744 Canadians received “medical assistance in dying”. There’s that deceptive euphemism again! Not all recipients were dying. According to Canadian reporter, Graham Slaughter, (what an apt name!) most of the patients had cancer, ALS or multiple sclerosis.[2] Multiple sclerosis is rarely terminal. Life expectancy for people with MS is only 7 years shorter than normal life expectancy. I have had MS for over 32 years. I use an electric wheelchair but I’m hardly dying. Medical assistance in dying becomes medical killing.

It should be noted that in 2012 Canada’s Parliament gave UNANIMOUS support to the idea of developing a National Suicide Prevention Strategy. In 2016 they legalised assisted suicide for people who are sick or disabled. So let me get this straight: Healthy and abled-bodied Canadians who become suicidal get suicide prevention support, sick and disabled suicidal Canadians get help killing themselves? Yup.

Disability advocates have fought to advance equality and inclusion for over 40 years. Canada’s assisted suicide legislation caused a severe setback to those goals. This did not go unnoticed in America. Many American disability groups oppose legalisation of assisted suicide, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and Not Dead Yet, just to mention a few. Diane Coleman and Stephen Drake of Not Dead Yet commented on the Canada’s Supreme Court Decision:

“The Canadian Supreme Court ruling openly targets people with non-terminal disabilities … The Canadian high court’s holding is a shockingly blatant mandate of lethal discrimination based on disability and should be rejected outright by any human society.” [4]

Is the Canadian Supreme Court decision a harbinger of things to come across America? Medically assisted suicide (MAS) has been legalised in 6 states under various parameters. Someone may say that the disabled are not eligible for MAS in most states. Proponents of MAS refuse to acknowledge almost all the people dying under these laws are disabled.

Not Dead Yet asserts “assisted suicide violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by establishing a system of unlawful discrimination whereby most suicidal people, those who reveal their intentions, receive suicide prevention services, while old, ill and disabled people receive suicide assistance instead.” They’re right.  

Old prejudices against the disabled have appeared again under the guise of death with dignity.  Can you hear a chorus calling out from a multitude of disabled people, “Must we die to find dignity?” I hope not.  

If there is dignity to be found, it is found in life.

[1] Paraphrase of Chief Justice William Rehnquist on assisted suicide, Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S.702(1997). http://www1.law.umkc.edu/academic/Spring2011/assignments/Washington%20v%20Glucksberg.pdf . Canadian and American law and legal traditions have deep roots in British Common Law, which dates back to the Middle Ages.

[2] Graham Slaughter, “At least 744 assisted deaths in Canada since law passed: CTV News analysis,” CTVNews.ca, 28 December 2016 (http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/at-least-744-assisted-deaths-in-canada-since-law-passed-ctv-news-analysis-1.3220382)

[4] Diane Coleman and Stephen Drake, “Statement of Not Dead Yet (USA) to Canadian Panel on Carter Case Decision”, 14 October 2015, (http://notdeadyet.org/statement-of-not-dead-yet-usa-to-canadian-panel-on-carter-case-decision)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Someone asked if it bothers me always losing. After all, in my short career, I worked to improve employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities ... not much improved and I was forced from the workforce at 38 years of age because of disability.  I worked to stop abortion ... the slaughter continues unabated. I've fought against euthanasia and the assisted suicides of the sick at disabled ... Canada has legalised assisted suicide for the sick and disabled. I've advocated for disability inclusion ... assisted suicide legislation put that ideal back 40 years.

Yes, by worldly standards I am a loser, but I feel at rest with God. I would rather lose for things that are right than win with things that are wrong. Christ is enough for me. -- Mark

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Canada's Cardinal Collins has spoken to politicians and legislators about protecting conscience rights for doctors whose moral code and/or religious beliefs forbid them from killing people or being complicit in assisted suicides of Canada's sick and disabled. (See video below.)

Whatever happened to FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS (s-2) "guaranteed" in the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS?: "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion; b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, ..." Apparently, it doesn't really apply to everyone. 

Monday, March 27, 2017


True compassion never sacrifices one life for the wants or happiness of another. A doctor who cannot see the humanity of both and the right of both to live their lives is no longer worthy of his title. Doctors who kill cease to be doctors. Below is a video of one such doctor, Dennis Christensen, talking about how he helped a woman while sifting through the arms, legs, skull and other parts of a baby he just dismembered. Dr. Christensen does an estimated 3,000 abortions a year. That's more than eight killings a day, if he worked 7 days a week, 365 days a year. He is a mass murderer by any reasonable standard. 

Real doctors never kill. This is a truth that dates back to antiquity. See what Hippocrates (460-370) had to say about this.

All life has equal value and the right to be here. What level of barbarism have we sunk to when we no longer see the humanity of a human. 


Friday, March 24, 2017


The post below is taken directly from the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance newsletter for March 4th, 2017. 

On March 4, 2017, the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, in partnership with the Catholic Medical Guilds of Wisconsin, held the "Dignity at the End of Life: From Suffering to Hope" Conference in Fitchburg, Wisconsin (near Madison). The conference was a great success and feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

On March 4, 2017, the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, in partnership with the Catholic Medical Guilds of Wisconsin, held the "Dignity at the End of Life: From Suffering to Hope" Conference in Fitchburg, Wisconsin (near Madison). The conference was a great success and feedback from conference attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

Mark Davis Pickup powerfully detailed his journey through grief to meaning since his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) 33 years ago. A conference participant told us that he had attended many conferences and talks over the years, but Mark Pickup was the best he had ever heard. Others praised Mark as inspiring, articulate, and deeply insightful. 
Julie Grimstad shared excellent information about patient advocacy, advance directives for healthcare, and POLST(Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment), as well as life-threatening issues facing patients in various healthcare settings. She also encouraged attendees to initiate a Befrienders group--a volunteer effort to ease loneliness among the elderly--in one's church or community. Conference attendees commented on how useful and informative Julie's presentation was.

Dr. Byron Calhoun, expert in Perinatology, a branch of obstetrics concerned with the care of mother and fetus and the handling of high-risk pregnancies, spoke about perinatal hospice. Perinatal hospice is part of the care for a baby with a prenatal diagnosis of a terminal condition. Dr. Calhoun offered a model of compassion and true caring for mother and child as opposed to the more common solution offered--abortion. The primary focus of perinatal hospice is on the family--not the baby's diagnosis. The family is placed in the center of the care and there is a continuum of support from diagnosis, through the child's death and the family's grieving process.

Cristen M. Krebs, DNP, ANP-BC, Catholic Hospice Founder/Executive Director, with twenty years of end-of-life care experience, illuminated the history and current trends in hospice. Attendees appreciated her humor and expertise as she shared a wealth of information about palliative care and hospice.

Ed and Nan Weber, founders of Holy Family Ministry and Loreto on the Plains Personal Care Home, an outreach of that ministry, shared how they were inspired by God to build and manage Loreto on the Plains. Loreto is a loving home for the sick and dying elderly. Ed and Nan explained how residents of Loreto are treated as valued members of a family, as indispensable lives worthy of the time, money and materials needed for them to live in comfort, protected from harm. It is Nan and Ed's hope that others will hear about Loreto on the Plains and be inspired to care for the sick and aged in their own homes or start care homes in their communities.

Ramon Luzarraga, Catholic Moral Theologian, spoke to the meaning in suffering. The conference concluded after his powerful and beautiful presentation, which left attendees with rich content for deep reflection.

Conference videos will be announced when available. For more information about the Pro-Life Healthcare Alliance, visit their webpage here https://www.prolifehealthcare.org

Monday, March 20, 2017


I have heard it said that if a sense of order and discipline is not established in a child's life before the age of seven, he is lost. I do not know where that pearl of parenting wisdom came from and I'm not even sure I believe the age part - but I think I understand the point that was being made.

Children need the security of consistent boundaries for behaviour to be established early in their lives in order for them to thrive. I'm not sure how the seven-year age limit came into the equation; perhaps it was simply an exaggeration to illustrate the fact that every child needs a sense of order. Fair enough. On that point, I hope most reasonable people agree.

I firmly believe that parents' must establish and maintain boundaries for proper moral behaviour - boundaries within which they themselves abide. Those boundaries must be consistent with Biblical Christian teaching. Why? Because that is the best way to live.

I refuse to accept that a child is ever beyond the pale of redemption because of bad circumstances, poor upbringing or even cruelty. If I did accept such an idea, the redemptive message of Christianity would ring hollow.

The Bible tells us that children are a gift and a heritage from God (Psalm 127.3). Parents do not own their children - they are entrusted with their children's physical, emotional and spiritual care. God calls parents to bring their children up in the way of the Lord. 

It is crucial that parents introduce their children, at the earliest age, to the mysteries of Christian faith and the reality of a personal relationship with Christ. Wholesome family life -- with Christ at its center -- can establish an interior spiritual life that is receptive to God's leading throughout a lifetime. I can personally attest to this truth. I was born into the gentle nurture of a Christian home. My parents imparted to me essential Christian truths from my earliest years. Although I turned away from the Christian faith as a young man, in my late twenties I returned to Christianity with a faith that was alive and rooted in a personal relationship with Christ. That faith has served me well throughout many storms of life (and there have been some nasty and frightening storms).

Marriage and family life under God are the ideal setting to build spiritual character for children. I know this because that is where God put his own Son. The Holy Family was the ideal place to nurture the Christ child.

A child reared under the love and nurture of godly parents is likely to thrive. Granted, it is not a guarantee that children will grow up to love and serve God. Worldly influences can tempt them away for a time, but the hounds of heavwen are relentless.  Chances are best that such children will return to be followers of Christ if their parents are their example. Children raised in a Christian home are more likely desire to serve rather than be served. They are more likely to view their lives in terms of seeking a higher calling.

I know forces contrary to Christian faith are everywhere and, quite frankly, may seem overwhelming. Parents must not lose heart. (That is exactly what the evil one wants.) Christian parents must continue teaching the faith and Biblical truth to their children, knowing their church communities and Christian education support them.

The love and hope of vibrant and living Christian faith stands in stark contrast to the chaos found in a godless world-view where materialism, consumption and temporary self-gratification often triumph over human dignity and individual worth.

In the midst of worldly consumption, Christ calls people to something different, something greater, something other-centred rather than self-centred. Young people who have been taught to listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit can discover the reason for which they were born. When this happens, they will discover a meaning and purpose to their lives that far outstrips anything the world can offer.

We desperately need a generation of young visionaries who are unafraid of being radicals for the kingdom of God and are prepared to dedicate their lives to furthering that kingdom on earth, even against great opposition. Young people who are on fire for God can change the world and even the course of history for the better. Parents can not wish for any greater legacy.