“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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taking the love of Christ to India's blind children

A few years ago I was contacted by Dr. Shantijai Khristmukti in the Gujarat region of India. Dr. Khristmukti heads a ministry for blind children and adults called The Bartimai Centre for the Blind. Apparently Dr. Khristmuki came across the HumanLifeMatters (HLM) website and sent an email to explore possibilities of an HLM affiliation in India with their outreach out to people with blindness.
Much like North America's people with disabilities, the disabled of India tend to occupy the very bottom of the social classes. The difference is that in India, poverty exists on a completely different scale to North America that makes our poor look fortunate in comparison.

HumanLifeMatters was struggling to establish itself locally in Edmonton (Canada) and was in no position to consider branching out – let alone starting an international HLM affiliate in one of the poorest regions in the world. Perhaps we were simply too timid to step out in faith. (?)

The irony is that HumanLifeMatters existed in one of the wealthiest provinces (Alberta) in the wealthy country of Canada. Despite this, we could not find Christians to catch an ongoing commitment to the HLM vision for outreach to people with disabilities and bring them into our churches. HumanLifeMatters folded in 2007.

I attribute much of HLM’s failure to my own lack of leadership, inadequate vision and spiritual timidity. The Bartimai Centre for the Blind, however, not only continues but seeks to expand into new areas. Dr. Kristmuki would like expand the ministry’s work in the villages of Gujarat state where they will get positive support. He would also like to hire professional trained staff comprised of a nurse, Field worker, Driver and Supervisor. The team will visit at least 20 villages a week.

Dr. Kristmuki explained, “Initially we will work for 20 villages and later extend up to 60 villages. The proposed budget for all these activities and personnel will be $3,500 – pa" [per annum]. It’s a modest amount of financial support with dramatic and lifelong dividends.
Dr. Kristmuki’s gigantic Christian faith, vision and daring serves as an indictment to the likes of a weak-kneed Christian like me.

This Christmas, Dr. Khristmuki sent me and email directing me to their website. I was/am in awe. Go to the following video link to see this Christian ministry to the Blind of India:
http://bartimai.googlepages.com/video.htm , and more specifically view the 12 minute video about the work of Bartimai Centre for the Blind at http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=1d0119be83a57d690b58

Why specifically the blind in India?

Dr. Kristmuki explained in his video that there are 40-million blind people in the world of which 25% are in India. Ten percentage of India’s population have significant visual impairment. Many are children who are either born blind or develop blindness in the early years of their lives. A major portion of India's blind children are found in in villages in the lower strata of society: The causes of their blindness vary from malnutrition to lack of medical care, superstition, poverty and negligence. By providing multivitamins, vitamin A and other preventive measures to pregnant women and children under five years, the percentage of early blindness can be reduced considerably.

Dr. Kristmuki observes that “many of these children have parents who are blind, single, divorced or in other ways cannot provide for their growth, nurture and education. We have seen many children die as parents are unable take care of their blind child.”
Holistic care
The Bartimai Centre for the Blind offers holistic care for these blind children, providing for their physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Although it is a Christian ministry, they accept children from other religions. They also provide services to visually impaired and blind adults.

The mission of the Bartimai Centre for the Blind is:

- To collect information on Visually Impaired Persons children and adults in any part of Gujarat.
-To provide living hope to blind children.
- To provide facilities for Socio-Economic development of women and blind children in urban and rural settlements.
- To impart in their Education, Cultural and Economical development, particularly those that are in rural areas.
- To help in prevention and eradication of blindness in early childhood through proper guidance and training.
- To arrange training programs on Gender issues and their upliftment and also visually blind children.
- To train blind people for becoming self-employed persons.
- Our aim is to achieve these objectives so that blind people and children can live happily and independently with self-respect and earn a livelihood.

This Christian ministry clearly cuts close to the heart of Christ. If you are interested in supporting the work of the Bartimai Centre for the Blind, contact Dr. Kristmuki at skblind@icenet.net .

Mark Pickup

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Planned Parenthood's "Choice on Earth" cards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — "Planned Parenthood's 'Choice on Earth' holiday cards are its latest assault on Christianity," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American life League. "By changing the word 'peace' to 'choice', Planned Parenthood is effectively implying that Mary should have considered aborting Jesus."

American Life League's latest video report exposes Planned Parenthood's continued assault on Christianity. The report goes from 'Choice on Earth' holiday cards to Planned Parenthood's involvement in a 1973 comic book that depicts a sacrilegious rendition of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman posing as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"King Herod sent soldiers out to slaughter babies because he wanted to kill Jesus," said Sedlak. "Two thousand years later, Planned Parenthood is still doing all it can to kill babies. That is what their motto 'Choice on Earth' really means."

"Planned Parenthood continues to flaunt its anti-God, secular humanist agenda in its products and in our schools," Sedlak concluded. "It is time for all Americans to stay away from this organization."

Monday, December 17, 2007

To read my latest blog "The truth and immensity of the Incarnation", go to

Mark Pickup

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Read my latest blog "What my grandchildren taught me on a bitterly cold day."


Friday, December 7, 2007

More about Robert and Tracey Latimer (the real story)

My last blog entry (See below) was about Robert Latimer's recent bid for day parole of his second degree murder conviction of the 1993 killing his disabled daughter Tracey. I wrote about Tracey's humanity not her disability and this was in sharp contrast to much of Canada's mainstream media coverage which portrayed her life as one continuous, unmitigated disaster. Quite simply, that portrayal of Tracey Latimer is incorrect. I set about to let readers know that contrary to public perception, Tracey Latimer was a happy child.

I have been asked where I got my information? My primary source of information was the transcripts of court proceedings of Robert Latimer's second trial. My information was from sources who testified under oath.

At the time of Latimer's 2001 appeal of his conviction to Canada's Supreme Court, I was approached by the American publication The Human Life Review (New York) to write an article about the Latimer case. I wrote about Robert Latimer's premeditation, the actual murder, his cover-up of information, destruction of evidence, lies, the first and second trials, public and jury sympathy, his earlier rape trial, media suppression of information about Tracey's humanity, etc.

This 2001 Human Life Review article is available upon request by emailing me at MarkPickup@shaw.ca. It is heavily referenced with sixty citations.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

About Robert Latimer being denied day-parole

After seven years in prison for murdering his disabled daughter, Robert Latimer applied for day-parole. On December 5th 2007, his application was denied. Parole Board panel member Kelly-Ann Speck told Latimer, "We were left with the feeling you have not developed the kind of sufficient insight and understanding of you actions,".

Robert Latimer remains defiant and unapologetic for gassing his 12 year old daughter Tracey to death in 1993. She had cerebral palsy. He told the panel, "I still don't feel guilty because I still feel it was the best thing to do." A majority of Canadians (70%) support Latimer. Many believe he should not have been charged with a crime in the first place and many other Canadians believe he did a favour for his daughter by killing her. He has become a Canadian folk hero.
Inaccuracies about Tracey's life
Since the beginning of this case, the media has misrepresented the humanity of Tracey Latimer.
On December 6th 2007, Victoria Times Colonist reporter, Rob Shaw, reported about the parole Board denial of the previous day. He wrote that Tracey was a "bed-bound quadrplegic who could not speak or feed herself ...". She was not bed-bound! Tracey Latimer went to to a developmental centre five days a week for a regular school day. There were discussions about integrating her into the regular school system. From Monday-Friday Tracey traveled to school on a regular school bus and returned home at the end of each school day on the same bus as her siblings and other children -- right up to the Friday before she was killed.
Tracey was not in constant pain as has been widely reported throughout the years. That assertion is simply not true. At Robert Latimer's trial it was clearly established that her pain was intermittent. Despite her cerebral palsy and the various trials she faced, Tracey Latimer was a happy child as the court transcripts clearly show. She loved music, sleigh rides, television, games, parties, the circus, sleepovers and pets. Tracey adored her family and her face would brighten at the very sight of them. She did not have the mental capacity of a four month old infant -- another inaccuracy widely reported. That was a grossly inaccurate speculation thrown out to the court by a family practitioner: Her life contradicted this assertion, her natural childhood joie be vivre proved him wrong and said something else.
Tracey Latimer had something to bring to the world. At one point during the court proceedings, her mother Laura acknowledged that Tracey brought beauty to their lives. She reminisced, "Tracey enriched our lives. Tracey made us better people, she --Tracey taught us how to love."
Apparently her father forgot what she taught. Tracey's parents were tired, Bob's patience had run out, there was a new baby in the family. It was time to move on with life. Robert Latimer put Tracey out of his misery.
Robert Latimer/Susan Smith
It's curious that with the media's help, Robert Latimer became a Canbadian folk hero. A year after Robert Latimer murdered his daughter, American Susan Smith put her car into a South Carolina lake, drowning her two little boys, Alex and Michael. Why is Susan Smith universally reviled to this day for killing her children while Robert Latimer became a folk hero after killing his child? The difference is this: Susan Smith killed two healthy children while Robert Latimer killed one disabled child. Tracey Latimer was not cute; Michael and Alex Smith were adorable. What should we make of the dramatic difference in public response and attitudes? Are disabled children worth less than healthy children? Would Robert Latimer be a folk hero and enjoy the support of a majority of Canadians if Tracey had been a healthy child? No, I don't think so.

Cold winds of public opinion
Robert Latimer was returned to his jail cell yesterday but his case served to set new public sympathy for so-called mercy-killers in Canada. Today, a public opinion survey was conducted by Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper about the Parole Board's decision to deny Robert Latimer day-parole. More than 80% of respondents disagree with the parole Board's decision. They think he should been given it. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association's Allan Borovoy said the government of Canada should step in and pardon Latimer. Lawyer Borovoy calls the imprisonment of Robert Latimer a "national disgrace."

It's a scary time to be disabled (as I am). Apparently it's a disgrace to imprison the killer of a person with a disability. We are held in low public opinion. The winds of public opinion blow colder than a Canadian winter for the disabled of Canada.
Mark Pickup

Read my latest blog "Joy To The World!" at:


Monday, December 3, 2007


This blog entry is adapted from an article by Mark Davis Pickup published in the Human Life Review (New York), Winter 2004

In 1982, “Baby Doe” was born in Bloomington, Indiana. The baby had Down’s syndrome and a defect of its oesophagus that needed corrective surgery before the child could drink from a bottle. The surgical procedure was considered routine for children born with the condition known as trachea-oesophageal fistula. Because Baby Doe had Down’s syndrome, the parents decided to refuse the surgery and allow the wee child to starve to death. When the situation became public, several couples offered to adopt Baby Doe and even pay for the surgery: But the parents, their doctors and an Indiana Court said they had a right refuse medical treatment in order to starve the baby. That’s exactly what happened, and Baby Doe died seven days after being born.

Decent people across America (and the world) were appalled at this horrible injustice – including President Ronald Reagan. The next year the President wrote an article for the Human Life Review entitled "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" in which he dealt directly with his horror at the case of Baby Doe. It was President Reagan’s correct view that abortion concerns every person because all humanity is interdependent. To illustrate this point, the President quoted English poet and divine, John Donne (1572-1631) who wrote, “… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; ….” This is part of Donne’s 17th famous Meditation from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1623). Those words follow the immortal line, “No man is an island entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; ….” The point being that humanity’s interdependence makes the welfare of one person the concern of all people. America is not made up of 300-million little islands entire unto themselves. Words like “family,” “citizen, “community,” “neighbor,” and even the United States of America attest to human interdependence. And that human interdependence included disabled and helpless Baby Doe.

The President continued:

“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life – the unborn – without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington because the child had Down’s syndrome.”

The great man was deeply troubled. He said, “The real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life?” He reminded readers that America was founded by men and women “who shared a vision of the value of each and every individual.” The President said that this vision was clearly evident from the beginning with those towering words of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The President lamented: “Regrettably, we live in a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value. Some have said that only those individuals with “consciousness of self” are human beings.” He continued:

“Obviously, some influential people want to deny that every human life has intrinsic, sacred worth. They insist that a member of the human race must have certain qualities before they accord him or her status as a human being.”

With clarity and conviction President Reagan held that an important ingredient to America’s future was a return to acceptance of the sanctity of human life ethic. The great statesman concluded his essay by stating,

“My Administration is dedicated to preserving America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.’

His words carried an ominous tone for the future regarding definitions of worthy life of “some influential people” that would discount the intrinsic value of the cognitively disabled. Little did he know that a decade later he himself would join this group of people whose intrinsic value was/is being discounted.

One grey November day

It was a dreary, grey day in November of 1994 that Ronald Reagan told the American people he had Alzheimer’s disease. Friends and foes alike were stunned at the news. It was a fate one would not wish on their worst enemy! With his irrepressible optimism, class, courage and dignity the former President expressed his love of America and gratitude to the American people for allowing him to serve as their President. Rather than focus on himself, Mr. Reagan expressed concern about public awareness of this awful disease of Alzheimer’s which afflicts millions of Americans. He called upon the goodness of Americans to support those families enduring the painful journey of losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s disease. Of his beloved wife Nancy, Ronald Reagan lamented, “I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.” His faith in her was well placed: Throughout their soul-wrenching journey with Alzheimer’s disease, Mrs. Reagan has remained by him -- just as he knew she would be.

By extension from his own situation, I believe that Ronald Reagan was appealing to the best part of America to rally around families of people with profound disabilities in an embrace of a community of comfort and affirmation. Ronald Reagan finished his sad announcement to the American people by saying,

“I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you my friends. May God always bless you.”
With those eloquent words, America’s 40th President retired from public scrutiny: the steady decline of Alzheimer’s disease awaited him.

Ronald Reagan’s imagery of entering the sunset of his life was historically poignant. In 1787, a Constitutional Convention assembled in Philadelphia to make a Constitution defining how America would govern itself. It was no easy task. There was much division and heated debate, but eventually the Convention members had an instrument they could support. As the last members were signing the constitutional document, Benjamin Franklin looked toward the President’s chair. At the back was a painting of a sunrise. Doctor Franklin commented to a few members near him that painters often find it challenging in their art to differentiate a rising from a setting sun. Then Benjamin Franklin said:

“I have often and often, in the course of the sessions, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looking at that behind the President, without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now at length, I have the happiness to know, that it is a rising, and not a setting sun.”[1]

One hundred and ninety six years later Ronald Reagan spoke of the setting sun of his own life, and I worried. I worry that the analogy the great wordsmith chose for himself will apply to the greatness of America too. As the President would say if he could, the sun will set—perhaps never to rise again—if her people abandon the self-evident truth and founding principle: the sanctity of all human life

Missing the clarion call and its disastrous implications

Unfortunately, a significant segment of American society did not respond to Ronald Reagan’s clarion call. It has been a quarter of a century since Ronald Reagan wrote his article for the Human Life Review: America has yet to excise the malignancy of Roe versus Wade. That dreadful Supreme Court decision not only opened Hell’s gates wide to abortion on demand across the land, just as insidiously, it began to mutate the public mindset to consider what had previously been unthinkable: Killing human beings who are inconvenient, burdensome, unloved, despairing or whose disabilities fall below an arbitrary level of acceptability. Roe versus Wade was not just pernicious, it was pervasive. Evil advances in increments and lies grease the skids.

Lies of the heart

The worst lies are lies of the heart — they rot the souls of men and nations.

We now know that the 1973 Roe versus Wade Supreme Court abortion decision that struck down all state laws restricting abortion, was based on a lie. Jane Roe was actually Norma McCorvey and her pregnancy resulted from romance not gang rape, as was claimed at the time. In the years that followed Roe versus Wade, McCorvey experienced a dramatic change of heart, and moral conviction that often follows Christian conversion. For quite some time, McCorvey has been seeking to set the record straight. She has stated: “All I did was lie about how I got pregnant. I was having an affair. It all started out as a little lie. I said what I needed to say. But, my little lie grew and grew and became more horrible with each telling."[2]

How the public mindset for abortion changed
Abortion advocates had been preparing the public to accept the necessity of abortion for years before the High Court’s decision. They effectively conjured graphic metaphors of rusty coat-hangers and back-alleys and said that thousands upon thousands of women died each year at the unscrupulous hands of criminal abortionists. U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Coop, finally set the record straight on this fiction:

“Undocumented statements, subsequently acknowledged as unfounded in fact, were endlessly repeated until they acquired a ring of truth. Sincere and concerned people were disturbed; they were purposely misled. Thousands of women were said to be dying each year at the hands of criminal abortionists. Some estimated 10,000 women died each year of illegal abortion – others said 5,000. The United States Public Health Service, however, reported from all abortions legal and illegal, 189 deaths in 1966, 160 deaths in 1967.”[3]

According to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, the year before Roe Versus Wade (1972) there were 39 women who died from illegal abortions in America.[4] Suffice to say that abortion advocates SLIGHTLY inflated the numbers to falsely shock the public into thinking there was a virtual holocaust of desperate women dying in back-alleys of cities across America. As regrettable as the 189, 160, 39 or even one death were, the oft quoted thousands upon thousand of women dying each year in America from botched abortions was simply not true. One thing is certain, after the 1973 Supreme Court abortion decision, an unfathomable holocaust of children began, the likes nobody could have imagined, even in their darkest nightmares! For millions of babies, wombs became killing fields! Did anybody actually believe the killing, once unleashed, would remain confined there?

By the time that the Baby Doe case became public in 1982, withholding medical treatment, nutrition and hydration from Down’s Syndrome newborns had become routine medical practice. In the December 1982 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a Dr. Norman Fost, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, wrote, “It is common in the United States to withhold routine surgery and medical care from infants with Down’s syndrome for the explicit purpose of hastening death.”

Newborns with other handicaps receive similar treatment as was noted by a 1983 report of the President’s Commission for the Ethical Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine.[5] In subsequent years, more incremental advances of evil could be noticed in euthanasia and assisted suicide acceptance.

Promoting death from behind the respected robes of academe

In 1998, Australian bioethicist Peter Singer was appointed Decamp Professor at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values. With the authority, respect and prestige of Princeton University behind him, Singer contends there are two crucial attributes necessary to being a person regardless of species: rationality and self-consciousness. By these criteria, persons include whales, monkeys, dogs, pigs, cattle, and so on. But according to this criterion, Ronald Reagan’s advanced Alzheimer’s disease disqualified the former American President from the equal moral worth of a pig or a dog.

In his ground-breaking book CULTURE OF DEATH: THE ASSAULT ON MEDICAL ETHICS IN AMERICA, Wesley J. Smith says about Peter Singer’s philosophy:

“…some humans would not be persons, including newborn human infants, whether disabled or not, and people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease or other severe cognitive disabilities – people whom Singer claims are not self-conscious or rational.”[6]

Later Smith clarifies Singer’s intent:

“What Singer contends is that the moral worth of lives—whether animal or human—is roughly equal to their cognitive abilities. …Thus, Singer appears to believe that given the choice between saving the life of a dog and a mentally retarded human being, we should choose Fido.”[7]

An elephant in the room?

When people avoid an obvious discussion it’s like an elephant is in the room that nobody acknowledges. Let me get to the point. According to Singer’s own standards Ronald Reagan was no longer a person when he reached the advanced stages of his Alzheimer’s disease! And according to the bioethics of Peter Singer, America should have denied the former U.S. President his humanity or even basic medical care due to his advanced disease. A Singerite disciple might respond that when Mr. Reagan was a person he amassed a fortune that allowed his family to treat him with the dignity afforded to real persons who have rationality and self-awareness. Precisely!

The brutality of utilitarian medicine espoused by the Peter Singers of this world comes into sharper focus: The rich, loved Alzheimer’s patient would get care; the poor, unloved person with Alzheimer’s or any other cognitively disabled American would be killed. Welcome to the America of Princeton’s Johnny-come-lately.

Parallels between Baby Doe and Terri Schiavo

The parallels between Baby Doe and Terri Schiavo are worth noting: Both cases involved mentally disabled people – one a newborn infant, the other an adult woman. Both cases involved the desire of immediate family to kill a handicapped member. Both cases had complete strangers offering to take care of (even adopt) Baby Doe and Terri Schiavo. Both cases involved court sanctioned starvation/dehydration killings. Both cases presumed the individuals were better off dead than living disabled. In fact, at a 1993 deposition, Terri’s husband, Michael Schiavo, stated under oath, “…she’s a total quadriplegic. Okay? In my own feelings, if Terri were to wake up and see herself the way she is now, she wouldn’t even want to live like that.” In other words, it is better to be dead than disabled. But that’s how a strapping, healthy, strong man felt looking at someone else with a serious disability. Michael Schiavo only knew the twenty-six year old Terri of yesteryear. I think that if one reads between the lines, Michael was vocalizing his own fear of being disabled.

Am I suggesting Terri would have wanted to live as a quadriplegic? Yes I am. Oh, maybe not at first. I can certainly understand that if Terri had awoken to find herself a quadriplegic she might have initially wanted to die. What a terrible shock! After all, she was young, vibrant and beautiful with the American dream stretched out ahead of her. Then overnight her world was turned upside down. Of course she might have despaired of life for a period of time. Nobody who is able-bodied wants to live as a quadriplegic—yet thousands of people go through the despair and go on to live full and contented lives in that state. Attitudes of people with disabilities change over time. What is utterly overwhelming today, may not be tomorrow, next year or ten years hence. Canadian rehabilitation counsellor, Walter Lawrence (himself a quadriplegic) commented on the changing attitudes of people toward their disabilities, their perceptions of quality of life (or lack thereof), and an accompanying desire to die:

“What I see in rehab is that 90 percent of all high lesion spinal cord injured persons want to commit suicide. After five years of living with a spinal cord injury, 5 percent contemplate suicide. It is a drastic change.”[8]

Quality of life is a moving target!

Quadriplegia by the instalment plan

Twenty-five years ago, I was healthy, strong, agile and athletic. I would have recoiled in horror at the thought of living with progressively degenerative disease; yet in 1984, that’s exactly what happened. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Today, I move about in an electric wheelchair, my right arm is becoming increasingly useless. My left arm is the only remaining limb unaffected by MS. Unless there is some way of stopping this terrible disease, quadriplegia is a distinct possibility for my future.

I do not want to live as a quadriplegic! But do not construe what I’ve just said as a desire to die or that life can not be complete without the full use of my limbs. I am entering an advanced stage of multiple sclerosis and even my few remaining functions may yet be stripped from me! I don’t want to live like that! In fact, my future may be worse than Terri’s Schiavo’s life when she was killed. But let me say it again: That does not mean I will be better off dead!

Terri may not have wanted to live as a quadriplegic, but that does not mean that death was better than life! And even if she wanted to die in 1991, she may have felt different in 2005 when she was arbitrarily murdered by a Florida judicial decree.

We just do not know how people will feel after the shock, after the despair, after the grieving subsides. Human beings are resilient and most will redefine themselves within their new realities.

Physical function is not the final arbiter for the value of a life. Quality of life is not the final arbiter of human value. Love is the final arbiter of life. It is Divine love not romantic love that creates life in God’s image. It is Divine love that sanctifies every human life, not sentimental affection. If that is true, then Terri Schiavo and Ronald Reagan won hands down. To know Divine love, and to love the Lover is what gives life meaning -- that is the meaning and purpose of life. Granted, humanly speaking there are people who do not believe Terri Schiavo and Ronald Reagan had value but others did (and do).

Terri Schiavo was loved and valued by her parents, her siblings and tens of thousands of people across America—most of whom she never met. Ronald Reagan was loved by his family, and millions of his fellow-Americans—most of whom he never met.

Ronald Reagan is gone now.

Love for America

I have an enduring and abiding love for America – and I fear for Her. I believe that the judicial murder of Terri Schiavo in 2005, marked a moment in history when God drew a line in the moral sands of America. It is appropriate Americans who truly love their country to feel a new sense of urgency, even desperation for America’s future. Like the crew of the sinking Titanic sending flairs up into the sky, people who truly love America must call their fellow-Americans back to its original vision in the Declaration of Independence:

The self-evident truths that are so unalienable to which America’s Founding Fathers referred are the sanctity, dignity and equality of all human life. America must once again embrace the sanctity of human life ethic in its entirety, lest it lose its way, flounder on high seas of the twenty-first century, and sink into history.

There are still people who have not lost sight of these truths – people like Wesley J. Smith -- a great American and one of the nation's finest bioethical thinkers of the 21st Century.[9]

Mark Davis Pickup
[1] Benjamin Franklin, “Franklin on the Constitution” in Readings in World History, ed. Leften S. Stavrianos (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1962), p.258.[2] Quote Taken from Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life webpage http://www.mccl.org/fp_news/mccorvey.htm , accessed 18 February 2004.[3] C. Everett Koop, The Right to Live The Right to Die (Wheaton, Illinois: LIVING BOOKS, 1982), p.36.[4] From the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics Center for Disease Control, as cited in Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Wilke, Abortion: Questions and Answers, rev. ed. (Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing, 1988), pp. 101-2.[5] Quoted from Nat Hentoff, “The Awful Privacy of Baby Jane Doe,” http://www.web.syr.edu/~syndrake/hentoff.htm ; accessed 9 February 2004.[6] Wesley J. Smith, “CULTURE OF DEATH: THE ASSAULT ON MEDICAL ETHICS IN AMERICA," (San Francisco, California: Encounter Books, 2000), p.15.[7]Smith, 192.[8] Jennifer L. Piccolo, "Too high a price to pay for hope: MS sufferer’s principles lead him to reject stem cell transplant," The Washington Times, 21 June 2001, A1.[9] For more information about Wesley J. Smith go to: http://wasp.spokanetech.net/server.wasp?ac=wesleyjsmith&cm=2c&cv=1&pp=5&rp=1&rv=fulldetails&si=NAV32BVIJQHIDO5RR7DC&srt=t&srtin=a&tr=ENKB7FBJ9R&udid=0&~~rp=1&go=11

Friday, November 30, 2007

Will America be blessed or judged?

It was April 25th 2004.

I watched the images on television of three hundred thousand people descending on Washington Mall to demonstrate for abortion rights. Some Right! – the Right to kill one’s unwanted offspring. A parade of Hollywood celebrities showed up in force and gave stunning witness to the fact that money and prestige does not inoculate the human heart from moral poverty or hardness. Over ninety celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, former Friends star Jennifer Aniston and Cindy Crawford. (Sharon Stone respected city sanitary regulations and wore her underwear.) What hardened the hearts! Angry Canadian singer Alanis Morissette bore witness to the reality that the Little Pill really does have a Jagged Edge. Billionaire founder of CNN, Ted Turner came and helped chase love away. It was a who’s who of beautiful people who had lost their inner beauty.

Feminist organizers dubbed the event "March for Women’s lives." There was no mention of the children's lives who die by abortion. Yes, it was the pampered, loved and wanted against the unloved and unwanted.
Obscenely rich

Obscenely rich elites demonstrated against the Right to Life of the human family’s weakest members – unwanted unborn children – in order that their parents may have the Right to pursue happiness. Apparently being unwanted or inconvenient is the unpardonable sin in the world of Whoopi, Demi, Alec, Morgan, Ted, Martin, Alanis and other celebrities and liberal politicians who champion the right of parents to kill their unwanted children in utero; Apparently they are humanity’s refuse undeserving of defence as, life or even inclusion in the human family.

It's interesting to note that the likes of Demi Moore would pose nude and pregnant for Vanity Fair to show off her loved, expected and protected baby. In Demi's world, a different child of the same gestation about to undergo the barbaric partial birth abortion procedure deserves go protection, no love -- only excruciating death. Such a child is guilty of the capital offence of being unwanted or inconvenient.
Politicians who seemingly had forgotten the truth behind the Declaration of Independence showed up too. There was former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Members of Congress Carolyn Malony (NY), Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Carol Mosley Braun (IL), Barbara Lee (CA), Lynn Woolsey (CA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Barbara Lee (CA), Jerry Nadler (NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Susan Davis (CA), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH), and appropriately named Louise Slaughter (NY). Democratic Senators like Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi also lined up to confirm elitist America has no room for the unwanted child in the womb. They may talk about universal human rights but they believe in selective human rights.

I found it surprising that black politicians like Eddie Bernice Johnson, Carol Mosley Braun and Sheila Jackson Lee were distanced from prejudice and dehumanization of the past. They championed prejudice and dehumanization of the youngest members of the human family. I would have thought that they, of all people, would be sensitive to the inclusive and universal nature of Universal Human Rights.

Three years later, the queen bee of choice, Hillary Rodham-Clinton, is running for the Democratic nominee for President of the United States -- and she has a good of getting it!
The blood of 40-million babies cries to heaven
After more than 30 years of abortion on demand in America and more than 40-million abortions, America is in serious risk of God’s judgement. Yet in my naivety, I still believe it is not too late and that a merciful God may still forgive America -- if it repents of this terrible moral sin. If Roe v Wade is overturned and legal protections returned to unborn children, I believe that God may hold back His judgement.

The 2008 election may prove pivotal to America. Only support candidates running for public office who will uphold the sanctity, dignity and equality of all human life. I believe America stands at the edge of either God's judgement or His blessing. God is patient but He has his limits.

Remember the words of American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson:
“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”[1]

Mark Pickup

[1] Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia (1784), Query xviii. Manners.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

American Life League releases video report on children's sex book

WASHINGTON, D.C. · November 19, 2007 / PRNewswire / – "Parents need to know what Planned Parenthood has in store for their children and this report is an excellent starting point," said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League. "The book 'It's Perfectly Normal' is obscene and offensive to Christians."

American Life League's second video report exposes the contents of the book "It's Perfectly Normal." Recently, a Washington State Prison rejected a fundraising letter that included censored images from the book for being "sexually explicit" and "obscene."

American Life League released the report as a part of its continuing effort to educate the public on Planned Parenthood's activities.

"This video report is just the beginning," said Sedlak. "We will continue to use this new media to expose the nation's largest abortion chain and we call on Christians across the nation to join us in putting a stop to tax payer funds for Planned Parenthood."

For the truth about Planned Parenthood, check out these related links:

Protect Your Children - exposing Planned Parenthood's war on childhood innocence:

Sign our petition to end tax funding for Planned Parenthood:

Get the Wednesday STOPP Report:

Help us continue with these releases:

See the ad information that a Washington State Prison rejected:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A voice speaks across the decades: "There is no such thing as life unworthy of living."

A version of this article also appears in this week's
Western Catholic Reporter newspaper (Canada) (http://www.wcr.ab.ca/columns/markpickup/2007/markpickup111907.shtml)

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency recently published a short article about a new memorial in Berlin dedicated to victims of the Nazi euthanasia programme which claimed close to 100,000 lives of handicapped people in Germany during the Second World War.

Started by Hitler in 1939, the T4 euthanasia programme initially targeted mentally ill people and deformed children up to the age of three years old for lethal injections. What started with abnormal infants gave way to abnormal older children and finally disabled and handicapped adults.

Nazi euthanasia

The Nazi euthanasia programme was based on the idea racial purity and paved the way for the final solution which eventually claimed the lives of 6-million Jews. It was the euthanasia programme that developed gas chambers camouflaged as shower rooms where poison gas was piped in to kill disabled people deemed life unworthy of life.

The first gassing demonstration for Nazi officials overseeing the T4 programme occurred in a disused prison in Brandenburg; twenty Jewish psychiatric patients were gassed. The demonstration was deemed a success. Six killing centers were established where busloads of people with mental illnesses, or physical disabilities or handicaps were shipped for systematic exterminations. One doctor oversaw the gassing of 5,000 disabled people in six month period from March to August 1940.[1]

The euthanasia program never enjoyed legal sanction; it was murder even with under perverted laws of the Third Reich.[2] Although Hitler signed a decree for an adult euthanasia programme against ‘lebensunswertes leben’ – “life unworthy life” or “beings unworthy of existence”, he instructed officials that under no circumstances was the Fuhrer’s Chancellery to be seen as active in the program.[3]

Doctors who participated in the program did so voluntarily. Roughly 45% of them were members of the Nazi Party and many were belonged to the SS. Many of the doctors were exempted from military duty and enjoyed elevated status and perks rare in a wartime economy.

Christian witness

On August 3rd 1941, Catholic Bishop Clemens von Galen risked his life at the Munster Cathedral where he delivered a scathing sermon against the euthanasia programme. He condemned attempts to give legal sanction to killing the disabled and handicapped. He roared across the pulpit, “Once admit the right to kill unproductive persons, then none of us can be sure of his life. A curse on men and the German people if we break the Holy Commandment ‘Thou Shalt not kill’. Woe to us German people if we not only licence this heinous offence but allow it to be committed with impunity.”

Bishop Galen’s sermon sent shock-waves throughout the Nazi leadership! Twenty days later on August 23rd, Hitler officially suspended the T4 programme. The Nazis retaliated by beheading three parish priests who distributed copies of the Bishop’s sermon, but left Bishop von Galen untouched for fear of making him a martyr.[4]

Word of Bishop von Galen’s fiery sermon against the euthanasia programme spread like wildfire. The BBC in England made broadcasts about the sermon. It made the front page in the Daily Telegraph. The RAF dropped copies of the Bishop’s sermon over Germany. Ordinary German soldiers on the frontlines and outposts were sent copies of the sermon by family members. Although Hitler threatened Bishop von Galen, the threat proved idle.

A cunning Nazi film entitled Ich Klage an (I accuse) was produced that year which was shown in theatres in Germany. It portrayed a doctor whose wife suffered from multiple sclerosis. In the warm glow of the family hearth, the doctor gently, ever so lovingly, assists his wife’s suicide, giving her the deliverance she so obviously desires. He faces charges of murder but in turn accuses the state of not helping the disabled die. It was a skilled and clever propaganda film promoting euthanasia by introducing the idea of autonomy and assisted suicide. Many Germans thought Ich Klage an was the Nazi response to Bishop von Galen’s charges.

Pope Pius XII elevated Bishop von Galen to Cardinal after his courageous stand defending the disabled and handicapped in the face of daunting hostility.

His words speak across the decades to North America where the heinous offence of euthanasia is gaining acceptance: "There is no such thing as life unworthy of living."

In December of 2004, three months before the judicial execution of disabled American Terri Schiavo, and his own death, Pope John Paul approved beatification of Cardinal Clemens von Galen.

Cardinal von Galen’s courageous actions serve as a towering example for Christians everywhere to defend the defenseless whose lives are devalued or endangered by euthanasia acceptance.

Mark Pickup
[1] Michael Burleigh, THE THIRD REICH: A NEW HISTORY, (New York, Hill and Wang, 2000), Michael Burleigh, p.387.
[2] Burleigh, p. 383.
[4] Taken from, The History Place: World War Two in Europe, (http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/euthanasia.htm), accessed 7 November 2007.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me."

An article recently appeared in the local newspaper regarding a children’s palliative care specialist.[1] Dr. Dawn Davies is the only palliative care specialist at the University of Alberta (Canada).

Pediatric palliative care is under-recognized and under-subscribed, it is an area that is sorely needed at this ominous juncture in time. Disabled newborns are often left to die -- denied food and water -- at the advice or cooperation of hospitals, and consent of their parents. Perhaps this is the way and sway of secular hospitals but Christian health care facilities must never cooperate in the killing of any human being regardless of how hopeless the case. As Malcolm Muggeridge said,

"Jesus healed the sick, raised Lazarus from the dead, gave back sanity to the deranged, but never did He practice, or include, killing as part of the mercy that occupied His heart. His true followers cannot but adopt the same attitude."
Christian hospitals
A disabled child in utero must never be killed in Christian hospitals -- nor can Christian hospitals legitimately cooperate in attaining such an end. Once born, a disabled baby may only live an hour, but in that hour the child must be welcomed into a tender embrace of Christian love and palliative care -- and not abandoned by withholding food and water. That may be the way of the world of bioethics but it has no place in the actions of a follower of Christ, or institutions that align themselves with His name.

The child's family must also find themselves in the same tender embrace of loving Christian care throughout their bereavement and recovery. This is the call of authentic Christianity to health care professionals, in cooperation and support of Christ's Church. I can think of no more powerful witness to Christ's love. It is shoe-leather evangelism at its finest.

It is time for health care facilities everywhere bearing Christian affiliation to examine their policies and practices to ensure that they are life-affirming and never life-denying. If they are not prepared to do this … then cease their Christian affiliation and stop maligning the holy name of Christ and His Church!

In this new Dark Age of early 21st century North America, authentic Christianity has the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus Christ, showing His love and mercy to the “least of these.” Remember our Lord’s words:
“Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me  receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.[2]
It has been the same for every child throughout the centuries since our Savior uttered this truth.

Mark Pickup

[1] Jodie Sinnema, “Children’s palliative care puts focus on living: Edmonton’s only specialist spearheads one-year training program,” Edmonton Journal, 18 Nov. 2007, A1.
[2] Luke 9.48, NKJV.