“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, October 29, 2013


Below is an excellent music video called "This Time". It's about a thirteen years old pregnant girl who gives birth to her baby rather than "solve" her problem by killing her child through abortion. It's based on a true story. I'm sure abortion supporter will decry it.

Sunday, October 27, 2013



Ken Cuccinelli
The link above is to an article by American Life advocates Anna Franzonello and Bill Saunders
entitled "Support for Pregnancy Centers considered "scandal" by NARAL" (National Abortion Rights Action League).  Apparently NARAL dug up new "dirt" that Virginia candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli. His charitable giving includes support to a Crisis Pregnancy Centre that helps women choose life for their babies. Gasp! What a dastardly thing to do! Jail that man and throw away the key. Helping women in crisis pregnancy and their babies is a scandal according to NARAL.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers across America and Canada have helped thousands of women to make life-affirming choices for themselves and their babies. If NARAL: Pro-choice American is really in favour of women having choices about their pregnancies, what is the problem with the choice for life and supportive services that re-enforce that choice? Nothing. But apparently for abortion ideologues only one choice should be actively supported: abortion.

I co-founded one such center in Edmonton (Canada). For nearly thirty years they have been a vital Christian ministry in the community. They are known as the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre.  The EPCC provides counselling to abortion inclined women, post-abortive counselling, abstinence education and a number of other services. They provide needed care to women and the community supports them.

Why would any reasonable human oppose helping women not to abort their babies, or give counselling to women and men who regret their abortions, or encouraging young people to abstain from sex until marriage in an era of rampant sexually transmitted infections? Liberals and abortion proponents, that's who. They attack pro-Life pregnancy centers regularly. See my previous blog. It is time these anti-life extremists be exposed and repudiated by people of good will.


Friday, October 18, 2013


Paula Simons
A columnist for the main daily newspaper in the city of Edmonton (Canada) recently wrote an article decrying a non-denominational Christian pregnancy centre giving presentations in public schools. The columnist is an anti-Christian named Paula Simons. 
She wrote with a disparaging tenor about the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre providing sex education classes promoting abstinence in the public school system. I expected nothing more from Simons.
Her column was interesting to me for two reasons: 1. As I say, Simons seems to have an anti-Christian bias which I presumed would come out in her column. My suspicion was right. 2. In the 1980s, I co-founded the original organization that became the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre. Yes, their foundations are Christian. At the core of those foundations is the abiding principle that all human life is sacred and deserves to be treated with dignity as bearers of the image of God. If that is offensive to Simons, then so be it.

Simons said “the research” shows “teens make wiser decisions when they are prepared for safe sex ― and when they haven’t made idealistic plans to abstain until marriage.” All the research shows that?

While I agree that young people need to be equipped with knowledge about the risks of sex outside marriage, let’s also acknowledge that in an era of rampant sexually transmitted infections there is no such thing as “safe” sex only safer sex.  As far as “idealistic plans” to abstain from sex until marriage, I actually believe in having idealistic plans for marriage. This comes from my own bitter experience. I was sexually active before marriage and was poorer bringing that baggage into married life.
Sex is the most intimate expression of love between a husband and wife; the specialness of that expression is cheapened by giving it away to other people who are not part of that intimacy. As far as teen pregnancy goes, I also experienced that back in the early 1970s and successfully pressured my girlfriend to have an abortion. It’s something I have regretted since then (so has she). Pre-marital sex and teen pregnancy – and subsequent abortion hurt my marriage. Now as an old man, looking back after 40 years of marriage, I wish I had an idealized view of marriage as a young man.

Allowing a Christian-based sex education to be presented in public schools is the proper approach for a pluralistic society. After all, Christians make up a significant part of North American society. They should have a right to have their views represented in the public education system ― not just secular perspectives ― if we really do have a pluralistic society that is accepting of all views.

Simons wrote that “public schools which serve our diverse community have no business foisting one particular set of religious values on everyone. …” The Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre is “foisting” their views on an unwitting public school?  Paula Simons gives Edmonton Public Schools too little credit and the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre too much.

Mark Davis Pickup
Some people may find one set of values offensive while others do not. Personally I find much of secular education offensive.  Secularism is not neutral. I do not think secularism has any business dominating public schools where many people of faith have children attending. We all have a valid place in public education. Welcome to that diverse community, Paula Simons.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


LaRee and Mark
My wife, LaRee, and I were asked to address a conference about critical life issues sponsored by the Diocese of Metuchen in New Jersey this coming Saturday. They wanted us to speak about a Christian perspective on suffering, disability and end of life care. It is a timely topic because New Jersey is considering a law to allow assisted suicide. The diocese wanted the dual perspectives of  someone with a degenerative and incurable condition like multiple sclerosis (me) ― and the perspective of a loved-one watching the deterioration and unable to stop it (my wife).  LaRee and I looked forward to going to New Jersey for two reasons: Firstly, we thought we could bring a needed life-affirming Christian story to the debate that is raging in that state. Secondly, we were going to celebrate our 40th anniversary after the conference in nearby city of New York. It was not to be.

LaRee’s aged mother’s frail physical condition started to take a life-threatening turn for the worse in Edmonton (Canada). We could not risk being so far away from her. Once again, my wife’s is giving a profound witness, by her actions, for Christian care of those who are vulnerable and cannot care for themselves. We cancelled our trip.

My wife’s active love for others has been illustrated for more than half of her lifetime.

Her mother lives in a secular nursing home and has dementia; her confusion makes her frightened and she cries out for LaRee.  As soon as she enters her mother’s room, all is calm again because she knows she is safe with LaRee near.

Unfortunately, my wife has deep reservations about anything that would put her mother in secular acute care hospital settings. That should come as no surprise in the current climate sympathetic to euthanasia. The threat of her mother being denied nutrition and hydration (food and water) is very real. LaRee’s grandmother endured that cruel fate ten years ago and died a torturous death.  It happens all the time to vulnerable people. In this new bioethical era, the incurably ill, dying, aged, and severely disabled are increasingly fearful of  hospitals where some physician ― with full backing of a hospital ethics committee ― may decide providing treatment to them is futile. Happily, I know of no instance where this has occurred in any Catholic hospital.

Treatments may be futile but the patient is never futile. Doing anything to hasten the death of a sick or dying person is always wrong and flies in the face of a very long tradition of Hippocratic medicine. That’s why I previously wrote that Catholic hospitals must never acquiesce to trends in bioethics that do not recognize the innate dignity and worth of every human being regardless of their state or stage in life.

Whether or not physicians working in Catholic hospitals are Catholic, they must adhere to the principles of Catholic teaching. As a person with advanced multiple sclerosis, I want to know I can rest confident knowing that medical decisions about my care follows those teachings.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that euthanasia is morally unacceptable (2277-2279). Any act of omission that causes death (like withholding food and water) is considered as murder and must always be forbidden. The Church does recognize there are times when active treatment designed to cure a dying patient ceases to be appropriate. “Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate”. If death of a patient is imminent, “painkillers to alleviate sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means.” In such cases, death is recognized as inevitable but not hastened. The underlying principle is one of motive and intent. Death must never be the intent of any medical action or inaction. If a cure is not possible, care still is. Killing is immoral and never acceptable!

This is the ethic by which every Catholic hospital must operate its end of life care. They must always act in accordance with Catholic teaching on matters of life and death and never give in to trends in bioethics, secular pressures or financial burdens.

I am aware that American Catholic hospitals face difficult and challenging days ahead in this regard (and the demand to provide abortions) under Obamacare.  Stand firm against the pressure, do not give in. Catholic care must prevail over Obamacare.  If vulnerable people  cannot rely on Catholic care to always value their lives, where can they go to be safe?

I mentioned that that my mother-in-law feels safe when LaRee is near. Even in her mounting dementia she seems to know she’s in good hands. LaRee’s Christianity and familial love motivates her to stand in the gap for her vulnerable loved-ones. Within the past few days she combed through her mother’s advanced directive from 2009, and updated it to reflect 2013’s reality. She met with her mother’s treating physician to make sure every measure for comfort is given and ordinary care owed to all sick people is not interrupted (just like the Catechism says).
By caring for her mother in this way, LaRee is giving a vivid testimony to a culture of life that treats dying as the last phase of living in which the bonds of humanity are strengthened, not weakened.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


What follows is the story of a wonderful man named Larry Larson. He tells of his journey with pancreatic cancer. It's not only moving it is important to read. Larry Larson's story is an example of a human journey through a terminal illness. -- Mark Davis Pickup 

Diane and Larry Larson

I Was Told I Had “Only a Month to Live” 31 Months Ago!

By Larry Larson

With Julie Grimstad

I was born and raised in a small city in the northernmost part of Wisconsin. My life was uneventful until I fell head over heels in love with a beautiful girl named Diane. The best move I ever made was to ask her to marry me. We’ve been happily married for 43 years. We have three wonderful children and eight beautiful grandchildren.  

In February 2011, I went to my Veterans Administration (VA) doctor for a check-up because I wasn’t feeling well. An MRI was done. Two days later, Valentine’s Day, Diane and I were having lunch at a restaurant when my cell phone rang. My doctor needed to see me immediately. As we sat down in his office, he told me I had stage four pancreatic cancer (inoperable). I knew that was one of the worst types, but I didn’t know just how bad. Diane and I had planned a trip to Florida. The deposit had been paid and plane tickets purchased. We asked if we could still go as it was only a couple weeks away. The doctor responded, “You will turn yellow and be too sick and weak, and have only a month to live.”  

I fainted. Diane told me later that my eyes rolled up into my head, I slumped over, and CODE BLUE was called. I woke up on a gurney. Later that day, I called my kids, relatives and close friends to give them the bad news. Not fun! 

I had to go to the VA Medical Clinic in Minneapolis, 160 miles away, for treatment, the first phase of which was a consultation with the head of the oncology department. She was pleasant and explained my treatment options. Because of its advanced stage, it was decided to attack the cancer aggressively. I could never remember the correct medical name, but because it was a relatively new type of chemotherapy, I called it “The New Kid on the Block.” After the first treatment, I walked outside into a cold misty rain. It felt like a thousand freezing pin pricks on my face. 

For my chemo treatments, we would drive to Minneapolis on Monday and stay in a hotel so we could make it to the VA clinic in the morning. After blood tests to determine if I could have chemo that day, they made up the batch. I’d get my treatment and then a battery operated pump for the second batch. The pump was attached to me for 46 hours. So, we would drive home and return two days later to have the pump removed. The pump was attached to a port, a quarter-size thing they placed in my chest that ran to an artery in my neck. Nobody at the VA clinic back home removes this, hence the 320-mile round trip twice a week, every other week. 

We put over 8,000 miles on the car before I turned 65. Then Medicare took over so I could get treatments closer to home. That made the next year a lot easier—only 60 miles round trip and no fighting traffic. 

My new doctor was a nice young man. We had a great doctor-patient relationship. After several months and several kinds of chemo, a CAT scan showed that my pancreas had calcified, which was unusual, and my lungs were not getting any worse. The doctor pulled his chair very close to mine, looked me in the eye and told me I had been given a gift. He had no idea why I was still alive or why the cancer wasn’t going anywhere.  

That was about nine months ago. Since that time, I have changed chemo again several times. That doctor left for another position. Even though I’m getting weaker, I am still here. My current doctor did the latest CAT scan and found that the cancer in my lungs had started to grow. He told me there is no other chemo to try. 

On June 24, 2013, my doctor told me I had three to six months left. But, who knows? The good news is that my hair has grown back and I’m not beat down by the chemo now. 

That is all the gloom and doom to my story. There are many good things to tell. 

I’ve had lots of fun times golfing. I even made the championship flight in my Senior League the last two years. We’ve also enjoyed socializing with our friends. An old police friend (I’m a retired police officer) said he wanted to get some of the guys together for drinks and reminiscing. I’ve been retired for 20 years, so it was overwhelming to see so many there. We’ve discovered how much people care about Diane and me. Our friends and family have been there for us every step of the way, doing anything they can to help, including praying.  

I also found out I married not only a beautiful girl, but my best friend, soul mate, caregiver, confidante, and a saint. Diane has stuck with me through every mile and has put up with more bad days than anyone should have to endure. One of the most touching moments came one day when we were driving home from the Minneapolis clinic. The news had been bad and we were both really down. Neither of us had spoken a word for quite a while. The radio was playing.

The song “Stand by Me” came on. Diane was driving, as usual. We both reached out and held hands. Though we’d heard that song a thousand times before, it never had so much meaning. We just held hands and cried. 

One last note: Dick, a good friend, had a memorial golf bench made in my name. It now sits in front of the golf course clubhouse. I’m the only living person to sit on his own memorial bench. Dick said he got tired of carrying that bench in his truck for two years, so he just dropped it off.   

I have lived a full and happy life. And it’s not over yet. I am truly blessed!
Larry Larson