“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

Friday, June 27, 2014

AUTISM: New Attitudes, Approaches, and Assumptions: Event 10 July 2014

AUTISM: New Attitudes, Approaches,
and Assumptions

A 2014 CIHR Café Scientifique Event

How do parents treat and care for their children after a diagnosis? How do educators and communities respond to the needs of persons of any age with autism in order to best serve them in their ongoing development? How can I better understand what it feels like to have autism? 

These and many other questions will be answered through our Café event. The objective of the Café will be to showcase the latest research on autism, make the public aware of resources and support networks available, and promote recent advances of those diagnosed with autism. 

Canada-LogoJoin us as we explore this issue with the experts! 
Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou (MD) is a Child Neurologist and Clinician Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto.

Dr. James Bebko (Ph.D.) is a Registered Psychologist and Professor of Clinical-Developmental Psychology with the Department of Psychology and Faculty of Health at York University. 
Brought to you in part by: 
The deVeber Insitute for Bioethics and Social Research conducts and disseminates research on topics connected to human life in its biological, social and ethical dimensions. 


Research and Scholarship for an Informed Social Response to Human Life Questions

All are welcome to this FREE event!

Fox and Fiddle, 280 Bloor W
Toronto ON M5S1V8

Light refreshments included. 

Event Date: Thursday, July 10th, 2014.
Doors open at 5:30 pm; the talk begins at 6:00 pm.
Space is limited, so please reserve your seat and RSVP by email or phone:
(416) 256 - 0555

                        CIHR 2

Monday, June 23, 2014


Daniel Wani and Meriam Ibrahim
"Sudan death sentence woman 'freed'", BBC News

Initial reports today out of Sudan are saying that Meriam Ibrahim has been freed from prison. She is the woman sentenced to torture and death by hanging under Sharia law because of her Christianity. I wrote previously about this case.

If the reports are true, then it is imperative Meriam and her children get on American soil and reunited with her American husband Daniel Wani as soon as possible. 

Praise God. -- Mark


What is it about girls and horses? My ten year old granddaughter is crazy about horses. Every discussion is horses this, horses that ... okay, I get it sweet child! You love horses.

No horse is safe from her gushing affection. Recently she saw some horse's grazing in a pasture and sneaked through the fence. She braided flowers into a horses mane. Actually they were dandelions (no flowers were close). Can you imagine how puzzled the rancher must have been to discover this? (See picture below.)

I love being a grandfather. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Tatyana Ryzhkova
In this blog post, I would like to present the guitar mastery of Tatyana Ryzhkova. Here she is featured playing J.S. Bach's Sonata II BMV 1003, Allegro. Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVfFhcfnJec This is how guitar is supposed to be played!


Friday, June 20, 2014


EWTN's television series
 "G.K. Chesterson:
Apostle of Common sense"
"We are new, nameless, self-evident, stronger, more audacious. We are the supreme achievement beyond modern man, beyond mere good and evil. We have annihilated morality. We are the overman, the superman. God  is dead, and we have killed Him." Character of Friedrich Neitzsche speaking in the EWTN production "G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense - God is Dead, Chesterton versus Neitzsche"

Friedrich Neitzsche
Later in the production, Neitzsche says, "Nihilism is standing at the door. A triumph of nihilism is inevitable. The highest values have lost their value. Morals have lost their purpose. The past must be broken." More than a hundred years after those dreadful words were said, nihilism has passed through the door and fills North American society. 

The tried and true ways that governed social and moral order for centuries are being broken and thrown over for an unproven future. 

To see the EWTN production about Chesterton versus Neitzsche mentioned above, click on image below or link here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh1ToGbVZOI An excellent half hour production. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I encountered a young man who is confronted with newly acquired and profound physical disability. He is trying to come to grips with the hard realities of his new life and being abandoned by people. Living with a serious disability is difficult. I addressed my own experience regarding this in a column I wrote a  few years ago for the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada). I am posting it for the man I mentioned. Perhaps it may have an application for someone you know. Keep reading.  


Many young people live with the foolish assumption they will
always be strong and healthy. Young men are particularly susceptible to thinking they are invincible. When one of their own peers is cut down by disability or a serious incurable disease -- like aggressive multiple sclerosis -- it shakes them to their core. After initial shows of support, they often avoid the hurt or sick friend.

In my case, I remember those who knew me before my disease drew back in wide-eyed fear when they initially saw me spastic or using a cane, canes, crutches or wheelchair when I was in my 30s. 

I had been one of them, a winner, then overnight, I became a loser.
My situation reminded them that they too were mortals. Old friends stayed away in droves. Like the old song says "Friends weren't unkind, just hard to find." Of all the friends I had as a young man, only my wife remained.

The sudden destruction of health and the onset of disability were difficult for me to endure but the abandonment of old friends deepened my pain and sense of loss. To be perfectly frank, isolation and lack of friendships were the sources of as much sorrow as the disability itself.

At work, I had been part of the inner ring, so-to-speak, before the multiple sclerosis. I was not a power broker but had access to them. When the MS was diagnosed, doors to power and upward mobility quietly closed on me.

Initially, the power brokers remembered that I used to be aligned with their ranks; they helped me limp along in the shadow of my former self. Managers and other executives made things easy for one of their underlings who stumbled (quite literally) into unforeseen misfortune. Blind eyes were turned when I was sick and absent from work or important meetings; easy assignments were given to me and allowances made.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the support I received, and some managers bent over backward to accommodate me. But I knew that sooner or later the little kindnesses (and even gushing generosity) would become tiresome and dry up.


Eventually I was seen as dead weight to the efficient operations of
the department -- a humanitarian luxury that could no longer be afforded or tolerated. Faces that were once so sympathetic and warm grew cold and contemptuous as the full realization of the phrase "chronic illness" and "degenerative disability" became apparent. They were stuck with an employee who had both . . . there would be no recovery in me.

So I was put out to pasture - medically retired at 38 years of age. Although I knew it was inevitable, the actual deed of being forced into retirement as a young man came as a terrible shock and I sank into depression.

My upbringing taught me that men worth their salt worked and made contributions, yet I sat in my wheelchair each morning watching a train of commuters heading to jobs and careers. No longer was I part of that daily procession.

My sense of isolation, and loss of identity, deepened. Days passed into months and months into years.

Loneliness and isolation can be constant companions to people with disabilities. The more profound and visible the disability, the more profound isolation and loneliness become.

It is important to reach out to people with disabilities and some Churches have fine disability ministries. Others do not.

(If you feel uncomfortable around seriously disabled people, try to look past their disabilities and see the person. It's that simple. (But isn't that the basis for all genuine friendships?))

Personally, I discovered that my feelings of isolation were either
mitigated or eliminated through prayer. Seeking and encountering the reality of Jesus Christ shifted my perspective away from myself and assured me that I was not isolated in my suffering. 

Christ is close to me and truly understands my pain, fears and sorrows.


His Passion dwarfs the worst of human anguish. Did he not say, "My soul is sorrowful unto death"? Was Jesus not deserted by his friends? Christ cried out from his deepest point of an agony on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me." Yes, Christ understands human pain and He is our greatest solace in times of loneliness or the anguish of being cut off from human interaction.

God told us He will not leave us or forsake us. (See Hebrews 13.5.) Jesus said, "I am with you always, until the end of the age." You may feel alone, but you are not alone. Remember, Emmanuel — God is with us. -- Mark

[Click on the image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrKbu6OwJv0 for "Through It All by Hillsong]


Canadian Member of Parliament, Mike Lake, represents me in the
Jaden and Mike Lake
House of Commons. Not only does he stand for full disability inclusion in society, I am one of his constituents. I'm proud that me represents me in Canada's Parliament. 

Mike is pro-Life and my Christian brother. His son Jaden has autism. Below is a statement by my friend and MP, Mike Lake, in Parliament in recognition of of World Autism Awareness Day 2014.

Mr. Lake's statement can also be seen at this link

Monday, June 16, 2014


Once again, let me present a phenomenal video by Alexander
Tsiaris about human development from conception to birth. If human life is sacred, then all life is sacred, not just some. Anything else is bigotry and sophistry. Click the image below to see how you and I began. All life has the right to life.

The video can also be accessed by click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Cochlear hearing implants were introduced in 1985 to restore certain kinds of deafness. There has been controversy swirling around the technology. The deaf community saw cochlear implants as a threat to their culture. One website raised the questions: "Does the cochlear implant pose a serious threat to deaf culture? Can people with the implant function effectively as members of the hearing world?" 

An article stated this about the deaf community's hostile reaction to cochlear technology to restore hearing this way:

" It comes as a great surprise to most people in the hearing community to learn that a sizable section of the deaf community has reacted with hostility and dismay to the development of this technology. Throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s, Deaf people mobilized to protest the use of cochlear implants. In
particular, they objected to the choice being made on behalf of young children to insert the implant. These critics reject the very idea of trying to find a “cure” for deafness. Indeed they have compared it to genocide. They argue that deaf people should not be thought of as disabled but as members of a minority cultural group."[1]

I was puzzled too. Yes, I understand and respect that there are dynamic deaf cultures. As a member of the larger disability community, I recognize that identification with distinct groups of people within the greater society is good and necessary; but we must always recognize a goal of bridging special groups to the greater society.

It is wrong to willfully remain disabled and isolated from the larger society. The proper goal must surely be to restore or integrate. It is foolish to refuse to acknowledge a normal standard of ability to which people with disabilities (not just deafness) must try to reach if possible and ethically offered to them.[2] 

Let me be clear: I understand that it is healthy for a person with a disability to accept their situation and strive to thrive. They must develop a self-image that includes their disability. I understand this and have incorporated this acceptance into my own life.

However, it is also right and responsible to take advantage of medical or technological advances that are restorative or adaptive for people with disabilities. It is irresponsible and wrong for disability communities to rail against advances that are made available. To utilize advances is not a rejection or repudiation of specific minority cultural groups, but it may open avenues of connection to the larger community. 

Parents of deaf children have a responsibility to seek measures for their children that will help them to engage more fully in society.   

The Common Good recognizes communities within the community. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Catholic Church has much to say about human social responsibility and the Common Good. It teaches that the common good is to be understood as "the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and easily. The common good concerns the life of all."[3]

Perhaps advocates of the deaf community opposed to cochlear implants will respond, "Precisely! The deaf community can achieve its fulfillment for easily and fully within the deaf community." My rebuttal would be that the "sum total of social conditions" extends beyond the deaf community. Connections to the whole of society must be sought and exercised. Deaf adults may choose to remain within the the boundaries of deaf community -- but deaf children cannot make that choice. Their parents act on their behalf and they have a responsibility to open every door of possibility for their children. 

Do not construe cochlear implants as rejection of deaf culture rather opening new horizons previous unattainable or compromised, especially for children. Please click on the link below to a 9 minute video produced by Choices Delaware.org about children with cochlear implants.

[1] David Sparrow, "Defending Deaf Culture; The Case of Cochlear Implants", The Journal of Political Philosophy: Volume 13, Number 2, 2005, pp. 135–152.
[2] I use the word "ethical" because therapies or cures that involve immorality such as involuntary experimentation or the use of embryonic stem cells, should be rejected. I would reject any therapy for MS involving treatments derived from embryonic stem cells that involved the taking of another life.


Who am I that the God of all creation and eternity would care about me -- not in some passing disinterested way -- but in an intimate daily way. He has filled my life with His love and my home with peace. Granted, much of my life has been marred with disease and heartbreak yet in the midst of it all God presence has been with me whispering "Be not afraid, I AM with you." In the darkness of suffering He has been my light.

It has been in my pain that I found myself in Christ. In surrender I found freedom. After three decades with degenerative multiple sclerosis I have discovered that this life is only the journey not the destination. I'm being prepared, through faith in Jesus Christ, to stand in the real and perfect presence of the God of all creation and eternity -- all that is seen and unseen. 

In loss I gained all that matters. -- Mark

[Click on image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBcqria2wmg ]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Meriam Ibrahim in jail
 with her children
Further to previous HumanLifeMatters.org blog posts about the torture and death sentence of Meriam Ibrahim see:
Anne Garboczi Evans, "Meriam Ibrahim's brother-in-law: Brutal Pre-Execution Flogging Will "Take Her Skin Off"", 10 June 2014, LifeNews.com


Dove has produced the most beautiful advertisement just prior to Father's Day. Well done! I believe that loving families with engaged mothers and fathers are critically to the healthy nurture of children. See the wonderful video produced by Dove celebrating fathers by clicking the image below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jpb2_YdxYM

Monday, June 9, 2014



Valerie Gatto
Miss Pensylvania 2014
"So Many Questions: Miss Pennsylvania 2014 Valerie Gatto works to inspire with faith", TribLive, is a story of victory for a woman conceived in rape. The victory is also her courageous mother's who did not listen to abortion advocates who would have supported the abortion of Valerie.  It's a brutality of our age that would make a child pay for the crime of her father and view that as a solution to violence and violation.

Aborting Valerie would not have taken away the trauma or dark violence of the rape. It would have perpetuated the violence and violation of life through abortion of the innocent. Because Valerie's mother chose life we see the celebration of that choice. Learn more at the link at the top of this post. -- Mark

[Click on link below or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3wwWFsSlNQ for "Still" by Hillsong.]

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Bruce from Great Falls Montana forwarded a note he received from the Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) regarding the Meriam Ibrahim death penalty case. See below.


Meriam Ibrahim & her
children in prison
There have been breaking developments in Meriam Ibrahim’s death penalty case over the weekend.

First, a senior Sudanese official stated that Sudan was set “to free” Meriam. Now, Sudan is retracting that statement, saying instead that it will wait for a court to rule on her appeal.

There is no doubt Sudan is trying to stop the growing wave of international pressure. As her attorneys in Sudan said, “It’s a statement to silence the international media. This is what the government does.”

We must not be silenced.

We’re redoubling our efforts around the globe. Sudan is cracking under the pressure.

But if we let up, Meriam will be executed for her Christian faith and her two American children in prison with her will be turned over to radical Islamists.

Don't be silenced. 

Jay Sekulow

ACLJ Chief Counsel 

(See below for action you can take.)

To American readers: Contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support H Res. 601, introduced this week by Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona calling for the release of imprisoned Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim. Call upon the Obama Administration to act now on behalf of Meriam and to move quickly to grant her and her children refuge in the United States.
To Canadian readers: Write an email to Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon. John Baird (john.baird@parl.gc.ca). Demand that Canada register a formal protest with Sudan about the torture and death sentence given to Meriam Ibrahim and imprisonment with her two children (Martin 20 months) and newborn daughter, Maya. Ask that Canada call for the immediate release from prison of Meriam and her children.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Meriam Ibrahim in prison holding newborn Maya with
20 month old son Martin sitting at her side
There may be movement in a positive direction regarding the case of persecuted Christian Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan. A report in today's Daily Mail out of the U.K.says she may be freed, but her legal team and international advocates warn that the Sudanese government officials may be lying.[1] 

People of good will have signed an online petition for her release and previous HumanLifeMatters posts linked readers to the petition. The Daily Mail article said that a petition for her release by Amnesty International, has been signed by 750,000 people.

Former British PM
Tony Blair
The Meriam Ibrahim case is horrendous! Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is quoted as describing her treatment by the Sudanese as 'barbaric' and a sickening distortion of faith. 

We must not be too hopeful for her release. Meriam's lawyers do not believe the offer is real and that it is just a ploy to silence the growing outcry. It is imperative that people everywhere concerned for the welfare of Meriam, her 20 month toddler and newborn baby girl Maya increase the pressure of their own governments to pressure Sudan to release Meriam and the children (without any of the 100 lashes in her sentence). We must not relax until they are safely on American soil with her American husband, Daniel Wani of New Hampshire.
Daniel Wani

Daniel has stated that the Obama administration has not been helpful in his wife's case.[2] If this is true, American readers of this blog must demand that the U.S. immediately put pressure on the Sudanese government to release Meriam. According to LifeNews.com:

"Davis Christensen, the Vice President for Government Affairs, is urging Americans to contact Congress on Meriam's behalf. "Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support H Res. 601, introduced this week by Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona calling for the release of imprisoned Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim." 

Christensen also stated, "Despite being married to an American citizen and the fact that her children are also eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, Meriam's case has received little attention from our Department of State or the U.S. Embassy in Sudan." he told LifeNews. "That's why H. Res. 601 also calls upon this Administration to act now on behalf of Meriam and to move quickly to grant her and her children refuge in the United States."

That's what Americans can do. Canadians readers of this blog should contact their MPs and demand that the Canadian government register an official protest with Sudan of the imprisonment and sentence of torture and execution of Meriam Ibrahim and demand her immediate release unharmed.

About rumblings of her release, one of Meriam's legal team told the U.K.'s Telegraph: "This is what the government do. We will not believe that she is being freed until she walks out of the prison."[3] 

Tina Ramierez of the religious freedom group Hardwired says
campaigning for Meriam's safe release is more important now than ever and added, "It's essential that we keep the pressure up until Meriam is actually freed." I would go one step further and say we must keep the pressure up until Meriam and her children are safely in America.


[1] Mark Nicol and Kieran Corcoran, "Sudanese woman forced to give birth in shackles and held with toddler in prison "hell hole" as she awaits death sentence for refusing to drop her Christian faith will be FREED after international outcry", 01 June 2014, Mail Online. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2644796/Sudanese-woman-facing-barbaric-death-sentence-marrying-Christian-FREED-U-turn-authorities.html

[2] Steven Ertelt, "Meriam Ibrahim's husband pleads for suppot for his wife, Obama Admin "Not helping", 30 May 2014, LifeNews.com

[3] Harriet Alexander, "Sudanese woman Meriam Ibrahim sentenced to death for apostasy 'to be freed'", 31 May 2014, the Telegraph. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/sudan/10867220/Sudanese-woman-Meriam-Ibrahim-sentenced-to-death-for-apostasy-to-be-freed.html