Timothy McVeigh wasn't the only one executed yesterday. Abu Sabaya, leader of the Abu Sayyaf separatist group holding at last 27 people hostage, said the rebels beheaded Guillermo Sobero of Corona, California. "We've chopped off his head because we … can see that the government wants to outsmart us with these negotiators. What are we, stupid?" Sabaya told a local radio network. "So we've cut off negotiations. We will call again when we've beheaded another to let them know."
Chief of Staff Diomedio Villanueva says Sabaya probably isn't bluffing. "The possibility of it having happened is quite very, very high," he said. The beheading means that the only two surviving American hostages are New Tribes missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham—and Martin was reportedly injuredin recent clashes between his captors and the Philippine military.
Guillermo Sobero leaves behind four children, the oldest of whom is 13. "They think he's on vacation," relative Neuza Chiong tells Reuters. "I'm not sure when we'll tell them."
Dara Singh's trial postponed for hunger strike
Dara Singh, currently on trial for the gruesome murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, has figured out a way to get his trial deferred: a hunger strike. With demands of a ceiling fan for his jail cell, the Hindu militant has been fasting for a week now. Earlier reports said he was in serious condition, but by Saturday the jail doctor said he was stable. Twelve of Dara's supporters have reportedly joined his hunger strike. The trial is scheduled to continue today, but no word yet on whether it will.
Allen Guelzo: Slavery reparations can focus nation's attention on moral standards
Allen C. Guelzo, dean of the Templeton Honors College at Eastern College, author of the award-winning Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Eerdmans, 1999), and frequent contributor to Christianity Today sister publication Books & Culture, has an article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times on the issue of slavery reparations. "The path to reparations for slavery is beset by unusual problems, starting with tactics," he says, dismissing proposed litigation as misdirected—who would be included in the suit, on both sides? Legislation along the lines of the post-WWII Japanese-American settlement is a better idea, but "will still suffer from the absence of the original victims." (Guelzo notes that one of the key sponsors of such legislation in the U.S. House is Ohio's Tony Hall, an evangelical and prolife Democrat.) Any proposal has its problems, Guelzo writes, but "yet a compelling conservative argument for reparations exists."
Opinion on the right has grown skittish about appeals to "social" justice, which seem to glide around questions of morality. Reparations recognize the centrality of moral judgments in evaluating human action. And they are proof that economics—and slavery was about nothing if it wasn't about economics—must, sooner or later, pass the test of moral standards. It would be no small accomplishment for a "compassionate conservative" administration, as well as conservatives in Congress, to recognize the potential of this issue for centering national attention again on the demands of moral justice, not just the paler version of social justice, on the public life of the nation.
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