Philippine rebels say they will behead missionaries tonight
Negotiate or "will start the cutting of the ribbons of the whites," said Abu Sayyaf Group chieftain Abu Sabaya. Philippine broadcast company ABS-CBN notes, "Wire reports … gave conflicting deadlines. … One report said Sabaya gave the government until noon Thursday [midnight EDT] while another stated that the bandit gave 72 hours or until Sunday for government to consider his demand."

In any case, it looks like Martin and Gracia Burnham, the kidnapped New Tribes missionaries, could use some prayer right now. Martin Burnham has already been injured in clashes between the rebels and military. "After telling RMN radio that … Burnham was shot several times by government troops three days ago, [Sabaya] later told DXRZ radio Burnham was hit by shrapnel from an M-79 rifle fired in an earlier clash," reports Reuters. In both cases, however, Sabaya said that the missionary was in a stable condition.

The Abu Sayyaf rebels are also holding another American and 10 Filipinos.

USA Today previews "annual summer bloodletting" "Should gay clergy be ordained? Are same-sex unions blessed before God the same as the marriage of a man and woman? May a woman lead a church? … This summer, as Presbyterians, Lutherans, American Baptists and others meet to choose leaders and set policy, these touchy topics may dominate—or derail—their agendas." So predicts USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman. She's not exactly going out on a limb; such controversies have dominated denominational meetings every summer in recent years. "Denominational meetings shouldn't be controversial fights over the essentials of the faith," the National Association of Evanglicals' Rich Cizik tells the paper. "People should go to ...

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