Spengler's most recent article describes a rarely-before-seen opportunity for Christian evangelism among Muslims, largely in Europe but also via the emerging Chinese church. There's no mention of Christianity's ascension in Africa, so add that on too.

In that sense, the president's war policy and the pope's pacifism arise from a common source, the politics of faith. Despite the exigencies of state security, which make necessary the employment of deadly force as well as harm to civilians, someone must speak the voice of mercy, and pray that the stern decree will pass from the world. A religious leader must say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," while a head of state must follow the maxim, "Do unto others before they do unto you." What divides the president and the pope is not so much their conflicting positions, but rather a difference in the existential vantage point from which each must respond to the great events of the world.

Benedict XVI may preach against violence, but in his own fashion he takes a tougher stance than the American president. That surely is not the way it looks at first glance. Bush invaded an Arab country, while Benedict preaches reason to the Muslim world, receiving in the past few months Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah as well as delegations from Iran. He has agreed to a meeting with a group of 138 Muslim scholars at the Vatican in November. Why should Muslims fear Benedict?

For the first time, perhaps, since the time of Mohammed, large parts of the Islamic world are vulnerable to Christian efforts to convert them, for tens of millions of Muslims now dwell as minorities in predominantly Christian countries. The Muslim migration to Europe is a double-edged sword. Eventually this migration may lead to a Muslim Europe, but it also puts large numbers of Muslims within reach of Christian missionaries for the first time in history.

That is the hope of Magdi Allam, the highest-profile Catholic convert from Islam in living memory (see The mustard seed in global strategy Asia Times Online, March 26, 2008).

The Islamification of Europe is generally seen as a foregone conclusion, a dour and irreversible demographic trend projected by Anglophiles like Mark Steyn (who I greatly like). Spengler's reversal, granting the advantage to Christianity rather than to encroaching Islam, is a very different and intriguing perspective. I pray that he's right, as I pray nightly for missionaries to Muslims.

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