Pope Benedict XVI is now making a historic visit to Muslim Turkey, only the third such visit by a pope. The purpose of the trip is to meet with Bartolomew I, leader of the world's 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, and promote reunion between Othodox Christians and Catholics. The trip was planned well before the Pope angered the Muslim world be quoting the anti-Islamic remarks of a medieval emperor, but the buzz is that Benedict will use the trip to smooth over Muslims' ruffled feathers.
I say no! Instead of retreating yet again in the face of Islamic militantcy the pontiff should use this historic moment to boldly stand for the West and the Christian faith he's supposed to represent. Pope Benedict XVI should fearlessly and unapologetically remind Muslims that Christianity was in Turkey centuries before Islam. He should also condemn their centuries of unprovoked aggression against the West, reminding Muslims of the hard truth that they, in fact, were the first crusaders.
The Pope is on solid ground, literally, to say such things; Turkey is full of Christian history. The seven churches of Asia addressed in the Book of Revelation were all located in Asia Minor, now Turkey. Istanbul used to be named Constantinople, after the first Christian Roman emperor, and was the capital of the eastern Roman Empire. The Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest feats of Western architecture, was a Christian church for over 1000 years before it was converted into a mosque after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The great building is now a museum. I bet the real history of Muslim aggression against Westerners and all other "infidels" isn't in that museum.
Someone has to be the defender of the Faith and defender of the West. Pope Benedict XVI, indeed any pope, is the perfect person for that job. That should be why the papacy exists. Unfortunately the Pope, like so many other Westerners, is a servant of political correctness and unilateral tolerance more than Christ. He'll go to Turkey and preach about interfaith dialogue and brotherhood and refuse to accept that Islam is a religion that fervently rejects both, and he'll think he's doing Christ's work. Meanwhile Islamic militants, unmoved by the Pope's pretty words, will continue their global jihad until the crescent reigns supreme. And if that day comes there will be no more doing Christ's work. So I plead with you, Pope Benedict, speak the truth in Turkey! Stand for your civilization and your God! For if you don't, St. Peter's Basilica will become another Hagia Sophia. God forbid it!