Author and theologian Albert Mohler is applauding President Biden's surprise trip to Ukraine, saying that while he has many differences with the administration's policies, he believes Biden courageously planted a "flag" for democracy in the face of totalitarianism.
"My criticism of Joe Biden is absolutely on the record," Mohler said Wednesday on his podcast, The Briefing. "... But when someone on the stage of world history does something worthy of our admiration, we need to note it."
Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of The Gathering Storm and We Cannot Be Silent, said Biden's trip took "personal courage."
"You have someone literally going to plant the flag, the American flag, on the side of liberty in a contested war zone," Mohler said, adding that Abraham Lincoln was the last president without military support to visit an active war zone. "... An occurrence like this just should cause Christians to step back and realize we're not just talking about a political contest of worldviews and ideas inside the United States. We're talking about a great conflict of worldviews on the world stage."
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mohler said, represents the worldview of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.
"You're talking about an invader nation. You're talking about a clash of worldviews," Mohler said.
Biden wasn't representing the Democratic Party, Mohler said, but the United States.
"And that's what many Americans sometimes fail to understand," he said. "The American president making a trip like this under these conditions was showing up in a sense as America and standing for American values and American courage and for an American witness to the superiority of freedom over oppression."
Mohler acknowledged there are policy debates in the U.S. about Ukraine. Still, he said, it is right for Americans to recognize the superiority of the Ukrainian government over that of Russia. Biden was "taking a stand" against Putin's beliefs, Mohler added.
"What shouldn't be up for debate … is whether or not a Western form of constitutional democracy, a constitutional republic of some form, is infinitely superior to a form of totalitarianism that celebrates human oppression and raises it to a level of ideology that can only be described as religious," Mohler said.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.