Influential Christian evangelical leader Franklin Graham scolded the packed 2016 presidential candidates' field for engaging in mean-spirited attacks that are contributing to the precipitous fall of the nation's political system "to a new low."
Writing Monday on his Facebook page in an open letter addressed to the current 21 Republican and Democratic contenders — and listed in alphabetical order — the president of the foundation named after famed father Billy Graham, and leader of the global charity Samaritan's Purse, commends "all of you for the desire to lead the United States of America. Our nation is in dire need of real leadership."
But such leadership, he writes, isn't demonstrated "by attacking each other."
"The election process should be about putting forth your ideas for a better America and for the future of all Americans," Graham notes.
"As you know, some intend to stir up conflict — and if they can get you to fight, it helps their ratings more than it helps you."
"Ripping into each other, mocking each other, telling lies about each other and to the American people isn’t a display of leadership," he writes. "You have put yourself forth as a candidate for the highest office in the land. Take the high road. All of us want to hear your ideas for the future. No one wants to hear the backbiting, petty squabbling, and negative attack ads that make a mockery out of our elections."
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