Prominent Christian leader Franklin Graham has written an open letter to the 2016 presidential candidates, encouraging them to refrain from attacking one another and reminding them that no problem can be solved without the "help and direction of the Almighty God."
In a Facebook post addressed to the current 21 Republican and Democratic contenders, all listed in alphabetical order, the 65-year-old evangelist commends "all of you for the desire to lead the United States of America. Our nation is in dire need of real leadership."
However, such leadership, Graham charges, should not be 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," he explains."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."
"In recent years, our political system seems to have fallen to a new low," Graham declares. "If civility and honesty are not brought back into the picture, I think we will eventually destroy not only each other, but our nation."
Graham reminds the candidates that he is praying that God will guide and direct them and that they "will consider the future of our nation and put that above personal ambitions."
"May this be a new chapter in American politics," he charges. "And may we remember that the problems we are facing in this country today cannot be solved by any man or woman without the help and direction of Almighty God. King Solomon asked for God's wisdom in leading, and it is my prayer that you will as well."
Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the global humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, announced in April that he will be traveling in 2016 to all 50 U.S. states in an attempt to rally Christians to vote in political elections and to run for office.
"I've lived long enough to learn that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can turn this country around; no political party or politician is the answer. The only hope for this country is Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ," Graham said in an earlier Facebook post.
"Next year I am planning to travel to all 50 states to conduct prayer rallies - we are calling this the Decision America Tour. I want to challenge Christians to boldly live out their faith and to pray for our nation and its leaders. I want to encourage Christians to get out and vote, and to cast their ballots for candidates who uphold biblical principles," he continued.
"I want to strongly urge Christians to run for public office at every level - local, state, and federal. We will not be endorsing any political candidates, but I will be proclaiming the truth of God's Gospel in every state."
Graham concluded by stating that further details about the Decision America Tour will come later, and asked for prayers.