The following letter by Catholic League president Bill Donohue to Rep. James Comer, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, explains why he wants the FBI to authorize the release of the “Nashville Manifesto” kept by mass murderer Audrey Hale.

June 17, 2024

Hon. James Comer
Committee on Oversight and Accountability
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6143

Dear Chairman Comer:

As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, it is my job to combat anti-Catholicism. I am writing to you because you are in a position to inquire why the FBI is stopping the public release of documents pertaining to the mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee on March 27, 2023. That is when a 28-year-old female, Audrey Hale, shot and killed three children and three adults at Covenant School.

Hale, who falsely identified as a male, kept a journal, more commonly known as the Nashville manifesto. Nashville Police Chief John Drake said after the shootings that “There’s some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school.”

Covenant is a Christian school. The police said that the school and the church were both targeted. Hale once attended the school and reportedly disparaged her parents for not supporting her “transition.”

On April 24, 2023, I issued a news release asking, “So where’s the manifesto? Who’s holding it back? What’s driving this decision?” Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett said at that time that it was the FBI that was holding it back. He was right.

We now know that it was the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit that “strongly discourage[d]” the Metro Nashville Police Department from releasing the manifesto. It said it represents a “legacy token” that could be exploited by other mass murderers.

I am a sociologist who has taught courses on criminology and written extensively about it. Moreover, in my role as a Catholic civil rights leader, I have investigated, and written about, the extent to which a strong anti-Christian animus is prevalent among transgender persons.

Accordingly, it is imperative that Christians learn if Hale’s offenses were in any way driven by hatred against them. The police have admitted that she planned her attack “over a period of months.” Indeed, they said her crimes were “calculated and planned.” Given that she gave great thought to what she was planning, it would be instructive to know what she had to say about Christians. Moreover, the Daily Wire recently obtained selections from her journal entry that expressly show a strong hostility to Christianity.

As I pointed out last year, the FBI elite have had their reputations sullied by probing innocent traditional Catholics. “Given this situation,” I said, “are we to believe that if a crazed Catholic were to blow up an abortion clinic, killing six people, and law enforcement found a manifesto detailing his motive, that the FBI would censor its release? Or would it be more likely to make it public?”

Please do what you can to have the FBI release Hale’s manifesto. Christians should not be kept in the dark, especially when the contents of her journal may reveal information that is threatening to them.


William A. Donohue, Ph.D.


cc: Rep. Tim Burchett

Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary

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