Late North Carolina evangelist Billy Graham was threatened more than once, and called a “phony preacher” in letters newly released by the FBI.
The massive document, containing close to 500 pages of material on Graham, has been released nearly 10 months following the world famous preacher’s death in February at the age of 99.
Some letters that Graham received threatened his life, along with the lives of then-President Gerald Ford, former President Richard Nixon, members of the CIA, and other institutions.
One hand-written letter from March 4, 1975 reads:
“We are sending a copy of this letter to that phony preacher man Billy Graham — he is as wicked as the CIA.”
It adds: “We are fed up with such wickedness in high places and it time to kill all the CIA men. Old phony Graham don’t preach on CIA from the Bible because he don’t know his Bible that well.”
As WSOC pointed out, federal agents determined that the letter was written by a mentally ill woman from Iowa.
The woman, whose name was withheld, was not prosecuted, in part because of her “mental aberration,” and also because “the ability on the part of the writer to carry out the threats seems remote and the letters (which are similar in content) are more in the nature of remarks by an irate citizen voicing complaints about the government in general.”
When questioned by the FBI, the woman “at times would break down into tears and cry long passages from the Bible and within the next minute she would be laughing and carrying on a jovial conversation.”
Another letter Graham’s office received threatened to “to kill all the FBI,” and to “kill Billy Graham.”
A separate letter, also determined to have been written by a possibly mentally disturbed person, argued that “world leaders are mentally ill,” that “they most be destroyed,” and that “time has come to kill world leaders for crime in high places.”
Religious and political leaders around the world hailed Graham’s impact on spreading the Gospel when he passed away in February.
The preacher was known as “pastor to the presidents,” having met every U.S. president since World War II through Barack Obama.
Former President Bill Clinton said of the evangelist back in 2007 at the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte:
“Every life Billy Graham ever touched — including people who never became president, never spoke at a crusade — is better because he was a good and faithful servant of the two most important commandments (to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself).”