Employee Tossed Out of VA Medical Facility By Security for Complaining about Hallway Bible Giveaway

Jesse Gonzales called the incident a “slap in the face”‘ for himself and other veterans.

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A dental assistant at a Veterans Administration medical facility in Arizona claims he was forcibly ejected from his workplace by security after he complained about evangelicals being given free rein to hand out Bibles in the hallways, reports the Arizona Republic.

According to Air Force veteran Jesse Gonzales, a dental assistant at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center, he was walking down the corridor when he was offered a Bible by one of three men sitting a table. Gonzales says as he was returning, he was stopped again, at which time he asked the group if they were authorized to proselytize on federal property.

Gonzales stated that an argument ensued, with one of the men cursing him, using the “F-word." They insisted that they had a legal right to be in the building.

The vet, who stated he is affiliated with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, continued to argue, causing a crowd to gather at which time security was summoned. Gonzales stated he was then forced out of the building by the security officers after they told the men at the table they could stay.

According to Gonzales, as an employee he had a right to be there, while the evangelicals did not.

“These guys weren’t even supposed to be there,” Gonzales says. “And here they were yelling at me? I believe in the Constitution. But then the police hauled me away.”

A further investigation by the hospital revealed that the Bible distributors represented Native American Marriage Enhancement, a Pentecostal ministry. The review also disclosed the group had been refused a solicitation permit by the Phoenix VA Employees Association on the grounds that they “did not act in good faith” when applying.

While a hospital spokesperson apologized to anyone who was “inadvertently offended,” by the Bible giveaway, Gonzales said it wasn’t enough, calling the incident a “slap in the face”‘ for himself and other veterans who complained, as well as stating he was embarrassed at being treated “like some sort of criminal.”

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Tom Boggioni is a writer in San Diego, Calif.