A dental assistant at a Veterans Administration medical facility in Arizona claims he was forcibly ejected from his place of work 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 one of the corridors when he was offered a Bible by one of three men sitting a table. Gonzales says he 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 if the men cursing him -- using the "F-word" -- was 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 that he was then forced out of the building by the security officers after they told the men at the table they could stay and continue.
According to Gonzales, as an employee he had a right to be there-- 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 reveled 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."