Arizona dental assistant sworn at for refusing a free Bible

Arizona dental assistant sworn at for refusing a free Bible

Mikey Weinstein, above, founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, stepped in to defend a dental assistant who claims he was abused after refusing a Bible from a group of Christians who infiltrated a Phoenix hospital.

According to this report, Jesse Gonzales, a dental assistant at the Carl T Hayden Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was on a break when three men at a table offered him a free Bible.

Gonzales, an Air Force veteran, says he politely refused and proceeded into the canteen to purchase a snack.

However, when he was solicited again on the return trip, Gonzales says he asked whether the group was authorised to promote religion on federal property.

As Gonzales tells it, the youngest evangelist reacted angrily, using the “F” word and claiming to have VA authorisation as well as a legal right to pass out scriptures.

Weinstein says he was stunned by Gonzales’ experience, and contacted the hospital’s then-acting Director, Shawn Bransky, who agreed the incident was not handled appropriately.

Gonzales, who is affiliated the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says a crowd gathered as the argument erupted into shouted expletives on both sides.

Two VA police officers showed up and escorted him Gonzales away. They insisted he leave while the religious handouts continued.

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

Weinstein said the problem goes deeper because other religious organisations also solicit inside the Phoenix VA hospital, including at least one Christian university.

This does not appear to be an isolated incident. You can’t engage the machinery of the state – the awesome power of federal government – to push your faith.

A hospital spokesman said the Bible distributors represented Native American Marriage Enhancement, a Pentecostal ministry. The group’s website says it is operated by John and Doris Knoles in affiliation with Dream City Church, formerly Phoenix First Assembly, and exists:

To provide free collegiate-level Pentecostal biblical and marital studies to our First Nations for spiritual growth and familial enrichment.

Gonzales says he tried to lodge a complaint internally, then contacted Mikey Weinstein.

Gonzales says Bransky later apologised, noting that the Bible group was unauthorised and promised to issue an explanatory email to VA employees.

Gonzales says he was thrilled at the positive response – until he saw message Bransky circulated. It said that the Bible distributors were denied a solicitation permit by the Phoenix VA Employees Association and “did not act in good faith.” It also offered regrets from the association to anyone “inadvertently offended”.

But Gonzales says the message amounted to a “slap in the face” for him and other upset veterans because it did not address his embarrassment at being treated “like some sort of criminal”.

Hat tip: Ron Medcalf

14 responses to “Arizona dental assistant sworn at for refusing a free Bible”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Pardon the choice of words here, but these xtian firebrands think they have a god-given right to do whatever they want and to have access to whomever they want. It’s insane.No they don’t and no they shouldn’t.

    Over the years my partner and I have spent time on several Native American ‘reservations’ in the USA where it still isn’t uncommon to see signs such as ‘Jesus is Lord on the ‘Blankety-Blank’ reservation’. But you start talking to these people, especially over a jug or three of beer, and you soon realise just how oppressed they still are. Just how much they still feel under the heel of ‘the white man’. It’s disgraceful. And yet the evangelising goes on and on precisely because these are seriously disadvantaged people with terrible social problems who are easy prey for the lies and false hope these idiots offer them.And let us not forget that they became seriously disadvantaged in the first place by the very same bunch of crooked xtians who now wish to offer them salvation.

    Instead of offering Native Americans hope via an imaginary and utterly ineffective friend, wouldn’t it just be wonderful if they could be given a way out through eduction and enlightenment?

    We live in hope.

  2. Rob Andrews says:

    I’ve had the same expierence with JW’s who come to my door all the time. And yes they do have a god given right to evangelize and more! Next time somebody says “Xtianity is peaceful”. Refur him to this.

    LUKE 19:27- “But these mine enemies,who would that i should not rule over them, bring them and sleigh them before me”.

    “Christianity may be non-violent; but it doesn’t work well in practice.”.–
    Mohatma Gandhi

  3. Cali Ron says:

    AC: I couldn’t agree more. Native American’s have been persecuted, had their land, heritage and beliefs stolen and in return Christians want to proselytize them. Haven’t they suffered enough.

    Twice in my life I spent a week each on 2 reservations, one near Winslow, AZ and the other near Cibecue, AZ with a church youth group (we were supposedly there to help the Indians, but all we really did was paint the missionaries church and go door to door proselytizing). It was one of the moments of introspection that lead to my rejecting religion and the church.

    The poverty, substandard living conditions and alcoholism are rampant while jobs, medical care and educational opportunities are practically non existent. Religion has done nothing for these people, but help keep them in poverty and ignorance.

  4. Peter Ratcliff says:

    Rob Andrews: exactly how do you “sleigh” someone? Is it by using a “smitten”?
    Luke’s always been my favourite, a laugh a minute.

  5. Trevor Blake says:

    It’s okay. Christians don’t mind when atheists or representatives of other religions show up at their places of worship and, during services, hand out literature. Give it a try some time and see the welcoming friendly faces.

    Nah, it’s always a one-way street with every religion.

  6. Rob Andrews:
    That verse in Luke is part of the parable of the talents–i.e.not to be taken literally. ‘sleigh’ should read ‘slay’.

  7. L.Long says:

    Well he should sue the pants off the police and his employer! Why not? He is now a marked man and chances are the employer will find some way to get rid of him. All the director did is say it is sad??? Really? the director allowed those ahole in, allowed them to stay there. Good luck Gonzales you will need it!

  8. Bob Andrews says:

    Gonzales brought his “marked man” situation upon himself! Future Employers will view him as trouble.

  9. Laura Roberts says:

    I’d bet a lot of money that these proselytising cretins have “Support the troops” bumper stickers on their cars.

  10. Ed McGaa says:

    We Sioux have kicked the Christian Wackos out of our ceremonies. They lie pretty low once we brought our Sun Dance , sweat lodges back onto our reservations. Thanks to MLK Civil Rights. They are simply our way of thanking Great Mystery. Yah, Great Mystery. No one knows who , what the Hell IT (not He or She) exactly is If you try and proselytize me into believing that you are some kind of Wacko Authoritarian know-it- All, you are simply a bold faced Liar. No one Knows exactly. At least we Sioux are not a pack of blaspheming Liars. “Thou shalt not have Other Gods before thee.” Creator, up on Mt. Sinai.

  11. BF says:

    You know there are a lot of Christians who are Native Americans who evangelize their own people because of the things they are in spiritual bondage to like alcohol and demonic spirits. One such ministry is called C.H.I.E.F. which is a Christian ministry operated by Native Americans.

  12. BF says:

    @Laura Roberts,

    Yes many Christians do have support our troops bumper stickers on our cars because we do support our troops!!

  13. Daz says:


    “like alcohol and demonic spirits”

    One of these things does not exist. And nor, as far as I can tell, is the group in question the group you mention; so what was the point in bringing them into it?

    “Yes many Christians do have support our troops bumper stickers on our cars because we do support our troops!!”

    Laura Roberts’ comment was specifically targeted at people who, if they have such bumper stickers, are acting hypocritically since they are in fact harassing those troops. If you are not such a person, the comment wasn’t about you. You should have that hair-trigger offence-reflex looked at—it’s producing an unsightly stain where your thinky-organ should be.