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If you read the headlines on Christian websites, you’d think a Christian was kicked out of a New Jersey gym for praying for a man who was physically hurt.

As those websites tell it, Craig Fasler, an evangelist with Christian Equippers International, was at Retro Fitness in Manahawkin when he saw an aching man in the locker room. He asked the man if he could pray for him… and that’s when the trouble started:

The man agreed, and Fasler “spoke to his muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones and commanded that they be healed. I bound all pain, and stiffness, and loosed flexibility, strength and elasticity. I thank You, Jesus, for healing him.

“I prayed three to four times as the healing came progressively, until he was completely freed of pain,” Fasler tells Charisma News. “He was very grateful.”

When an employee overheard Fasler had been praying, Fasler says she said she was an atheist and offended at the prayer.

The employee then reportedly called the manager, who told her to call the police. When the officers arrived, they allegedly escorted Fasler out of the gym.

Whoa! That seems like quite the overreaction for a guy who was just trying to help. Sure, the prayers were probably useless, but the man in pain seemed to welcome them… so what’s the big deal? This appears to be a case of anti-Christian bigotry by an atheist staffer.

Except that’s not what the gym says.

In a post on Facebook, the gym explained that Fasler wasn’t kicked out over the prayers — in fact, they welcome that sort of kind gesture. He was kicked out because he was annoying the shit out of everybody.

Mr Fasler, after several unsolicited advances upon members of offers to be touched, so as to be “healed” or to join in prayer, was informed they did not wish to do so at that time. Members again had to inform Mr Fasler they did not wish to be touched, prayed for or healed, and that they simply wished to continue their workout and to be left alone. After continuing with said behavior, although he was asked to stop several times by members, an employee intervened and informed Mr Fasler he was making several members feel uncomfortable. He was asked to stop by the employee, he replied he would not stop. He was then informed if he did not stop, he would be asked to leave. He replied he would not leave. It was at this time our employee felt she had no other option, but to call local authorities and let them handle the situation as they deemed necessary.

It wasn’t that Fasler prayed for one guy who welcomed it. He was trying to pray for people who wanted nothing to do with him.

The gym also says the word “atheist” never came up in any of these conversations.

So we have two conflicting accounts of what happened. Who are you going to believe? The gym that wants to make sure all guests feel comfortable in their space… or the Christian whose ministry is all about taking Jesus “onto the streets” and engaging in “personal evangelism”?

I’m guessing the guy who lives in a Christian Persecution bubble misinterpreted the response to his annoying ways. He saw everyone in the gym as targets for proselytizing, while they saw him as an unwanted distraction. When the staff asked Fasler to leave, he assumed it was because of his religion and not because he was bothering the hell out of everybody.

That’s the version of this story that makes the most sense. Not the one in which a Christian is punished for by the protagonist in the next God’s Not Dead movie.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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