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'Jesus Shot' lands Texas official in hot water

Just what is a Jesus Shot? Is it the little cup your pastor hands you during communion? Or maybe something you'd order at Edna's?

Whatever it is, it's landed the Texas state agriculture commissioner in hot water.

Last month, the Houston Chronicle reported that Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller made a taxpayer-funded trip to Oklahoma in February 2015, supposedly for business purposes. Miller said he scheduled the visit to meet with Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese and a few lawmakers. But the newspaper suggests Miller actually made the trip north to receive a Jesus Shot, a controversial but legal injection available only from Dr. John Michael Lonergan, a physician in Kingfisher.

Lonergan, who had his medical license revoked in Ohio before he came to Oklahoma, claims the injection takes away pain for life.

Reji Varghese, deputy director of the Oklahoma Medical Board, said Lonergan is a physician in good standing and has no disciplinary actions on his record.

Miller, a former rodeo cowboy, suffers from chronic pain and acknowledged to the Chronicle that he had received the injection. He wouldn't say whether he received the injection during the February 2015 trip.

During the February 2015 trip, Miller was scheduled to meet with Reese and several other Oklahoma agriculture officials for a morning meeting at Cattlemen's Steakhouse. But an hour and a half after the meeting was scheduled to begin, Miller still hadn't arrived. After calling his phone several times, Reese left the restaurant.

Blayne Arthur, deputy commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, told the Oklahoman that it's unusual for an agriculture commissioner from another state to schedule an in-person meeting with Oklahoma agriculture officials. Even more unusual was the fact that Miller never showed up for the meeting, she said.

On March 21, the liberal advocacy group Progress Texas filed a complaint asking the Texas Rangers to investigate whether Miller had misused government funds by making the trip.

Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the department would review the complaint.

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›