Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents'

page: 1
9
<<   2 >>

log in

join

posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 07:16 PM
link   



Snake handlers dwell at the edge of the spiritual frontier — a community of people who are willing to die for their faith three times a week in church. Members of the Pentecostal Holiness Church take up venomous serpents to prove their faith in God. The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.

Worshiping with snakes dates back more than 100 years, but today, the major Pentecostal denominations denounce the practice.

There are an estimated 125 snake-handling churches scattered across Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Appalachia, where the tradition is strongest. Snakes in church are against the law everywhere but West Virginia, though in most states it's a misdemeanor offense the authorities don't bother with.


Skeptics wonder if snakes handled in religious services are milked, defanged, weakened by mistreatment or in any way made less deadly.

"It's kind of like playing Russian roulette. The more frequently you handle [snakes], the more likely you are to get a bite. Serpents don't get tamed," says Ralph Hood, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, who has documented hundreds of hours of serpent handling over 25 years. Having said that, Hood says he has brought herpetologists to services to try and understand why it is that handlers can pick up reptiles with impunity, even walk on them barefoot, and receive so few snake bites.

"All I know is that these people do handle [snakes], and most of the time they are not bit, and they can do what scientists think is not likely. Nobody has a good explanation," he says.

"Our message is not 'handle snakes, handle snakes, handle snakes,' " he says. "But our message is, 'Be saved by the blood of Christ.' We're not a cult. We're not freaks. We're Christians."

Both pastors have a parting message: Their snake-handling churches are open for services three nights a week. Everyone is welcome.
NPR

I am sorry but you will not get me within 5 miles of the place. I do not like snakes at all. However there has been a follow up article on the subject of why they may not be bitten as much.


Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling

The herpetologists at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo have been following the activities of Pentecostal snake handlers for years. They have watched hours of video of snake-handling services and examined snakes used in church.

"The animals that I've seen that have come from religious snake handlers were in bad condition," says Kristen Wiley, curator of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, a facility in the town of Slade that produces venom and promotes the conservation of snakes. "They did not have water. The cages had been left not cleaned for a pretty long period of time. And the other thing we noticed is there were eight or 10 copperheads in a container that was not very large."

What's more, she says there was no fecal material in the container, which indicated the snakes were not being fed. Riley says a snake that may be dehydrated, underweight and sick from close confinement is less likely to strike than a healthy snake. Moreover, the venom it produces is weaker.

What's more, she says there was no fecal material in the container, which indicated the snakes were not being fed. Riley says a snake that may be dehydrated, underweight and sick from close confinement is less likely to strike than a healthy snake. Moreover, the venom it produces is weaker.
NPR


In an interview one of the Pastors was asked how long his snakes live he said 3 to 4 months. The Kentucky Reptile Zoo reports that well-cared-for snakes can live 10 to 20 years in captivity. I had to scale down the quotes to get to the point but both articles have much more on the subject.

IMO considering they still get bit and live most of the time I think it has more to do with the snake’s health than anything else. I do believe the placebo effect helps those bitten but it doesn’t always save them. I remember watching an episode of Justified where a snake church was part of the story. Not many lived.

Before anyone says it they claim they are not a cult. All religions say that though.




posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 07:37 PM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Before anyone says it they claim they are not a cult. All religions say that though.

All organized religions have to say that. They also know their membership depends upon dependency.

These are misguided, imo. The bibles message was not that they should dance while holding snakes.

Many of these are charades anyway. I know snakes... defanged, well fed (sorry... or starved) serpents aren't going to bite much, especially if they aren't venomous in the first place. Part misguided, part charade. In the same league with faith healers and holy rollers.
edit on 19-10-2013 by intrptr because: clarification



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 07:46 PM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 

If the faithful are bitten in such 'showmanship', then they may come to be sorely reminded that they are not meant to test the Graces of the Heavens. This is counter to the Word of Instruction.
abcnews.go.com...

Isaiah 7:12
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.

Luke 4:12
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 09:23 PM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 


This part of the Bible, the Book of Mark, just after the women visit the tomb of Jesus, most scholars agree, was added. However, it makes me wonder about the Jesus / India connection. I don't know, maybe there are snake charmers elsewhere too, but it just makes me think that Jesus, or someone who had some influence on the scriptures, taught snake charming.



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 09:55 PM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 





The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.

Worshiping with snakes dates back more than 100 years, but today, the major Pentecostal denominations denounce the practice.

Snakes in church are against the law everywhere but West Virginia, though in most states it's a misdemeanor offense the authorities don't bother with.


Fire breathing snake biten' bible thumping Pentecostal's.
Doubtful anyone really cares much about these guys. The only ones they're possibly going to hurt is themselves. It's hidden as well, so you have to seek them out if you want to participate.

I can't see why it's even a misdemeanor. Except if they hurt the snakes, then this is more of a job the the SPCA.
edit on 163pm3737pm92013 by Bassago because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 10:31 PM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 


OK, as someone who comes from the background of having snake handling relatives, I will say this, it is not about worshiping the snake. They take them up as a demonstration of their faith. Now I was never allowed to go into their church while they were doing this, because my dad thought they were nuts, but I still heard the stories from my grandmother about her mother and snake handling.

My great-grandmother not only handled snakes, she also drank the coal oil and put her hands on the hot stove, to prove by her faith they would not burn. My mother remembers seeing this when she was a child and can tell you that my grandmother had a lot of faith and never had her hands burned. But aren't there also some religions where you walk on hot coals? Yes, there is.

But my great-grandmother also died from intestinal cancer, obviously from the coal oil. It took a long time, but eventually it happened.

Snake handlers believe in the scripture "and they shall take up serpents and if they drink any poisonous drink, it will not harm them". It's a part of their faith, as strange as it seems to everyone, it is their religious expression. Why not allow them to do this if this is what they want to do? They are not asking children to do it and they are not forcing their children to handle snakes or drink poison. As grown ups, they knew the risks, but it's part of their demonstration of faith. Why can't they be allowed to demonstrate their faith?



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 10:42 PM
link   
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Thanks for the insight. My grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia I never heard they were into things like that just the normal abusive family from what I have heard. However I didn’t read anywhere in the article where they had an issue as in trying to stop them. They can do what they want as far as I am concerned. I did read the pastors son was handling the snakes I am not sure of his age and from what I gathered there was a understanding if he was bit they wouldn’t seek medical attention.

I guess that would be the only thing that bothers me. I think it should be their obligation to seek medical assistance if someone was bit regardless of their wishes let them deny medical from the EMTs if it comes to that, They have lost people in the past. Faith is one thing but I think it should be the responsibility of the church to get help if things go bad.



posted on Oct, 19 2013 @ 11:09 PM
link   

Grimpachi
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Thanks for the insight. My grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia I never heard they were into things like that just the normal abusive family from what I have heard. However I didn’t read anywhere in the article where they had an issue as in trying to stop them. They can do what they want as far as I am concerned. I did read the pastors son was handling the snakes I am not sure of his age and from what I gathered there was a understanding if he was bit they wouldn’t seek medical attention.

I guess that would be the only thing that bothers me. I think it should be their obligation to seek medical assistance if someone was bit regardless of their wishes let them deny medical from the EMTs if it comes to that, They have lost people in the past. Faith is one thing but I think it should be the responsibility of the church to get help if things go bad.



The only reason they would not seek medical help is because it is illegal to handle snakes and they would go to jail. But they are not opposed to going to doctors, I know they do go. But if you get bit, it's because you lacked faith.....

These people know the risks. And they are not big churches either, usually they are family only in these small churches.

BTW, one of my great-grandfathers was a coal miner from West Virginia also. He was a Catholic from Ireland but converted in a faith healing service after my dad's aunt was healed of blindness. She was only eight years-old but never saw a day in her life before that. My great-grandfather had not wanted to go to the Holiness revival, but some men he worked with convinced him that it couldn't hurt. It didn't hurt at all, he finally relented and took his kids to the meeting. He didn't want to believe she could be healed, but the preacher prayed for her anyway and she was healed. This was not a snake handling church, this was the other side of the family. He then converted and my family has never been Catholic since then. That was in 1923 in Keystone, West Virginia.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 06:14 AM
link   
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


I don't have issues with them practicing their faith, but I DO have issues with not taking proper care of the snakes.

I read the articles and if Coots had to warn NPS about the smell before they even entered the shed, then there is a problem.

Not to mention just on the pics, the snakes do not look healthy and those cages .....


What was with the torch on the podium in one of those pics for? [or do I even want to know?]

As I said, I have no issues with the idea they want to practice their faith in this way, but seriously...

The person from the zoo wasn't slamming the 'power of God', but how Coots is not taking care of the snakes.

If this was a story about cute and fuzzy animals, then it would be all over the place about mistreatment, but because its just snakes...well....aren't they one of God's creatures too?

I am saddened by this story more than anything. Poor snakes

edit on 20-10-2013 by palmalBlue2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 06:58 AM
link   
I lived in Alabama for 9 years. There were snake handler cults around. We didn't go near them. That's crazy stuff. Every so often we'd hear in the news about someone getting bit by one at a 'service'.

I've read that snake tastes good .. like alligator or chicken. I suppose if these snake churches ever get tired of playing with the snakes, they could have a really good church BBQ and cook 'em all up .....



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 09:09 AM
link   

Grimpachi
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Thanks for the insight. My grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia I never heard they were into things like that just the normal abusive family from what I have heard.



Normal Abusive family? I don't understand. Could you please explain what you mean here?




I can't believe that people still believe any of this religion crap. aren't most religions copy=pasta from Egyptian religion? Horus = Jesus and all that? Most people I know are not religious and think it's all crap as well. I don't bash people who are though, but if they talk to me about it, I can explain it to them relatively quickly and they want no part of it. I like asking them who murdered Jesus Christ and why they murdered him. Was it the Khazars that Jesus whipped out of the temples? Wouldn't those be the people who had reason to murder him because he was exposing them?

It just blows me away that people can put so much blind faith into fairy tales. If there is a god, then he/it/she knows me.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 09:35 AM
link   
reply to post by Grimpachi
 


Why is it against the law to bring a serpent to church except in this one place? Which law is that breaking? The snake or people isn't being hurt and it's freedom of ecpression and religion



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 10:05 AM
link   

FlyersFan
I lived in Alabama for 9 years. There were snake handler cults around. We didn't go near them. That's crazy stuff. Every so often we'd hear in the news about someone getting bit by one at a 'service'.

I've read that snake tastes good .. like alligator or chicken. I suppose if these snake churches ever get tired of playing with the snakes, they could have a really good church BBQ and cook 'em all up .....


I've had alligator, it's not so bad.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 10:28 AM
link   

Fylgje

Grimpachi
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Thanks for the insight. My grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia I never heard they were into things like that just the normal abusive family from what I have heard.



Normal Abusive family? I don't understand. Could you please explain what you mean here?




I can't believe that people still believe any of this religion crap. aren't most religions copy=pasta from Egyptian religion? Horus = Jesus and all that? Most people I know are not religious and think it's all crap as well. I don't bash people who are though, but if they talk to me about it, I can explain it to them relatively quickly and they want no part of it. I like asking them who murdered Jesus Christ and why they murdered him. Was it the Khazars that Jesus whipped out of the temples? Wouldn't those be the people who had reason to murder him because he was exposing them?

It just blows me away that people can put so much blind faith into fairy tales. If there is a god, then he/it/she knows me.


Again, no. Jesus was not Horus. And no, Jesus didn't whip the Khazars, those were money lenders He whipped, and not even the Pharisees. You aren't going to explain anything to me, because I probably know more than you about the subject. When you make the claim that Jesus was Horus, please make sure your sources you quote from are correct. The sources who made you think Jesus was Horus, didn't even know the story of Horus to begin with. No, his mother was NOT a virgin, she had sex with the cut off part, that makes her NOT a virgin.

The Khazars came much, much later, during the time of the Islamic invasion into Afghanistan. So jump ahead 700 years to get from Jesus to the Khazars. Oh snap, that's a long time. So how again was it that Jesus whipped the Khazars when they didn't even exist during His time?

Horus was the falcon god. Let's see, is Jesus displayed ever as a falcon? No, never. And there were two different legends about his father, one was Ra and the other was Osiris. So which one is his father? As they both are mentioned, it therefore makes no sense you would compare this to Jesus.

Now, can you answer this simple question, if the Egyptians who had already worshipped Isis and had many temples of Isis in Egypt, then why didn't THEY say Jesus was a rip off of Horus? They never did, they never recognized Jesus as Horus, they never recognized Mary as Isis and they never recognized Yaweh as Ra.

The next question is this, why did the Romans not recognize Jesus as Horus when they knew about Horus and Isis because they knew about the temples of Isis. Why was there no recognition from the Romans?

And the third question, why didn't the Greeks mention this either?

And the fourth question, why didn't the Persians mention it either?

Four different concurrent religious states existing in the time of Christ and yet not one of those empires compared Jesus to Horus, being FULLY aware of the religion of Horus and Isis and had seen their temples to Isis. As not one single concurrent religious state even makes the comparison, then it only stands to reason that Jesus was NOT part of their religious systems. Why did all of these concurrent religions say that Christianity was such a different religion, that they called it superstitious because the Christians didn't worship their gods? If THEY acknowledge that Christianity DID NOT worship their gods, then it only stands to reason Jesus WAS NOT one of their gods. Do you understand that point now?

If Jesus were Horus, then the Egyptians would have recognized it, the Greeks would have said it, the Romans would have worshiped Him and the Persians would have given credence to it.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 10:42 AM
link   
reply to post by palmalBlue2
 


I didn't see the torch, I don't know what you mean. If there is a torch, then it is probably simply symbolic and doesn't mean anything other than just for light.

Usually the people who go out and get the snakes generally release them back in the wild after a few months, but they do feed them. It does depend on the time of the season they are caught. If they are caught during the Dog Days, then they would look like that as they are going through the shedding skin period. But they would keep them alive during the winter because they can't release them in the snow.

Snakes are blind during Dog Days, because of the shedding. As they can only feel vibrations then it makes it easier to catch them because they don't know what direction to go.

Funny and true story, one time when I was young and my parents had sent me to stay with cousins in Kentucky for the summer, we went to church with them (this was not one of the snake handling churches). As the service went on we heard from the outside a man begin to pray rather loudly. He was moaning out loud "Lord Jesus help me". People inside thought he was being convicted by the spirit. So when it was over and we went out, the man was standing there in shock because he had gone out to smoke and a rattler that was blind had crawled onto the porch where he was and he couldn't move, his hand was shaking the remnant of the cigarette butt. The snake was blind and very sensitive to his movement. He was stuck for over an hour waiting for church to be over, so I guess the moral of the story is, if you go to church in Kentucky, don't go out to smoke, snakes just might be waiting for you.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 10:53 AM
link   
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


Actually, she was considered a virgin. Women were taught to be "pure" out of respect for her.

People did recognize the plagiarism of Jesus from other gods such as Justin Martyr comparing a belief about The Sons of Jupiter to Jesus to get them to convert.

Horus and Jesus were both called "Bread of life", "Son of God" among many other names.

They both had a sermon on the mount and havr a prophecy about returning and reigning for 1, 000 years.


Jesus and Horus were both tempted on a mounted by a being of darkness (set-hen, satan)

And many other similarities , it goes on and on


The story of Jesus is fake, a rip-off

there are even more, like Jesus and Horus both having power to command storms to stop...
edit on 20-10-2013 by arpgme because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 11:09 AM
link   
reply to post by Fylgje
 





. Normal Abusive family? I don't understand. Could you please explain what you mean here?


It was west Virginia and my grandfather was a coal miner. Abusive family's were the norm in this age the kids would have been taken away and parents jailed. If you don't know what I am talking about then you and yours are lucky. There is plenty of documentation out there on the subject if you really want to know but this is all I am willing to say on the matter.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 11:38 AM
link   

Grimpachi
reply to post by Fylgje
 





. Normal Abusive family? I don't understand. Could you please explain what you mean here?


It was west Virginia and my grandfather was a coal miner. Abusive family's were the norm in this age the kids would have been taken away and parents jailed. If you don't know what I am talking about then you and yours are lucky. There is plenty of documentation out there on the subject if you really want to know but this is all I am willing to say on the matter.


I think maybe some people are not aware of what a coal camp was and who lived there. The mines were full of rough and tough men who lived their lives daily with death over their heads. After a while, that roughness made them hard and mean. You had to be to survive like that.

My grandfather worked a little time in the coal mines with his father and my dad was always telling me about the constant fighting in the coal camps and the drinking and carrying-on. But my grandfather was also a POW in Bataan, so he had PTSD from that experience.

Life in a coal camp was not easy or pleasant. Those men who worked also drank moonshine quite a bit, but still went to work. I know exactly what you mean.



posted on Oct, 20 2013 @ 05:58 PM
link   
reply to post by WarminIndy
 



Snake handlers believe in the scripture "and they shall take up serpents and if they drink any poisonous drink, it will not harm them". It's a part of their faith, as strange as it seems to everyone, it is their religious expression. Why not allow them to do this if this is what they want to do? They are not asking children to do it and they are not forcing their children to handle snakes or drink poison. As grown ups, they knew the risks, but it's part of their demonstration of faith. Why can't they be allowed to demonstrate their faith?

We are all given will to tempt His Graces by misinterpreting and misapplying scripture toward self-centered ends. It is one thing to be Divinely Protected under legitimate situations, another by the means that has killed already several believers that adhere to the Ignorance of wisdom with faulty perspective.



posted on Oct, 21 2013 @ 02:45 PM
link   
reply to post by WarminIndy
 


I come from a loooong line of coal miners and your generalization of them being abusive is assumption. Most of them that I ever knew about were very loving. Maybe a little strict, but not abusive. They worked in the mines to support the family that they loved. Maybe yours, or Grimpachi's family was dysfunctional and was abusive towards each other, but don't assume that it was "normal abuse". That's absurd and idiotic. It would be highly against the culture here. I'm not saying that there weren't some abusive men but you and your friend make it sound as if it were the norm, which again, is idiotic. And I do believe Jesus is a rip-off of Horus. Too many similarities. Besides, like I said, It's all fantasy and should have no place in a civilized world.
edit on 21-10-2013 by Fylgje because: to add to





new topics

top topics



 
9
<<   2 >>

log in

join