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Feb 16 2014

TV Snake-Handler Dies (Spoiler: Not Old Age)

There once was a pastor
Who handled some snakes
For goodness’ sakes—
He handled snakes!
(He knew the stakes)

There once was a serpent
With venomous bite
Oh, what a plight!
A venomous bite!
(And deadly, quite)

The pastor, he handled;
The serpent, he bit
With a venomous spit
He bit and bit
(And wouldn’t quit)

The pastor’s behavior
Had faith as its source
With no remorse,
His faith was his source
(He died, of course)

Via Doubtful News, we hear the utterly predictable news of the death of a snake-handling pentecostal preacher, from (naturally) snakebite.

In an era of sophisticated theology, yes, snake-handlers still exist. Though, frankly, not a lot of them, despite how often the same group makes the news. Usually, for dying by snake bite.

I wonder, sometimes, what it would be like to be from a family where you pretty much all eventually died from completely preventable, proudly public, dangerous behavior. Do the extended relatives admit their connection? Are they proud? Ashamed? Anyway, my condolences to the family–may this be the last one to die in this manner.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Al Dente

    Pentacostal snake-handling has always struck me as being on the same level as the guy whose last words are: “Hey watch this…hold my beer while I do it!”

  2. 2
    Menyambal

    Mark 16:18 (King James Version) “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

    That sounds like a commandment to me. And yeah, there are poison drinkers for Jesus.

    It was the last thing the resurrected Jesus said on earth, and it was given as a way to identify his followers by practical test.

    I’d be laughing at the Christians who aren’t handling snakes, except I am sad for the ones who do.

  3. 3
    Pliny the in Between

    I doubt this has any lasting affect on the faithful since the Great Pumpkin fallacy will likely persist.

  4. 4
    Marcus Ranum

    Hasn’t that whole piece of the bible been determined to be a late addition? I.e.: “OOPS!”

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    Thinking about my post @1, there’s a major similarity between the two sets of people I referred to. One set is saying “Hey guys, let me impress you by doing something incredibly stupid” and the other set is saying “Hey Jesus, let me impress you by doing something incredibly stupid.”

  6. 6
    jnorris

    Are they proud? Damn Yes! Jesus called the preacher home, HALLELUIAH!!!!

  7. 7
    stever

    Darwin Award!

  8. 8
    DonDueed

    I wonder, sometimes, what it would be like to be from a family where you pretty much all eventually died from completely preventable, proudly public, dangerous behavior.

    You might ask the Wallendas.

  9. 9
    Cuttlefish

    I was trying to think of an example–I was thinking probably auto racing, but I don’t know the dynasties well enough.

  10. 10
    keithb

    Tonio K had this covered in the ’80s:

    I HANDLE SNAKES

    it’s my life
    it’s my decision
    it’s my idea of a good time
    it’s my religion
    i don’t make no sudden movements
    can’t afford to make mistakes
    i’m a fearless man
    i handle snakes (y’all)

    the lord of hosts
    has got to like me
    else this thing here
    (this one right here)
    would surely strike me
    the one man lays down 10 percent
    another man trembles and quakes
    i save my money
    i handle snakes (y’all)

    i handle snakes
    well i hug ‘em and i kiss ‘em
    i handle snakes
    and if they kill me
    i’ll sure miss ‘em

    (i handle snakes
    i love it when they listen
    listen)
    i handle snakes
    and if they kill me
    i’m sure gonna miss ‘em

    ’cause it’s my life
    it’s my decision
    it’s my idea of a good time (yes it is yes it is)
    it’s my religion
    However
    i don’t say hallelujah
    i don’t even say grace
    but i make my statement
    i say it with snakes

  11. 11
    memehunter

    Virulent institutionalized insanity. Exposing children to such beliefs is child abuse. Where are the Child Protective Services when you need them?

    Presumably “taking up serpents” is symbolic of defeating the original serpent who led humans astray. Double insanity.

    Slow, gradual exposure to venom, like a vaccine, can, indeed, build immunity to larger doses. And there are skillful ways of handling poisonous snakes. The cobra handlers in Thailand have techniques for not getting bitten and for letting the mongoose do the winning as tourist entertainment..

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