Interesting read-Serpent Handling

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Emily, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Emily

    Emily
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    http://www.wku.edu/Dept/Academic/Ogden/Agriculture/david/lawtem.htm


    "Carlos Morris, a Barbourville attorney, says: "In the state of Kentucky you don't prohibit snake-handling anywhere except in church ... If you had a lawyers' convention and people got in a mood to handle snakes, they could. Or if you had a circus in town. If some of us wanted to get up and handle snakes, we could handle snakes. But you can't do it in a church." In that sense, he says, the law is too narrow: It should apply to everyone.
    The law is also too broad, he contends. "This statue prohibits the use of a reptile - any reptile - in a church service. Even assuming that the state has a legitimate interest in keeping people from using poisonous snakes in a church service, this statute is prohibiting harmless snakes, frogs, lizards."
    Morris' wife and partner, Lois, says: "The law is affecting only people who want to handle serpents in church. It's directly infringing only on the rights of religious people - no one else ..."
     
  2. frozencell

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    Why handle a snake except at a zoo or a nature hike, anyhow, if you don't own one as a pet???

    This seems frivilous.
     
  3. Emily

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    If you read the whole story, its fascinating actually. I guess there are a couple of different groups who do this, but the biggest is called "The church of God with signs following".. Another is Pentecostal Holiness.

    The key scriptures they use are found in 16:17-18

    17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
    18 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.


    THe key word here is "Shall".. They take it extra-literal.. "If we dont pick up snakes, then we make Jesus a liar", is a quote from another source..


    It also should be noted, that signs followers are also KJV-only, in case that were to be brought up.


    I find weird phenomenons like this very interesting to learn about, and I also found the story which I posted a link to very informative..
     
  4. frozencell

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    I wasn't trying to belittle your post, if you got that impression. I find things like this fascinating, too. I was just stating that my personal preference is to leave poisonous snakes alone. But, hey, the Bible says that they can do it. He did it. I'm glad he's not dead. The Lord has anointed him.
     
  5. Meercat

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    Thanks for a rather interesting post, Emily!

    As a Catholic (former Pentecostal), I find it ludicrous as to why anyone would deliberately handle snakes. But the law mentioned in your post is VERY discriminating and should never have been. If these people feel enhanced in a religious way by handling the snakes and as long as they don't just set them loose "willy-nilly" when they are done with them, then what is the harm done? There are people who own reptiles for NO religious reason who take far worse care of them than the pastor mentioned in your link. That's my 2 cents worth anyway. - Meercat
     
  6. Dan Stiles

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    Thanks for reminding me. I think I'll take a turtle to church for a Children's lesson illustration. BTW, we're in Northern Kentucky.
     
  7. D28guy

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    There are churches, lots of them, all through the Appalachian mountains, and further down in the south,(and also *occasionally* in the north from what I hear) that handle snakes.(I live in beautiful Kentucky, btw)

    To me, the error is in viewing the passage as saying christians "will take up serpents", as meaning they will routinely and deliberatly, as a regular religious practice, take up serpents to show how God keeps and protects them.

    We all have probably heard many many many testimonies from brothers and sisters who have found themselves in harms way, in a situation where the negative should have happened to them, but *mysteriously*(supernaturally?) it didnt.

    I believe that is what the scriptures mean, and I believe God still does protect us in that way when he chooses to.

    As a charismatic, I do however believe the gift of tongues are for today, and the other sign gifts as well. (Just had to get that in! ;) )

    God bless,

    Mike
     
  8. cotton

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    These folks also drink strychnine in there services.
    Cotton
     
  9. Emily

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    WHat is strychnine ?


    Anybody on this board ever been to one of these services?

    I would love to just go and watch..
     
  10. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
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    Playing with snakes and poisons is deliberately testing God. "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
     
  11. donnA

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    It's a poison.


    I saw a documentary on this once.
    If you went they'd blame you when one of them was bitten or was poisioned, they'd say you didn't have faith and no one is allowed there who doesn't have 'enough' faith to keep them from dying from their dangerous acts.
     
  12. Emily

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    really?


    well then I would love to see a documentary on this..

    Too bad the local blockbuster doesnt rent stuff like this out.
     
  13. UncleRay

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    If you have real interest in snake handling, I would recommend a very good book on the subject.
    Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington.
    Check out the reviews on Amazon. It is available in a lot of libraries.

    Covington was a reporter covering an attempted murder trial of a snake handling preacher in Alabama. Seems he tried to force his wife's hand into the snake box to kill her. I believe that she was bitten but did not die.

    I know it all seems strange but Covington addresses the faith of these people with respect.

    Enjoy the read,
    Uncle Ray
     
  14. donnA

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    I can't remember what channel I saw this on, I'm thinking prehaps Discovery, something like that.
    If you have a good library you might be able to find a book on it. I once got one from a near by library, while it was at least 20 years old it was informative on where and when this started and how it spread, and how different things are done in those churches. The only real difference between this and the documentry was seeing the churches and the snake handing and the intervirews of people from the churches.
     
  15. D28guy

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    I know people who go to churches like that. They should be treated with respect. They are not a buch of crazy lunatics. These are, for the most part, people who love God, and have a rock solid faith in him and His scriptures, and they are preaching the gospel.

    They are simply in error in this area, of course. And sometimes others. They can at times be very very legalistic.

    Blessings,

    Mike
     
  16. gb93433

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    They had a documentary on TV about this and some have been bitten and died. I wonder what that does to their theology when one dies. I guess that person is eliminated quicker. Isn't that kind of like testing God.
     
  17. donnA

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    When one of them dies they say there was someone there that night who was weak in faith, which is not necessarily the one who died.
    It's all testing God.
     
  18. donnA

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    I agree they usually are christian who are serious about God. But they have been taught errors, and not just the snake handling from what I heard them saying. I do not recall specifics either.
     
  19. donnA

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  20. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    You coulcn't get me anywhere NEAR a church like that. I live in Texas, and we have enough snakes outside to contend with, let alone bringing them into the church!!

    I also find it ludicrus that everyone for the most part is tippy toeing around this topic, and seem strangely interested, but when the gifts of the spirit are mentioned, a lot of people get all hot and bothered and start saying, oh no thats not right!!

    Well let me tell you, snake handling is tempting God, and He protects them because of their ignorence of the matter, not for any other reason.

    But let me say this, if you accidently come upon a snake, and you are a believer, God will protect you by showing it to you, having you avoid it, etc.

    Tam
     

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