Saturday, June 02, 2012

An Enigma

A pastor recently died after handling a Timber rattlesnake. The venom from a snakebite on his thigh caused his death. According to one newspaper report he was initially taken to a family member's home to recover and only when his condition worsened was he transported to the hospital. Perhaps had he gone to the hospital immediately he'd still be alive—but that's conjecture.

Snake handling as part of religious services is banned in all states save West Virginia and this took place in that state. This pastor took some scripture quite literally. His own father had died the same way, but that didn't dissuade him.

Before I assign this to the hollers of West Virginia and before I consign it to a too literal interpretation I want to hold it up to other risk taking.

Snake handlers believe that they are showing a belief in God. The overwhelming majority of Christians across the spectrum of beliefs disagree with their interpretation of scripture.

I checked out some information about this practice which is almost totally confined within the communities of Appalachia and found this article in the Washington Post .

Why I Watched a Snake Handling Pastor Die for His Faith
The article is written by Lauren Pond —a photojournalist.

What part does poverty and isolation play in this practice?


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