Snake Handling

This is a short video piece shot during services at a Snake handling church in West Virginia. The music is a rocking hybrid of blues infused gospel.

Wikipedia’s article on snake handling:

As in the early days, worshippers are still encouraged to lay hands on the sick (cf. Faith healing), speak in tongues (cf. Glossolalia), and provide testimony of miracles. Gathering mainly in homes and converted buildings, they generally adhere to strict dress codes such as uncut hair, no cosmetics and ankle-length dresses for women, and short hair and long-sleeved shirts for men. Most snakehandlers preach against any use of all types of tobacco and alcohol. They also abstain from holidays such as birthdays, Halloween and Christmas, dismissing them and other holidays as worldly, pagan and nonscriptural.

Most religious snake handlers are still found in the Appalachian Mountains and other parts of the southeastern United States, especially in such states as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Ohio. However, they are gaining steady recognition from news broadcasts, movies and books about the non-denominational movement.

In 2001, there were about 40 small churches that practiced snake handling, most considered to be holiness-Pentecostals or charismatics. In 2004, the practice moved across the border and there were four snake handling congregations in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Most, if not all, use the King James Version of the Bible and consider other versions to be demonic or false. Like their predecessors, they believe in a strict and literal interpretation of the Bible. Most Church of God with Signs Following churches are non-denominational, believing that denominations are ‘man made’ and carry the Mark of the Beast. Worshippers often attend services several nights a week. Services, if the Holy Spirit “intervenes”, can last up to five hours, and the minimum time is usually ninety minutes.

Related:
Serpent Handlers

5 Comments

  1. I’ve been to several snake-handling churches, but only once did I see the snakes come out. They tend to not do that when strangers are around. Even without the snakes, the services can be frightening.

  2. I’ve always been amazed by this. I think I saw it on Dateline. This guy had 6 or 7 snakes on him and some are highly poisonous. Snakes for Jesus!

    I wonder how PETA feels about all this.

  3. They’re delusional, like all religious people — but there’s something to be said for putting your money where your mouth is.

    It isn’t any crazier than Catholics eating wafers and grape juice, pretending that it is the actual physical flesh and blood of Jesus.

  4. I am a frequent visitor to the serpent handlers and I believe that it is right. And if people say it is wrong then they need to be saying that things like the pregnent man and the gays and abortion and everything else in america is wrong.

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