Snakes and banjo's and Christians (oh my!)

Anybody read about the christian sect in Florida who are appealing a court ruling that denies them the use of poisonous reptiles in their religious ceremonies? They believe that certain Bible passages tell them to handle snakes during services (!?!).

I personally have no problem with this practice (hey, I see it as Darwinian evolution in action, and besides, any ex-Catholics like myself will tell you mass could use some livening up), but all the articles fail to mention WHICH tract in the bible these folks have latched onto. Are they reading the same King James as everybody else? Maybe their copy has a missprint (“Lo, look at the snakes of the fields, for they toil not…”).

Adam “Inky” Greene

Mar 16:18 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

Of course, I don’t see them passing out the Jonestown Kool-Aid at services. Some people don’t believe in a God smart enough to use figurative speech…

If Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, why don’t more preachers go into the excavation business?

I have only one comment (okay, maybe more than one):

Stupid, foolish, ignorant, moronic, did I say stupid? Aaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhh!

Every hear the old saying “Don’t push your luck”?

Hey, hey, HEY! I play the banjo, and I believe in God, but I ain’t picking up no snake! Them things is evil.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

“Do you mean to tell me that if the Lord commanded you to take up the serpent, you wouldn’t take him up?”

I said “Yes ma’am, I surely would. But He didn’t and I ain’t”.

– Here Come the Rattlesnakes

Actually, they often pass around a mason jar full of arsenic (IIRC, that was the deadly poison of choice).

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My husband caught a TV show about these snake handling people…The best part was they were really sloped forheaded, crosseyed, Slingblade looking folks. They were chanting and doing the snake thing and drinking arsenic (only it was handwritten on the label in about 3 year old writing “arsinek” or something)
Totally bizzaro. One guy had a bunch of healing bites on him. Hmmmmmm…

Run for the hills, folks! Or you’ll be up to your armpits in martians!

Taking up serpents is nothing new; it’s been done, mostly in rural West Virginia and Kentucky, for at least 150 years. Holiness Pentacostal is the name of the denomination. From what I understand snake handling is not an everyday activity, just a special sacrament performed every once in a while.
As far as banjos go, the “formal” Baptist church’s concept of music didn’t include anything that wasn’t a piano or pipe organ. Well, just try and get one of those up a mountain.
Other instruments frequently used during H.P. services include the guitar, fiddle, trumpet, and washboard. Their music reflects the deepest and most heartfelt influences of the American music tradition.
I recommend the seminal album Mountain Music of Kentucky (Smithsonian/Folkways), now 40 years old and reissued, for cultural context.
They don’t deserve bashing as per the manner above. They are sincere in their Christian beliefs and most of those people appear to live to quite advanced ages.