snake handlers

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snake handlers

A movement of loosely organised fundamentalist Pentecostal churches, ministers and itinerant preachers, who handle poisonous snakes as part of their weekly ritual and sermons. Snake handling is a ritual based on an interpretation of Mark 16:17-20 and Luke 10:19 in the Bible. George Went Hensley (born circa 1880) began the practice in 1908, and is commonly considered the "father of contemporary serpent handling"; he died in 1955 from a snake bite.

There are between 1000 and 2000 snake handler church members, including those who do not handle snakes. The practice is controversial in that it pits the US First Amendment freedoms of religious expression against the states’ interest in protecting the safety of snake handlers’ minor children and other non-participants, potentially triggering felony charges against participants.
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Some of them treat expected topics such as the Azusa Street Mission and Revival, baptism of the Holy Spirit, exorcism, prophecy, snake handling, healing, and the Word of Faith movement.
After donning forensic suits they entered the property carrying a snake handling pole and over the next 20 minutes removed about a dozen large tupperware boxes each containing a snake - some labelled with names.
The practice of snake handling in the United States was first documented in the mountains of East Tennessee in the early 20th Century, according to Paul Williamson, a professor of psychology at Henderson State University who, along with Hood, co-wrote a book about snake handlers called, ''Them That Believe.
Snake Salvation: They Shall Take Up Serpents, A Retrospective of Pastor Coots' Belief in to the Religious Ritual of Snake Handling, Premieres This Thursday, Feb.
America today has a very mixed religious following, including a Christian snake handling sect.
Snake handling is illegal in several states, including Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Mabudafhasi said through the project, women have acquired skills in waste management, occupational health and safety, identification of alien weeds and herbicide application, water safety, snake handling, first aid, environmental education and life skills.
Dennis Covington's Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia was a 1995 National Book Award finalist in nonfiction.
Those espousing the snake handling practice based their belief upon Mark 16, verses 17-18.
Most bear as much similarity to the theocratic fanatics of Al Qaeda and Taliban as Archbishop Rowan Williams does to the snake handling sects of Appalachia.
From different kinds of snake bites and the world's most dangerous snakes to snake handling methods, SNAKE BITE pairs dramatic photos with natural science, while PIRANHAS covers oddities such as a man who works with killer snails and how a fish can turn you into a zombie.
At various times in his life, the Indiana-born former Quaker championed snake handling, advocated airplane and print evangelism, and hoped to restore the untarnished Christianity of the New Testament.