Who are the “snake handlers” and where do they come from? “Snake handlers” are a small group of Pentecostal Christians–started in Appalachia during the Holiness revival movements and still operating today. They get all worked up and get “the anointing” which means they enter a trance like state through hyper emotionalism then they pass around live rattlesnakes. If you get bit you’re a sinner and deserve to die. If you are not bitten or are bitten and survive you’re a true believer.
It comes from today’s gospel reading.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The existence of the snake handlers with their peculiar and dangerous practices raises some questions of an ecumenical nature which are interesting and amusing. Read more.