The Knoxville, TN, station WBIR has a report on an potential legal battle involving snake handling:
A LaFollette pastor headed to court next week for having dozens of poisonous snakes at his church said the laws he allegedly violated in Tennessee infringe on his freedom of religion.
Thursday Andrew Hamblin, at Tabernacle Church of God, was cited for possession of class 1 wildlife, a class c misdemeanor. He said he knew serpent handling was illegal, but said the law violates his First Amendment rights.
10News talked to lawyers, professors, and TWRA officials, who said he’s fighting a losing battle.
“The court would hold, most likely hold, I should say, that under the First Amendment, he would have no claim,” said Akram Faizer, assistant professor of law at Lincoln Memorial University.
I’ve noticed that courts will occasionally side with respected religious groups when their beliefs conflict with secular law. The Mennonites are an example. My guess is that few courts will be sympathetic to snake handlers.