Handling snakes is practiced in a handful of fundamentalist churches across Appalachia, based on the interpretation of Bible verses saying True Believers™ can take up serpents without being harmed. The practice is illegal in most states, including Kentucky.Snakehandlin' preacher pinched.
Gregory James Coots, 36, is pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, where a Tennessee woman died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995. Her husband died three years later when he was bitten by a snake in northeastern Alabama.
Said zoo director Jim Harrison, "You don't play with a venomous snake. If you do, you're an idiot."
Strike Mark 16:9-20 from your Bibles, says other preacher.