31 May 2012

Snake Handling pastor, killed by snakebite......

I very rarely attend church services these days except for the occasional wedding or funeral and have no intention of doing anything otherwise for the rest of my life.

The catholic services of my youth were tedious affairs, conducted by Italian priests (the local church was run by the Verona Fathers). While I actually did like the parish priest, a father Toninello.

But I digress. For an utterly strange type of church service, you need to go to the Appalchian mountains, the heartland of those  Pentecostalists known as snake handlers.

To be honest there is no way on earth that I would want to handle snakes and drink strychnine even if the church music is pretty good!

I suppose it should come as n surprise whatsoever, that the wges of snakehandling can be death as this report from West Virginia

 Mack Randall Wolford,  pastor of Full Gospel Apostolic House of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka  died Monday as a result of a snake bite incurred during a homecoming service.

Lauren Pond, a freelance photojournalist,  who had been woring on a prject with Wolford for the past year, said that about 25 people were in attendance at the homecoming service at Panther State Forest. Wolford was bitten in the thigh by a timber rattlesnake during the Sunday service.

“I didn’t expect it to happen,” she said. “I don’t think anyone necessarily expected it, but they’ve dealt with it before so it’s not such a huge shock maybe.”

Wolford was taken to Plainview Mobile Home Park off Airport Road in Brushfork. It is not known how long Wolford was there before emergency personnel were called.

Reports indicate Wolford died Monday as a result of the injuries sustained at the Sunday service.

 Although illegal in many states Snake handling is a “constitutionally protected religious service” in West Virginia

 Snake handling as a movement was started by George Went Hensley (who died form a snakebite in 1955...). The basis of the faith are two passages in the gospels:

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. 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. (Mark 16:17-18)
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

 Hmm clearly nothing shall by any means hurt you...... except the snake. To be honest if these people want to handle snakes, it is no skin off my nose but I would suggest having anti-venin close to hand!


snakeman said...

The man was crazy and it wasn't faith he lacked but common sense.
The best snake handlers in the world don't take unneccessary risks as a rule and they handle their reptiles as best they can and still get bitten. In Melbourne there is a company that does kids reptile parties, snake shows and the like with mega deadly snakes and risk free because the snakes are devenomized. I posted the link as on the front page you can see a picture of some kids holding some snakes, some of which are Inland Taipans, the world's deadliest. The owner got in trouble after he posted on youtube a video of the kids taking bites to prove the snakes were safe.

jams o donnell said...

I get the feeling that blind adherence to the scripture was his undoing...