Another day, another dead religious-idiot snake handler. This time, the fellow had a high enough profile to have scored some National Geographic facetime (Why, National Geographic, Why?). I’ll assume the best and figure that National Geographic was running a high brow bit on the lunatic fringe of religious society and not trying to go head-to-head with a bunch of waterlogged homophobic Duck Hunters on another network. If I’m wrong, don’t correct me on the assumption. I’m old and cranky enough already, living in the world of George Jetson with neighbors apparently beamed in from The Flintstones. For what it’s worth, I’m feeling quite well today, but then I’m a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine, and given the ongoing freak show of the fundamentalists, I’m assured plenty of healthful smiles to keep me fit.
As a matter of curiosity, and with a nod to the photo of the white guy in the masthead above (and the white guy killed today), are there any/many instances of Black preachers dying this way? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Most of the Black people I know, religiously affixed as they are, seem happy enough just bashing homosexuals and have enough common sense, having escaped slavery and all, not to be messing with deadly snakes. I’ll leave that question to the racial sociology department at JSU or Howard to work out. I’m always happy to toss out a free doctoral dissertation topic for a young Black college student having trouble finding a topic.
Jeebus’ Law and Order
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)
In spite of many previous snake bites, one of which led to the loss of the finger of the aforementioned God slobberer, as well as previous troubles with law enforcement over the transport and ownership of his deadly vermin, today’s Darwin Award nominee was undeterred. The courts in the US, particularly those in the former slave states, are apparently reluctant to enforce long standing laws against public displays of deadly snakes in church services, so this is what we get to read about every other year or so.
Ken Ham’s Killing Spree to Continue
The southern court system, in declining to prosecute a previous case of snake bite induced religious death, stated that there would be no deterrent effect for prosecuting this type of crime, so hardened were the biblical felons in their proclivities and so devoted were the practitioners and followers of this particular religious aberration. There are literally places in the US where you can get charged with child endangerment for leaving your minor child at home alone for ten minutes to run to the grocery store but it’s perfectly ok to drag them into a sermon where a preacher is slinging deadly rattle snakes around. Holy shit!
Prosecution being useless as a deterrent has never stopped any of the former slave states from dragging every other poor black man into the court system and prosecuting them for smoking marijuana, though it’s a pretty easy observation that the incarceration of those young Black males is as ineffective a deterrent to marijuana use in Black youth as the prosecution of White Pentecostal snake handlers is presumed to be in deterring other young preachers from committing suicide by snake. Wonder why the difference?
Bonus Thunderfoot Video
These snake-handling maniacs should know that the Gospel verse they quote is pretty universally rejected as a later addition, not found in the original text of Mark. Here’s what the New International Version Bible translation has to say. “The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20”. So the snake handlers who unfortunately die are martyrs without a cause!