Another Victim of Bible Science

Death Lurks Here

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


Dimensional Analysis


I can’t be the only person on the planet who is susceptible to being hypnotically transfixed by the motion and dispersion of things like dust, seeds, snow and ash.


I suspect my particular awe for the visible suspension and movements of heavier than air particles may have been exacerbated early in my youth, when it was easy to lose oneself on the wings of an errant dandelion seed gently floating in the window, instead of fully embracing the return to classes at the secession of summer vacation.


As the days shortened and the chill set in, the wind-swept American prairies around longitude Omaha and latitude Interstate 80 are a vast stage for snow to dance on. Many winter days were spent watching the snow twist and swirl, in direct violation of my teacher’s desired wishes to memorize the five stages of cell division or learn the proper conjugation of Spanish verbs.

Pollen and Dust

Spring unleashes a mostly invisible universe of pollens, though while living down south, I endured the annual waves of yellow-tinged tree jizz (from Mississippi’s mono-cultured loblolly pines) wafting through the air and choking the local atmosphere with a veracity not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s (For my expanding Anglican readership, substitute the Great Smog of ’52).

Adding to the hypnotic sui generis of the threatening yellow clouds, are honey bees, whose abdomens are overburdened with the sudden windfall of pollen. Looking as bloated as Elvis a week before his last unfortunate trip to the loo, many have trouble even keeping airborne with their bounty.  The ones forced to stagger home walking, looking like Mel Gibson after a late night encounter at a police checkpoint, are the lucky ones.  Those managing to keep themselves aloft are unwittingly involving themselves in a real life version of Angry Birds-Hunger Games edition, and the bee eating birds are busting a gut nearly as big as the bees.  Whoever says you can’t watch evolution in action must be Ray Comfort, but I digress.

Perhaps the most transfixing of the group of dazzlingly suspended particles are the smoke and ash selections.


I have a special fondness for the tiniest bits of solitary suspended ash.  Nearly invisible to the naked eye, their joyous arrival is often announced only as a brief tiny glint, as delicate as the soft twinkle of a faint star . Once identified, they can then be individually tracked if one is lucky enough to quickly triangulate their original location.  Like dandelion seeds, they often move very slowly (at least the ones you can track) and hang in midair suspended by the most gentle of currents.  The battle between loft and gravity is never more intriguing than when you get to watch it mano v mano in this fashion.


When my mom finally decided it was time I could handle it, I negotiated the privilege of watching my first SciFi horror show on TV.  It was an original episode of The Outer Limits.  The details of her agreeing to letting me watch it included a discussion over “real life” and “TV fantasy” as well as my promise not to have nightmares if she let me watch.  Upon reflection, that would appear to be a promise one might have a real problem in keeping, but it seems to be the in the nature of motherhood to believe nearly any promise emanating from their progeny.

It was a cold winter night.  As if to enhance the gloom, the eerie grayish glow of the large black and white cathode ray tube was the only light in the room.  I laid in a prone position tucked on the sofa next to my mother as we shared a hand-crocheted blanket to ward off the drafts (and for me at the time….monsters.  lol).

As was her custom, my mother had an unfiltered Pall Mall cigarette burning in the ashtray emitting copious amounts of bluish smoke into the room (and setting the stage for my long term addiction to nicotine).  The episode of Outer Limits she’d agreed to let me see centered around a set and story involving the use of ground hugging fog.  The blue smoke from my mom’s cigarette migrated into the thin boundary layer created by the differential in temperature between the warm ceiling and cold floor, finally settling in at a level consistent with the bottom of the picture tube and creating the conditions for a perfect mirage as I laid on the sofa parallel to the TV.

My active imagination quickly embraced the idea that the fog had left the TV set and starting engulfing the room, my room!  To heighten my increasing sense of self inflicted panic and confusion, the light from the TV was in a perfect position to reflect off the underlying azure haze of the cigarette smoke and was casting ghastly dancing reflections about the room as the show cut from scene to scene.  I was freaking out (internally) worse than Ralphie on A Christmas Story, right after catching the inevitable BB in the eye.  My brain was looking for answers.  I’m wondering why my mother hasn’t yet keyed in on what I surmise to be an eminent takeover by hostile alien forces.  Is she asleep?  No, she looks like she’s awake. The veins in her neck are relaxed.  The details of my ultimate decision not to go into a maniacal screaming panic on a search through my toy box for my ultimate alien destroyer gun (red ping pong balls) escapes me.  It is lost in the adrenaline and fear of the moment, but I know I made the right choice in hunkering down and riding it out to the commercial break.  Mom always told me I was special and I believed her.