Snakebite during service proves fatal to minister

JONESVILLE, Va. — A preacher who refused medical treatment after a rattlesnake bit him during the serpent-handling part of an Easter service has died, authorities said.

The Rev. Dwayne Long, 45, of Rose Hill in far southwestern Virginia, was holding a rattlesnake when it bit him on the back of a finger, Lee County Sheriff Gary Parsons said.

Parsons said the congregation prayed for Long, but no one sought medical treatment. Long died Monday at his home.

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“We don’t anticipate any charges at this time,” Parsons said. “That’s their belief.”

Long was pastor of a Pentecostal church where members interpret serpent-handling as a form of obedience to God. Snake-handlers believe that when people die of a snakebite they receive during a church service, it was simply their time to go.

Long leaves a wife, five children and two grandchildren.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, USA
Apr. 14, 2004
www.dailypress.com
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday April 15, 2004.
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