Category: Snake Handlers

For snake handlers, going to church can prove deadly

When the Rev. Dwayne Long picked up a rattlesnake in church last Sunday to show his faith in God, he was breaking a Virginia law that makes it a misdemeanor to handle dangerous snakes. A conviction could have cost him $250. His convictions, however, cost him his life. Long, 45, died the next day of a snakebite he suffered during an Easter service at a Lee County church, drawing a media spotlight on the practice of handling poisonous snakes as the ultimate submission to God’s will. “Every time you come to church, it’s a matter of life or death,” biblical

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. See Also The Bible’s baffling one-liners Parsons said the congregation prayed for Long, but no one sought medical treatment. Long died Monday at his home. “We don’t anticipate any charges at this time,” Parsons said. “That’s their belief.” Long was pastor of

Snake Handlers Hang On in Appalachian Churches

National Geographic News, Apr. 7, 2003 Brian Handwerk, for National Geographic News 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 For serpent-handling churches, these verses hold no symbolism — they are the literal words of the Lord that have inspired worshiping believers to handle poisonous snakes for a hundred years. Serpent handling is always controversial