I am sitting in my living room watching a documentary on The Sundance Channel. I have seen similar documentaries before. Here is a description of the movie from the Sundance web site:
It’s no revelation that religion has the power to prompt extreme behavior. Yet among the world’s many bizarre religious rituals, the small group of Pentecostals who handle deadly snakes, drink strychnine, dance with fire and speak in tongues are among the most mysterious. Filmmakers Gabriel Wrye and Michael Mees present four portraits of contemporary Appalachian worshipers who find nothing unusual in these practices, including a brother and sister whose father, a preacher, was fatally bitten by a rattlesnake during a Sunday service.
I don't handle snakes, drink strychnine, or dance with fire. I know there are religious zealots who operate with a twisted notion of scripture. They take things out of context. How anyone can take Mark 16:18 "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." to mean that one should play with snakes and purposely drink poison is beyond me and just plain stupid. Even Jesus himself made it plain about purposely doing something stupid in dealing with Satan and said in Matthew 4:7 "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
To twist the Bible like this or even allow verses to be taken out of context is just so contrary to the Spirit that I know and have walked with for years . When your father, daughter, and even self get bitten by snakes and then claim it is God's will, that is just plain mockery. If they die because of their own stupidity, it is because of stupidity, not "the will of God".
Some of the bizarre individuals who are "reverends" have a history of child molestation, have married fourteen year old girls, collect rattlesnakes, copperheads, and other poisonous serpents. The possession of these snakes is illegal, they admit. Yet they do it anyway, all in the name of Jesus.
Many people in this documentary sure reinforce the stereotype of Appalachia dwellers.
I am recording it on my DVR for future reference.