Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snake-handling Pastor dies of rattlesnake bite

All I can say here is that if you play around with rattlesnakes, you're going to get bit. From Yahoo News:
Mack Wolford, a flamboyant Pentecostal pastor from West Virginia whose serpent-handling talents were profiled last November in The Washington Post Magazine , hoped the outdoor service he had planned for Sunday at an isolated state park would be a “homecoming like the old days,” full of folks speaking in tongues, handling snakes and having a “great time.” But it was not the sort of homecoming he foresaw.

Instead, Wolford, who turned 44 the previous day, was bitten by a rattlesnake he owned for years. He died late Sunday.

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them.

He and other adherents cited Mark 16:17-18 as the reason for their practice: “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

I have to wonder about the religious fanatics, and why they feel it is important to their religion to handle snakes. Do they really believe that the snake is a manifestation of evil, or a part of the devil? The snake is an animal, doing what it should do when it feels threatened--the snake bites!

There is a couple interesting items in this story. The first is that Wolford's father was also a snake handler, who died in 1983 of a rattlesnake bite. Wolford was apparently trying to keep the practice alive in the West Virginia area, where it is still legal. The second is that this incident took place in an isolated part of a stake park. After Wolford was bitten, he was taken back to a relative's home in Bluefiled to recover. When his situation got worst, messages began flying through Facebook, asking for prayer. Instead of asking for prayer, why didn't Wolford go to the hospital for treatment of the rattlesnake bite? Isn't that why God created anti-venom? Finally, had state park officials known that Wolford was playing his snake-handling game, they "would have never allowed it."

1 comment:

snakeman said...

I say the priest may have benefitted from a few snake handling courses and then would have probably had the good sense to deal with the reptile and it's potential bites more appropriately.