Andrew Hamblin, 21, pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in La Follette, Tenn., holds up two rattlesnakes during church service. For more than a 100 years, small Pentecostal churches in East Tennessee and other parts of Appalachia have handled poisonous snakes and drunk strychnine during their services. The snake handlers say that the Bible tells them to do so, but it’s illegal and has mostly died out.
(RNS) Tennessee wildlife regulations allow zoos to keep venomous snakes, but there is no provision for churches to have them. The Rev. Andrew Hamblin, co-star of the National Geographic series "Snake Salvation," says that violates his congregation’s religious liberty.