Robin Vanover, Mark Wolford's sister, told the Washington Post that 30 minutes into the outdoor service, Wolford passed around a poisonous timber rattlesnake, which eventually bit him.
"He laid it on the ground," Vanover said in the interview, "and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh."
I've always wondered why these snake-handling churches don't just drop thousands of rattlesnakes from trap-door ceiling tiles onto the congregation. Now, there's your test of faith, friends! What, are they afraid?
I never like to read about anyone dying, but man. This guy not only handled rattlesnakes (which are about the deadliest snakes in snakedom) without care and without antivenin nearby, but also was taken to a home (not a hospital) 80 miles away (!!) to recover? I'm frankly shocked he even made it that far.
Oh, and apparently he watched his dad die doing the same thing many years before.
Oh, make it stop.
People have asked me many times why I object to faith and religion. My answer is that I don't. But I do question the validity of any set of beliefs that will put its adherents in danger over a ridiculous stunt. A stunt that has virtually no upshot and, in my view, says nothing about faith and everything about foolishness. Maybe it's for the best that no one's making up major religions anymore — we'd probably implore believers to guzzle battery acid or lay on electrified subway tracks.
Here's a hint your religion is screwy: if its principles can kill you. How every member of that service didn't walk away an atheist, I'll never know. If anything, it probably made them feel like their pastor wasn't faithful enough. Somebody bring these people some antivenin, stat. Diagnosis: fanaticism.