Law-Breaking Snakes

Inspired by Snake Salvation to start wrangling poisonous serpents? Newsflash – the practice of “handling reptiles in a dangerous way” has been illegal for over 60 years.

After five churchgoers died from snakebites in church in 1947, snake handling was banned in every Appalachian state except West Virginia. But Snake Salvation Pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin skirt the law, taking up serpents in their church services every week. A parishioner getting bitten and dying at one of their services would mean the end of their churches, with legal action to follow.

On tonight’s doubleheader, Pastor Hamblin tries to change local snake handling laws, while Coots works to keep a troubled member of his church devoted to his faith. Will they succeed? Tune into Outlaw Religion tonight at 9P and The Devil Fights Your Mind at 9:30P.


  1. pts42764
    October 8, 2013, 8:49 pm

    Watching Snake Salvation tonight (10/8) and happened to notice a handicap parking permit on Pastor Coots vehicle as he was driving to Harlan. He can ride 4 wheelers, walk thru the hills, dance in church, but is not able to work ???

  2. Gary Wright
    United States
    December 1, 2013, 1:12 pm

    I have found the series to be very interesting, educational, and has motivated me to attend one of these services, if I were invited. I believe in freedom for all to practice their faith in the way that they feel, as long as no harm is coming to the snakes. As a health care worker, it would be my strong advice to seek medical attention if bitten, but have been intrigued that there have been two or three members of Rev Coots’ church and they have lived, in spite of the terrible pain and suffering they have had to endure.That seems like a strong testament to faith in my opinion. I do not understand why we, as a country of diversity, do not try to learn and understand those of various cultures, and seek out a form of communication, instead of judging and trying to control their behavior.