A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: where’s Samuel L. Jackson

Snake (Not So) Charmer

By Meghan Lalonde

Today’s Wall Street Journal features a nice little piece by one Jamie Coots, “pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name.”  The piece goes through many reasons why Mr. Coots believes his freedom of religion is being denied.

In fact, there’s just one reason: Poisonous snakes.

Mr. Coots claims that snake handling is an integral part of his religion based on two passages in the New Testament: Mark 16:18 (“they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them”) and Luke 10:19 (“Behold, I have given you power over serpents and scorpions…and nothing will injure you.”)

We have no problem with his worshipping the Lord any way he wants, but bringing snakes into the picture makes for a completely different story. And once constitutional rights violations are alleged, that’s where we step in.

LASIS enjoys responding to legal misunderstandings in the press.  And boy, do we have a slithering sucker of a story here. Oh, Mr. Coots. How do we love thee? Let us count the ways.

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