Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do Snakes in Religious Ceremonies Violate the Prohibition Involving Separation of Church and State? ~by Viper


"Snakes on a Plane" was a popular movie. But apparently Gregory James Coot, a pastor, has had some success with "Snakes in Religious Ceremonies. " For those waiting for a movie to come out, you might want to catch the preview on the evening news coming out of Frankfort Kentucky. To be fair, Gregory James Coot was among 10 people charged by wildlife officers for allegedly violating the laws against venomous snake trade.

Supposedly, more than 100 snakes were confiscated in an undercover sting. The majority were apparently taken from Coot's home. Reportedly, Coot's collection included 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, and a pair of cobras. But is this an example of the Constitutional principal of separation of Church and State? Where does freedom of religion begin and where does it end? Since the beginning of time, snakes have played a role in some fundamentalist churches based on Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The problem for Coots is that the practice is illegal in Kentucky.

Coots is not a kid. He is a 36 year old pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro. This is the same church where a woman apparently died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995. Ironically, her husband died in 1998 by a snake bite in Alabama.
So what are the charges? Charging information contains allegations of buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles.

So what happens to the snakes? The reptiles are apparently now in the possession of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo.


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Viper, you should put a red line through your icon. Cause the answer is no! No excuse for having these snakes in my book.

Viper said...

Gosh your quick. Not even sure the edit was all completed.

Well, I tend to think the the Pastor may have a legitimate defense if he was not selling the snakes. We shall wait and see as all are innocent until otherwise proven.

Joel A. Brodsky said...

If trading in snakes is illegal then FOX News Channel should be charged for selling the Geraldo Rivera show. Jerry Rivers (Geraldo's real name) is a snake if there ever was one. Then Fox can assert the 1st amendment as a defense, just like Mr. Coot can.

Anonymous said...

The problem for mr. Coots is not that the practice of handling snakes is illegal, it's that it's STUPID and incredibly dangerous to do so!

I would actaully prefer to let him continue handling snakes until he is bitten, it WILL happen. But if he is going to continue to endanger others in his insane 'religious' practices, then he should be in jail where he can do no more harm to others. Not to mention the simple possession of such dangerous creaturs is illegal, much less their involvement in bizarre rituals.

Anonymous said...

Joel - Not surprisingly your post is off-topic as well as innacurate.

You'd have more credibility if you didnt resort to defending yourself by way of long-debunked urban myths.

Geraldo Rivera was never called "Jerry Rivers".

http://www.snopes.com/media/celebrity/geraldo.asp

Anonymous said...

Snake trading is wrong on so many different levels...

First level is that all poisonous snakes should be dead or in confinement!

Second is... well see number one!

Anonymous said...

How about when Billy Jack gets bit by rattlers in the Indiana ceremony and lives? Could he have done that in Kentucky?

colleency said...

Anyone know how the snakes are used? - as part of a sacred rite, or as some kind of showmanship?

Ms Calabaza said...

Ooooh, to scary for me. No to the snakes!

Ms Calabaza said...

Mr. Brodsky,

LOL. I like your comparison. Do you feel Greta treated you fairly? I watched the show several times when the Peterson was "hot" and was curious. I know her panel was pretty brutal to your client. . .

If you can't answer this, I'll understand. My take is that Greta tries to be fair but sometimes her bias just shows.

Anonymous said...

Joel, I think you are doing a great job. If I was ever in trouble I would want you if I could not get Legal Pub!

Anonymous said...

Who the he__ is this guy impersonating Joel Brodsky, anyway? Can you kick him off this blog please, and ask the real Brodsky to stand up??????

Anonymous said...

Snakes are disgusting!