Ep 23 Glenn Summerford – Jesus and Snakes in the American South

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In Appalachia and in the American South there are some Christians who take literally passages of the bible that other adherents to the faith might consider to be metaphor. These followers of Christ’s teachings put to the test the biblical notion that true believers can take up venomous snakes without suffering injury. On this episode of Where is the Line? we’ll be talking about a snake handling preacher from Alabama named Glenn Summerford. Summerford found himself in the national spotlight in 1991 after being accused of attempting to murder his wife using the same Copperheads and Diamondback rattlesnakes that he often held during religious services.


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BREWER, DAVID. “Snake Trial Takes on New Twist.” Huntsville Times, The (AL), 1992, p. A    1. America’s News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/documentview?p=NewsBank&docref=news/1189375D6441A590. Accessed 6 Jan. 2020.

Burton, Thomas G. Serpent-Handling Believers. Knoxville, University Of Tennessee Press, 1998.

—. The Serpent and the Spirit : Glenn Summerford’s Story. Knoxville, University Of Tennessee Press, 2004.

Covington, Dennis. Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia. New York Penguin, 1995.

“Document View | America’s News | NewsBank.” Ua.Edu, 2015, infoweb-newsbank-com.libdata.lib.ua.edu/apps/news/document-view?p=NewsBank&t=&sort=YMD_date%3AD&fld-base-0=alltext&maxresults=20&val-base-0=%22Glenn%20Summerford%22&docref=news/15391E145DBAC760. Accessed 3 Jan. 2020.

Handwerk, Brian. “Snake Handlers Hang on in Appalachian Churches.” Nationalgeographic.Com, National Geographic, 7 Apr. 2003, http://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/04/0407_030407_snakehandlers/. Accessed 2 Jan. 2020.

Kazek, Kelly. “The hometown legends behind 15 quirky Alabama beer names.” Huntsville Times, The: Web Edition Articles (AL), sec. Entertainment, 17 Feb. 2015. NewsBank: America’s News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=NewsBank&docref=news/15391E145DBAC760. Accessed 3 Jan. 2020.

MARSHALL, MIKE. “Still Faithful.” Huntsville Times, The (AL), 2003, p. 1F. America’s News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/documentview?p=NewsBank&docref=news/115AD34305935670. Accessed 6 Jan. 2020.

Samer, Michael. Dark Temptations: Season 1, Episode 2. Investigation Discovery, 9 July 2014.

“Snake-Handling Preacher Convicted of Trying to Kill Wife With Serpent.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 13 Feb. 1992, apnews.com/1e4f81946c7e70350c5953e7d0f3a29d. Accessed 2 Jan. 2020.

The Pentecostal Serpent. “THE BITTER SOUTHERNER.” THE BITTER SOUTHERNER, 2014, bittersoutherner.com/the-pentecostal-serpent#.Xg3-6hdKhBw. Accessed 2 Jan. 2020.

Travis Warren Cooper. “Stereotypes and Dangerous Rituals: A Reflection on the Academic Study of Serpent-Handling.” The Religious Studies Project, 5 June 2013, http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/2013/06/05/stereotypes-and-dangerous-rituals-a-reflection-on-the-academic-study-of-serpent-handling-by-travis-warren-cooper/. Accessed 8 Jan. 2020.

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