Religious Liberty and Snake Handling Churches
Handling poisonous snakes in religious services is illegal in some states, but should it be?
In this paper, I will examine the meaning of religious liberty by exploring Martha Nussbaum’s work on religious tolerance and applying the theories of John Locke and Roger Williams to the issue of snake-handling churches.
Using the recent National Geographic television series, “Snake Salvation” (2013), as a point of departure, I will argue on the basis of the ideas espoused by Locke and Williams that snake-handling churches should be allowed to use venomous snakes under certain conditions.
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