Preacher back at church with snakes despite TWRA seizure

Preacher back at LaFollette church with snakes despite TWRA seizure

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Snakes were back inside a church Friday night. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency seized 50 venomous snakes a day earlier from Pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette on Thursday. Snakes were back inside a church Friday night. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency seized 50 venomous snakes a day earlier from Pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette on Thursday.
It was a packed service with a lot of music and snake handling. Many in attendance were not church members. It was a packed service with a lot of music and snake handling. Many in attendance were not church members.
"I thank God for all of them, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal. I thank God for everybody," Andrew Hamblin said. "I thank God for all of them, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal. I thank God for everybody," Andrew Hamblin said.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

LA FOLLETTE (WATE) – Snakes were back inside a church Friday night. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency seized 50 venomous snakes a day earlier from Pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in Lafollette on Thursday.

It was a packed service with a lot of music and snake handling. Many in attendance were not church members. They were people just there to support the freedom to worship the way you want to.

Hamblin said the snakes he prayed with at the church Friday evening did not belong to him.

"All the snakes coming in will be from different places and different people. Not from me," Hamblin said.

The pastor says the national response after authorities took his snakes away has been tremendous.

"I've received thousands and thousands of messages on Facebook and thousands of friend requests. People of all different walks of life and denominations. A lot of them were saying, we may not worship like you do, but you have the right to worship the way you see fit," the pastor said.

As a result, there were many new faces at Friday's service.

"I thank God for all of them, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal. I thank God for everybody," Hamblin said.

Snake handling church regulars like Paul Gray tell us they have no plans to change the way they worship.

"No, it's not going to stop us. We stand on the word of God. We don't listen to men. We listen to what God has told us," Gray said.

The pastor says if authorities came for his snakes, he worries about what they'll come for next.

"What're they going to do if they make a law saying it's offensive to own a King James bible. They're going to walk into any denomination that owns a King James bible?" Hamblin said.

The pastor has a court appearance coming up. He asks anyone who supports him and his rights, to be there.

It's on November 15 at Campbell County court.

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