The choice to become a reality TV star took an unfortunate turn for Andrew Hamblin after Tennessee wildlife officials confiscated more than 50 venomous snakes from the young pastor's Pentecostal church.
On Friday, the 22-year-old star of Snake Salvation and pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in Lafollete pled not guilty to a wildife possession charge—and then continued to handle snakes at his church.
The New York Times captures how Hamblin and his supporters hope to become a "new front in the battle for religious liberty." One protest sign reads, "Snakes today, Bibles tomorrow?"
Experts told WBIR that his legal argument is thin, but other experts told Religion News Service that recent legal decisions may favor his stance. Snake Salvation costar Jamie Coots explained to The Wall Street Street why the Constitution should protect his religious rights.
"I'm not a crazy man," Hamblin told WDBJ. "I don't preach to people and say this rattlesnake is going to take you to heaven because we're not begotten by them snakes. We're begotten by the word of God."
CT previously reported on the history of snake handling.