This is another one of those weird days when people who whine about intolerance are, well, intolerant. I saw a pagan post a comment about a West Virginian preacher dying of snake bite while snake handling during a sermon. The comment was basically, "Why couldn't he use a garden snake?" This bothered me on several levels.
First, it included a rather unhealthy dose of ignorance. Snake handling is part of this man's faith. Just because you don't get, or don't like, doesn't mean you should demean it. Especially if you don't know what the point of it is. If you don't understand, make a point to try to learn about the subject.
Second, we all know the adage about people who live in glass houses. For many of the Pagans I know, we're all trying to live our lives the way we want to. We sometimes have to fight for our right not be harassed or discriminated against. It hurts all of the community to disparage someone else's beliefs just because they don't align with yours.
I'm familar with snake handling in the United States because it's a topic that is a classic in Anthropology. Many instructors, with the purpose of making students uncomfortable, show the 1967 documentary "The Holy Ghost People" in introductory classes, for decades. I've sat through it multiple times in multiple schools. It makes my skin crawl to watch it, but after seeing it, I won't disparage the practice. The people who do it, do it for a reason. Their logic works for them, it doesn't mean that it is absent or that this is an arbitrary decision, any more than the tools and symbols we use in our rituals are.
If you're interested, the link to the news article is here: http://news.yahoo.com/serpent-handling-west-virginia-pastor-dies-snake-bite-173406645--abc-news-topstories.html
and here's the first segment of "The Holy Ghost People". The other five segments are also available on YouTube.