This is about the most literal example I have of how religion poisons everything. The handling of poisonous snakes as a sign of faith is a practice of some Pentecostal churches in the southern United States. It comes, of course from literal interpretation of two verses of Scripture:
And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19).
The practice had led to over 100 deaths and many maimings. This nine-minute documentary, narrated by Billy Ray Cyrus, for crying out loud, seems almost supportive of the practice.
Religion poisons everything.