I think it's sad when Christians and churches build their theology and identity on ONE verse like this. Do you think there's more important things these Christians could be doing, like say, going and making disciples or laying hands on the sick and seeing them healed?
I'm not a Greek scholar, but when I read this passage I never thought of getting snakes to play with. I thought more like how towards the end of Acts when a snake bit Paul, he whipped it into the fire and didn't die like the onlookers thought he would.
Just my 2/100 of a dollar.