TV’s snake-handling pastor dies from snake bite

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. — A snake-handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show “Snake Salvation” has died after being bitten by a snake during a weekend church service in Kentucky.

Jamie Coots was handling a rattlesnake at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten on the hand Saturday night, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV.

After the bite, Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on. Within minutes, Winn said Coots headed to the bathroom.

“He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand ... within a second,” Winn said.

When an ambulance arrived at the church at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they were told Coots had gone home, the Middlesboro Police Department said in a statement. Contacted at his house, Coots refused medical treatment.

Emergency workers left about 9:10 p.m. that night. When they returned about an hour later, Coots was dead from a venomous snake bite, police added.

The snake-handling pastor’s son, Cody Coots, told the television station his dad had been bit eight times before, but never had had such a severe reaction. The son said he had thought the bite would be just like all the others.

“We’re going to go home, he’s going to lay on the couch, he’s going to hurt, he’s going to pray for a while and he’s going to get better. That’s what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy, it was really crazy,” Cody Coots said.

In January 2013, Coots was caught transporting three rattlesnakes and two copperheads through Knoxville, Tenn. Wildlife officials confiscated the snakes, and Coots pleaded guilty to illegally wildlife possession. He was given one year of unsupervised probation.

National Geographic said in a statement that it was struck by Coots’ “devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced.”

“Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith,” the statement said. “We were honored to be allowed such unique access to pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship.”

Coots said in February 2013 that he needed the snakes for religious reasons, citing a Bible passage in the book of Mark that reads, in part: “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.”

The pastor said that year that he took that passage at face value.

“We literally believe they want us to take up snakes,” Coots told The Associated Press at the time. “We’ve been serpent handling for the past 20 or 21 years.”

In 1995, 28-year-old Melinda Brown, of Parrottsville, Tenn., died after being bitten at Coot’s church by a 4-foot-long timber rattlesnake. Her relatives disputed accounts that the mother of five had been holding the snake that bit her and disagreed with witnesses who said she refused medical treatment as she suffered the effects of the venom for two days at Coots’ home.

The Bell County attorney at the time wanted to prosecute under a 1942 state law that made it illegal to handle or display snakes during religious services. But the judge refused to sign the criminal complaint.

“If the court thought that a trial would act to deter future snake handling in church, my decision would be different,” Bell District Judge James Bowling Jr. wrote to the county attorney. “But you and I both know that this practice is not going to stop until either rattlesnakes or snake handlers become extinct.”

source: http://tbo.com/events/tvs-snake-handling-pastor-dies-from-snake-bit...

Views: 165

Comment by Ed on February 18, 2014 at 8:55am

"That’s what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy, it was really crazy,” Cody Coots said."

As the son, Cody,  stated - it was really CRAZY. If the son continues in the footsteps of the deceased father with these foolish practices I believe there is a case for mental defect. Sometimes the DNA just doesn't line up correctly with some individuals. 

Are they also still drinking arsenic as a testament to their faith?

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on February 18, 2014 at 11:36am

The Bell County attorney at the time wanted to prosecute under a 1942 state law that made it illegal to handle or display snakes during religious services. But the judge refused to sign the criminal complaint. “If the court thought that a trial would act to deter future snake handling in church, my decision would be different,” Bell District Judge James Bowling Jr. wrote to the county attorney. “But you and I both know that this practice is not going to stop until either rattlesnakes or snake handlers become extinct.”

Religion has a special place. This time, it's placed above the law, above public safety and above courts and prosecutors as well.

Are they also still drinking arsenic as a testament to their faith?

Are they really drinking arsenic? Not just water in an arsenic-labeled jar? How much of it?

Now this could be interesting.

"Here ya go, rev! That's half a liter of strychnine-based gopher poison. Chug that down and we'll see what it does to you! I'll be back next week with a pint of liquid VX nerve gas. If you're still around, that is..."

-------------

"Afterward [the resurrected Jesus] appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 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. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."Mark 16:14-20

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on February 18, 2014 at 1:23pm

National Geographic said in a statement that it was struck by Coots’ “devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced.”

Or

I was struck by “the severity of his religious delusion”, the disregard for his own health and for the safety of others resulting from this delusion and by how his impoverished religious morality allows him to break the law”.

Comment by bongani muthwa on February 19, 2014 at 5:32am

As the the saying goes: good riddance to the bad rubbish

Comment by Ron Humphrey on February 19, 2014 at 6:33am

What a fool

Comment by Diane on February 19, 2014 at 8:28pm

“We literally believe they want us to take up snakes,”

What an absolute numb-nut!  I am so sick of this poisonous, in this case literally, religion. 

Comment by RobertPiano on February 19, 2014 at 8:54pm

 

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