Pentecostal preacher featured in the media dies from snakebite

Jesus doesn’t save… the stupid. It was only a matter of time.

Reality show snake-handling preacher dies — of snake bite – CNN.com.

A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling in church has died — of a snake bite.

Jamie Coots died Saturday evening after refusing to be treated, Middleborough police said.

Snake handling is illegal in Kentucky. Laws were passed in other states due to deaths just like this. He didn’t care, apparently. He believed God protected him. Religion, arrogance and stupidity trumps all. He had been bitten nine times previously and refused treatment each time. Why this bite killed him is unknown. He had also been arrested for possession of the venomous snakes.

Half of his right middle finger is gone as a result of a fang from a yellow rattler. In 1995, a woman who was bit in his church refused to go to the hospital; she died on Coots’ couch while church members prayed over her.

via Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About ‘Takin’ Up Serpents’ : NPR.

According to this local media outlet, Coots was found dead in his home at about 10 p.m. Saturday after a snake allegedly bit him at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church. Authorities urged Coots to get medical care, but he refused and died about an hour later.

Coots been part of the TV show Snake Salvation. The other pastor featured on the show got into legal trouble for obtaining dangerous snakes. The snakes had been badly cared for.

Pentecostal Pastor Mark Wolford died in May 2012 under similar circumstances when he refused treatment for a rattlesnake bite during a service in West Virginia.

While this is illegal, I do not see authorities regularly attending these services and shutting them down. They do not ONLY pose a hazard to the preacher but to other people around. And, these people are not properly caring for their animals. The religious freedom argument holds no weight here – this is a public danger. [Addition: They won't enforce the law.]

Feature piece from Oct 2013 Christian Post ‘Snake Salvation’ Exclusive: Pastor Andrew Hamblin Tells How God Led Him to Pick up Serpents

coots snakes

Coots handling a venomous snake during a church service

  13 comments for “Pentecostal preacher featured in the media dies from snakebite

  1. Peter Robinson
    February 16, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    A Darwin award for that man!

    • February 16, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      Peter: I absolutely HATE the Darwin Award concept. It’s a disgusting way to mock and profit off people’s untimely deaths. Darwin’s natural selection has nothing to do with removing “bad” traits through the death of an individual – it’s about selection of traits in a population. I don’t see anything funny about the death of people that may (or may NOT be) a direct consequence of their poor life choices. It’s ghoulish. And it propagates incorrect ideas about evolution.

      • terry the censor
        February 17, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        Also, a Darwin Award would not apply here. The deceased is actually a darwinian success: he has two children and a grandchild. His genes live on.

      • terry the censor
        February 17, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        That said, I can’t feel too bad when someone blows their one chance at life through their own wilful — even prideful — stupidity. But I do feel bad for the relatives who lose their loved one. If I were that guy’s kid, I’d be very angry with my dad for leaving me in such a foolish and vain manner.

  2. spookyparadigm
    February 16, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    I don’t see why snake handling is illegal, so long as all participants are clearly willing and legal adults, provided the stipulation that if an injury results from it, they will pay for any rescue or medical care (as with people that take part in other extreme activities). Perhaps for animal cruelty laws, but if those could be accounted for (as other sorts of people handle other kinds of animals without breaking animal cruelty laws), and all the participants are willing adults, let them handle snakes. The issue will then be in their hands.

    • WMccreery
      February 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Probably because they dont have the knowledge to care for the snakes responsibly and dont bother to be certified

    • February 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      The “hate the Darwin Awards” comment seems a bit harshly worded. That said, it has also bugged me for some time now for reasons I couldn’t quite place a finger on, but I think it has to do with the self-congratulatory tone it is often sent out with (and no disrespect meant for Peter). I’m reminded of the “Here’s your sign” comedy bit…like, can you believe how many stupid people there are “out there”?

      It’s like when someone calls other people “idiots” (the specific term, aside), implying that all those people out there are idiots while my friends and I are sensible.

      • February 17, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        No, I really hate the idea of laughing at and making money at people’s misfortune. They are extremely poorly done by someone who obviously does not have any idea how natural selection works (Northcutt) but who is willing to use Darwin as an icon in this unseemly way.

  3. Chris Howard
    February 16, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    I had relatives in Kentucky who spoke in tongues, drank poison, and handled snakes.

    Death, and hospitalization were VERY common.

    In addition to death the constant exposure to the various poisons, and venom, caused hearing loss, blindness, loss of teeth, loss of feeling in the feet and hands, and a slew of cognitive disorders.

    It amazed me that despite seeing all of this death and injury people still faithfully practiced said rituals.

  4. drwfishesman
    February 19, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    I think about how many needy people this guy could have fed, or housed, or comforted, if he hadn’t read just one verse in Matthew and chosen that one verse as his spiritual guide. There are people who cherry-pick that bible and do truly kind things for others. Sad.

  5. Nos482
    March 27, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    I’ll just leave this here…Bill Maher’s New Rule about snake handling:

    • Nos482
      March 27, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      again? stupid youtube auto implement… it’s at 2:02

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