Snake Handling Kentucky Pentecostal Pastor Jamie Coots Who Starred in National Geographic’s Reality Show “Snake Salvation” Dies from … a Snake Bite
OK, YOU JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP … I GUESS WE COULD HAVE SEEN THIS ONE COMING.
Jammie Coots, a Kentucky Pentecostal snake-handling pastor, who starred in a National Geographic reality show “Snake Salvation” has died of … hold it, hold it, hold it, that’s it you guessed it, a snake bite. Coots was a third generation snake handler who believed that a passage in the Bible suggests poisonous snakebites will not harm believers as long as they are anointed by God. I guess this last snake bite was not. WBIR reports that Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said Coots was found dead in his home at about 10 p.m. Saturday. A snake bit Coots while he was handling the animal in his Middlesboro, Kentucky church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name.
Define irony … Coots is quoted saying in the below video that he never sought medical attention because of snake bites as he said when he first started in church, “that if I ever went to a hospital or doctor over a snake bite, I would quit the church.”
VIDEO from National Geographic via Mediaite
A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling in church has died — of a snakebite.
Jamie Coots died Saturday evening after refusing to be treated, Middleborough police said.
On “Snake Salvation,” the ardent Pentecostal believer said that he believed that a passage in the Bible suggests poisonous snakebites will not harm believers as long as they are anointed by God. The practice is illegal in most states, but still goes on, primarily in the rural South.
Coots was a third-generation “serpent handler” and aspired to one day pass the practice and his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, on to his adult son, Little Cody.
The National Geographic show featured Coots and cast handling all kinds of poisonous snakes — copperheads, rattlers, cottonmouths. The channel’s website shows a picture of Coots, goateed, wearing a fedora. “Even after losing half of his finger to a snake bite and seeing others die from bites during services,” Coots “still believes he must take up serpents and follow the Holiness faith,” the website says.
Sharpe said Coots went home before emergency workers got to the church. Officials then went to his house but weren’t given consent to treat him or transport him to the hospital. About an hour later officials said they returned to the home, but Coots had passed away.
Another preacher at the church, Cody Winn, said he was right next to Coots when he got bit during the Saturday evening service.
“Jamie went across the floor. 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 before, within a second,” Winn said.
He said Coots dropped the snakes, but then picked them back up and continued on. Within minutes, he said Coots headed to the bathroom with his son and Andrew Hamblin, an East Tennessee preacher who also handles snakes.
“Andrew said he looked at him and said ‘sweet Jesus’ and it was over. He didn’t die right then, but he just went out and never woke back up,” Winn said.
National Geographic said in a statement 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.”