Jamie Coots a Kentucky pastor who shot to fame by starring in a reality TV show, Snake Salvation by the National Geographic about snake-handling in church, has sadly died, from a snakebite. Jamie Coots was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake during a weekend church service in Kentucky. He refused to be treated by paramedics and later died. Local newspapers have reported that Coots had previously received up to 8 bites, but had not been affected by them. It was also reported that after the bite in church, Coots dropped the snake but then picked it up again. “He had one of the rattlers in his hand,” a church goer told a local news station. “It just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand… within a second.” Coot’s son said that his father had not wanted a fuss and wanted to go and lie down and recuperate as he had done all those times before. The family had not reckoned on him having such a serious reaction.
Jamie Coots, a devout Pentecostal believer believed that a passage in Mark’s gospel in the bible suggests that those who are anointed by God can not be harmed by poisonous snakebites. The passage reads: “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.” It is a practice that is illegal in most US states, but still goes on, primarily in the rural South.
It has been reported that Coots was a third-generation “serpent handler” and had made statements to the effect that one day he would pass his practice and his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, on to his adult son, Little Cody.
The National Geographic show featured Coots handling all kinds of poisonous snakes. National Geographic Channels spokeswoman Stephanie Montgomery sent CNN this statement: “In following Pastor Coots for our series Snake Salvation, we were constantly struck by his 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. We were honoured 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. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”