Snake-handling KY preacher dies from snakebite

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Middlesboro, KY, United States (4E) – The snake-handling pastor who was featured last year in the National Geographic Channel’s show called Snake Salvation has died from a snakebite.

Jamie Coots was bitten on his right hand by a rattlesnake he was holding while preaching at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro on Saturday. After being bitten, he and his son, Cody, went home and refused treatment offered by paramedics. He died around 10:10 p.m. that day, according to police.

Coots’ son, Cody, said his father was bitten by snake eight times before but survived without seeking medical treatment. The son said his father does not believe in going to a doctor for a snakebite.

Coots’ snake-handling practice during church service was based on his belief in the Biblical passage from the Gospel of Mark that suggests immunity from poisonous snakebite for those who are anointed by God’s power.

He and his co-pastor Rev. Andrew Hamblin also believe that, if they did not practice the snake-handling ritual, they would be condemned to hell.

There were other Pentecostal believers of the passage in Tennessee, Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia.

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