Posted by News Express | 16 February 2014 | 3,458 times
A Kentucky pastor who co-starred in the TV show Snake Salvation has died of a snake bite, police in Middlesboro said.
Emergency personnel received a call Saturday night that someone at a church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, had suffered a snake bite, Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said in a statement. He said an ambulance crew went to the church, but the Rev. Jamie Coots had left. The crew went to Coots’ home and found him suffering from a bite to the hand.
“After a brief examination and discussion of the possible dangers if the wound was not treated, treatment and transport to the hospital was refused,” Sharpe said.
An hour later, police, emergency officials and a deputy coroner returned to the home to find that Coots had died, Sharpe said.
Coots, who was profiled on The National Geographic show featuring Pentecostal, serpent-handling preachers, pleaded guilty last year to violating Tennessee’s exotic animals law and agreed to surrender his snakes.
Coots and the Rev. Andrew Hamblin believe in a bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite won’t harm them if they are anointed by God's power. They said they believed that, if they did not practice the snake-handling ritual, they would be condemned to hell.
Since the early 1900s, a small number of believers in Tennessee, Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia have practiced the so-called signs of the gospel, found in a little-known passage in the King James Version of the Gospel of Mark:
“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.”
While other churches ignore this passage or treat it metaphorically, serpent handlers follow it literally. Their intense faith demands sinless living and rewards them with spiritual ecstasy — the chance to hold life and death in their hands.
The Snake Salvation Facebook fan page featured a “Rest in Peace” cover photo on Sunday. A Day Of Support and Remembering of Pastor Coots was announced for Tuesday.
“I am so sorry for the family’s loss,” Janet Ellison posted. “He died doing what he felt led to do by God. Heaven gained a true warrior tonight!”
•Credit: USA Today.
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