No One Saw It Coming: Snake-Handling Pastor Gets Bit By Snake


In 2014, Pastor Jamie Coots of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus' Name church in Middlesborough, Kentucky died from a rattlesnake bite. Was it a camping accident? Did something go terribly wrong at the zoo? No, he was handling those snakes on purpose, in order to demonstrate how super holy he was. Not holy enough, it seems,

Undeterred by the fact that doing this literally killed his dad, Pastor Cody Coots (OH COME ON, REALLY?) has proudly carried on the tradition and taken over the church. Shockingly, it doesn't seem like this has worked out too well for him either, as he recently got a pretty bad bite by a rattlesnake he was handling to prove how holy he was, had to go to the hospital, and is now reportedly reconsidering how good of an idea this all is. This misadventure was captured by a short documentary that premiered on the YouTube channel Barcroft TV on Friday. It's only like 12 minutes, so let's watch!

The reason these dudes handle snakes is because of a passage in the Bible that tells them that if they believe in Jesus, they can drink poison and get bitten by snakes and be totally fine.

"And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Pastor Coot says that every time he gets bitten by one of the snakes he's handling, it's because he's not right with God. He is also remarkably chill about the idea of leaving his kids without a father, should God decide to stop protecting him from the snakes.

I have some questions.

1. Where on earth is that one dude procuring all of his adult size overalls from?
2. Why snakes? Why not just chug some antifreeze and see how that goes?
3. What about babies who die from snake bites? Or from poison? Are the babies not holy enough? Are they too sinful?
4. I'm looking at this list of fatal snakebites (thanks, Wikipedia!), and it sure seems like a whole lot of them involve snake-handling. At what point does one decide that maybe this theory isn't panning out?
5. Has it occurred to them that maybe they are kind of stupid?

Call me crazy, but I think maybe this is a bad idea. Maybe they could figure out some other way to prove how holy they are, like showing the stigmata or smelling like flowers or something? Or maybe go all St. Agnes and make all the rapists go blind, which would actually be kind of a public service? Something less death-y.

Feel free to discuss your own ideas and questions, and more, in this, your open thread! Also feel free to throw some change in our tip jar!


Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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