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Son Of Late Snake-Handling Pastor Is Bitten By Rattlesnake

Boxes housing snakes sit on the floor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky.

Snake-handling is a tradition for the Coots family of Kentucky. But months after taking over for his father to lead a Pentecostal church, Cody Coots says he was bitten this week. His father, Jamie, died of a poisonous snake bite in February.

The family has been featured on a reality TV show, as the Two-Way reported:

"[Jamie] Coots, known for handling poisonous rattlesnakes and featured on the National Geographic reality series Snake Salvation, was bitten on his right hand and died in his home after refusing medical treatment, NPR's John Burnett tells our Newscast unit."

Cody Coots, 21, is the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church of Middlesboro, Ky. He tells the Lexington Herald-Leader that after he was bitten by a rattlesnake Monday, his family sent an ambulance away.

"The painful bite caused swelling and he vomited repeatedly," the newspaper reports.

"For a rattler bite, it wasn't bad at all," Coots said.

He added, "I told the Lord that I wouldn't go to the hospital."

Coots says that snakes will be present at the church's service tonight.

Last year, Coots' father showed NPR's John Burnett around his house and snake room, which included rattlesnakes, copperheads and two cottonmouths.

As John reported:

"Coots has been bitten nine times by venomous snakes. Each time he refused medical attention. Half of his right middle finger is gone as a result of a fang from a yellow rattler. In 1995, a woman who was bit in his church refused to go to the hospital; she died on Coots' couch while church members prayed over her."

Jamie Coots told John that he was speaking to the media in order to dispel misunderstandings about snake-handling in churches.

"We sing, we preach, we testify, take up offerings, pray for the sick, everything like everybody else does," he says. "Just, every once in a while, snakes are handled."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 28, 2014 at 8:51 a.m. ― 4 months ago

Maybe this is Mother Nature's way of telling this family to leave her creatures alone.

These snakes are kept in small boxes (as evidenced by the picture above) and man-handled by religious zealots seeking to get their 15 minutes of fame by drawing some non-existent correlation between a church service and a snake handling show.

Can anyone blame the snake for striking back?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 28, 2014 at 9:08 a.m. ― 4 months ago

Animal Cruelty in the "name of Jesus"!

Amen and Hallelujah to the pit viper!

By the way, I really wish the article mentioned if the snake is OK?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 28, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. ― 4 months ago

And why haven't these people been charged with animal abuse, public endangerment, and manslaughter?

Just because they do it "in the name of Jesus" that makes it legal?

Yet another clear sign of the fallacy (and insanity) of organized religion.

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