Jump directly to the content

Snake Salvation Pastor Dies from Rattlesnake Bite during Worship Service

Reality TV star refused hospital treatment as ‘totally against his religion.’
Snake Salvation Pastor Dies from Rattlesnake Bite during Worship Service
National Geographic
Stills of Jamie Coots from Snake Salvation's 'Deadly Legacy' episode.

After sustaining numerous snake bites over the years, a prominent serpent-handling minister and co-star of Snake Salvation died Saturday night after a rattlesnake bit him during a Kentucky church service.

Jamie Coots, 42, died two hours later in his home surrounded by family. Andrew Hamblin, Coots's co-star on the reality TV show, was also present at the incident, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Emergency workers tried to convince the minister's family to let them take him to the hospital, but his wife and son refused.

"He always said, 'Don't take me to the doctor,'" his son Cody Coots told the Herald-Leader. "It was totally against his religion."

Snake handling has seen a small-scale resurgence among young Pentecostals in Appalachia, spawning a reality show and a religious freedom case. The New York Times even noted how Hamblin and his supporters hoped to become a "new front in the battle for religious liberty."

Last November, Hamblin pled guilty to a wildlife possession charge after authorities confiscated more than 50 venomous snakes from his church. But a jury later chose not to indict him on the charges.

However, Coots pleaded guilty a year ago to illegally possessing poisonous snakes and faced a one-year probation.

CT has previously noted snake handling's dangerous history, while also exploring how snake handling preachers take the Bible more literally than most other Christians.

Posted:February 17, 2014 at 10:38AM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.

Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.
Login
or
Subscribe
or
Register
Recent Posts
James Dobson's Birthday Gift: Latest Court Victory Over Obamacare Contraception
In shadow of Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby hearing, judge rules in favor of Family Talk.
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
New Poverty-Fighting Alliance Launches
World Relief, Germany-based PartnerAid combine to grow programs, donor base.
Bible Society Takes 'More Accurate and Hopeful' Stance on Scripture Skeptics
(UPDATED) No more 'Bible antagonists,' among many findings in this year's ABS/Barna 'State of the Bible' report.