MIDDLEBOROUGH, KY – Most people avoid poisonous snakes at all costs, but for Kentucky pastor Jamie Coots, handling lethal reptiles was just a way of life, until it led to his untimely death.
The Pentecostal pastor was a third-generation serpent handler.
The practice is based on biblical passages like one from the Gospel of Mark: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”
Well, Pastor Coots took that passage very literally, even showing off his snake handling skills on a National Geographic reality show.
“When I first started in church,” he explains in a clip from the show. “I said if I ever went to a hospital or doctor over a snakebite, I would quit the church.”
There’s a lot you could say about Pastor Coots’ risky lifestyle.
Things like “crazy” and “uh, are you sure that’s a good idea?” come to mind.
But authorities say the pastor refused any treatment for his bite; so we can’t say he wasn’t a man of his word.