Kentucky Snake Handler Bit During Church Service Refuses Medical Treatment and Dies

Pastor Jamie Coots holds a snake while Big Cody plays guitar in the background at his Middlesboro, Kentucky, church in an episode of “Snake Salvation” on National Geographic Television.

A Kentucky snake handler was bit during Sunday service at Mossy Simpson Pentecostal Church in Jenson last weekend and died shortly thereafter.


Natural Selection for the win?

Seriously, maybe I’m just coldhearted, but I don’t feel sorry for him or think it is tragic.
One, don’t play with snakes. Two, if bitten, seek medical attention. :shrug:

His soul is nevertheless in need of our prayers all the same.

I didn’t say that he didn’t need prayers. He was still an idiot.

I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, he was just asking for trouble.

I don’t think there’s any need to personally attack and call names. Especially considering he was following his conscience.

Yes, he was. And yes, he needs our prayers. Unfortunately, this type of thing underscores the danger in reading the Bible literally.

I don’t tend to buy into the idea that someone “got what they deserved”. (Kendra, that’s not a personal attack. I love you and your posts, even if I disagree with things from time to time. :slight_smile: )

He clearly believed in what he was doing, the poor soul. My prayers are with him. God knows if one of his birds or beasts passes, and he certainly knows if one of his own created in His likeness passes. I pray for his soul, that he might come to know the true fullness of Christ and His compassionate love.

Pinocchio had a better conscience and his was a cricket.

It isn’t a “he got what he deserved” it is more of “where the hell was his common sense?” Poisonous animals are well, poisonous. Is it shocking that he did die? He could he lived if he would have listened to the paramedics. Oh but no, he’s like the guy who drowns in the flood because God is going to save him, instead of the people in the boat and the helicopter.

Not all snakes are poisonous, however.

At an insect and reptile museum I held a python. It was awesome. She was a sweet snake, and I thought she would look good with pearls around her neck. This place allowed visitors to hold the snakes as long as they were not venomous. Of course, their other animals were something: they had a leopard lizard, iguana, a blue-tongued skink, and some weird insects. Hissing cockroaches, scorpions, bugs with shiny green wings…they went out of business a while ago. (Not the bugs, the museum)

I saw a king snake in my daughter’s yard; he was a very lively snake. “Don’t touch him,” daughter said. “He’s not poisonous, but could bite you.” Okay, I thought. Incidentally, many people fear snakes because they remind them of the devil. Not all snakes are demons. Some are just snakes.

It may be presumption on the part of snake handlers; they want to show their faith. They just need to know where to draw the line.

I’ve heard very similar things said about Catholics and aspects of our faith.

This is the second snake-handling pastor in a year to die this way!

In his church, does this make him a martyr?

He had the faith to believe Jesus’ words in Mark 16:17–18:
“These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will . . . pick up snakes with their hands.”*

And he died because of his faith in those words.


They just keep lining up for the Darwin awards don’t they… though I do feel for his family and friends. :eek:

Could you give examples about idiotic aspects of our faith? Because I’m sure handling poisonous animals and refusing treatment after being bit is up there on the “Most dumbest things one could do” list. :rolleyes:

There have been many people that find many things idiotic. The Eucharist, statues, stained glass windows, Marian devotions, etc are all seen as both idiotic and dangerous to many people. Allowing children to drink wine is one I had pointed out just yesterday–coupled with us as a parish drinking after each other. Our archaic rules based upon tradition and not scripture. Marriage is a life long sacrament and only between one man and one woman. Our stance on family planning especially when a mother’s life is in danger is often pointed out. Stance on abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Clergy trusted enough that we allow them access to our children in situations that make abuse possible. These are some of the more common, modern day aspects of our faith that are pointed out as idiotic, dangerous, outdated, legalistic, oppressive, etc. by non Catholics and sometimes by fellow Catholics as well. There are plenty more and in the past there were even more still. I don’t believe they are, but I’m sure his church doesn’t believe their beliefs are either. It is not a good idea to look upon faithful people as idiots regardless of whether we share their beliefs or not. Those types of attitudes are what leads to restrictions on religion. As many people that oppose our Church, I really don’t like the idea of opening doors to them being able to change or restrict us even more than they already attempt.

I didn’t say that his church needed to be restricted. And the last time I have checked, The Eucharist, statues, stained glass windows, Marian devotions, etc. don’t kill you. Protestant ministers also have access to children and sexually abuse them. A sip of wine doesn’t kill you. Also, when I was in RCIA I was told that even though we share the same chalice, that the CDC has never found evidence of an outbreak of sickness/disease because of it. And I’m sure that if people did catch the flu from it, the church wouldn’t tell us to not seek treatment.
They can play with rattle snakes all they want, I still think it is stupid to do so and even more stupid to refuse medical treatment. Nothing in Catholicism says that you have to refuse medical treatment.
Again, I never asked for them to be restricted, but when you play with fire you get burned and when you play with snakes you are going to get bit. It’s just the way it works. This shouldn’t be shocking. I don’t even understand why this would be news.
“Guy bit by poisonous snake, refuses treatment, and dies.” Uh, DUH!

Wasn’t Satan also quoting scripture when he tempted Jesus by saying, "He will give his angels charge over you, and they will protect you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’’? He had dared Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple, and told him that, because of God’s promise, no harm would come to him.

But Jesus just said, ''It is written, ‘Thou shalt not temp the Lord your God’".

He didn’t jump just to prove God and put His words to the test. I think Jesus was saying this was evil. Isn’t it like saying to God…“I’m going to do this, and I DARE YOU to protect me”?

I can understand, that, in these people’s hearts, maybe they are trying to prove God’s faithfulness, and that His word is true, but I just don’t think it works that way.

Wow, you seem like a really angry person. You asked why I responded the way I did to you calling them idiots. You asked, I answered. I didn’t say you were calling for restrictions but I did say your type attitude is what leads to restrictions. Many people believe all those things lead to the death of our souls which is worse than bodily death. Many people believe our stance on birth control and abortion cause women to die and is oppressive. I am catholic and don’t for a second agree with the critics, but I listed reasons like you asked. The man is dead. It used to be impolite to speak of the dead in such ways, but it seems manners have all disappeared anymore.

I’m not angry, at all. My heart rate isn’t elevated, I’m not mad. I’m sorry that I responded to your response, I guess? IDK.
How does my attitude lead to religious restrictions, exactly? I just thought that poisonous snake bite + refusal of treatment = death is common sense.
And please, don’t even go talking about my manners for the dead, I had a come apart when I experienced my first death at work. Maybe you should look up that prayer intention. I couldn’t sleep for days and I prayed A LOT for that lady. Once before I even left to get a confirmation. Have you ever given a bed bath to a dead person and dressed them for the funeral home? Have you ever used a toothette to clean a dead person’s teeth/mouth? Seeing that hearing is the last to go, my prayer may have been the last thing she heard. :mad: Now, I’m angry at you.

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