Pastor Jamie Coots dies of snake bite

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Kentucky Pastor Jamie Coots died Saturday night after he was bitten by a snake, according to Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe.

Coots starred on "Snake Salvation" alongside Pastor Andrew Hamblin, from LaFollette, who was recently in court for TWRA citations for snake-handling. The National Geographic show profiled the Pentecostal, serpent handling preachers.

Chief Sharpe said Coots was found dead in his home at about 10 p.m. Saturday after a snake allegedly bit Coots while he was handling the animal in his Middlesboro church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name.

Written By: WBIR
continue to source article at tennessean.com

51 COMMENTS

  1. He who plays with fire….

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have no sympathy at all. If this guy was so disconnected from the reality of the natural world that he believed some imaginary friend/father/boss/whatever made him immune to snake venom, then he couldn’t be of much use to that natural world and he didn’t belong there anyway. He belonged in a nut house where he would have been supervised and prevented from harming others or himself. His freedom has proven to be fatal to him and sadly, he used it to draw others into his madness.

    • In reply to #1 by NearlyNakedApe:

      He who plays with fire….

      Sorry if this sounds harsh but I have no sympathy at all. If this guy was so disconnected from the reality of the natural world that he believed some imaginary friend/father/boss/whatever made him immune to snake venom, then he couldn’t be of much use to that natural worl…

      I would say that this man had value because he was a human being, a being with feeling, thought, consciousness. He was valued by other human beings. We shouldn’t be so fast to condemn or to loath. I feel we should try to gain a deeper understanding of the man and why people hold the beliefs he did. This man may have had many attributes that benefited the world. He might’ve been a good listener. He might’ve been forgiving. He might’ve been loving to his parents. He might’ve been gentle with animals. Every human being, regardless of their flaws, has value. We all make errors.

      • In reply to #52 by Danny Hynes:

        He might’ve been gentle with animals.

        You mightn’t have read the piece here a little while ago about the maltreatment of these animals.

        “A little more than a week from today would have marked exactly a year since Coots pleaded guilty to violating Tennessee’s exotic animals law. As part of a plea deal, Coots surrendered his vipers.”

        Now

        Every human being, regardless of their flaws, has value.

        It is this balance of value and flaws that is the issue. Murderers, every last one of them may have some value and may deserve some pity from us for their ruined lives and minds, but the deaths on Pastor Coots’ hands are still to come. And how many others? The animal welfare concerns which were to see these snakes not maltreated to keep them lethargic, may well result in raising the risks of such folly.

        How can we stop this madness in its tracks and try to save lives? Pity for him throws fuel on the fire. Rather tell his son his father was in no way admirable, but rather had become an abuser of the vulnerable for his own TV glory.

        • In reply to #9 by Fritz:
          >

          One fewer idiot in the world. Can’t be bad news, can it?

          “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

          ― William Topaz McGonagall

        • In reply to #9 by Fritz:

          In reply to #3 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #2 by KRKBAB:

          Finally- some good news leaks into RD.net!

          Good news?

          One fewer idiot in the world. Can’t be bad news, can it?

          Billy Connelly says every time a suicide bomb goes off the world is short another wanker.

          .

      • In reply to #3 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #2 by KRKBAB:

        Finally- some good news leaks into RD.net!

        Good news?

        Yes, good news. Great news. A serial snake abuser puts his god to the test and failed, as expected.

        All you bleeding hearts can continue weeping for every dead snake abuser, suicide bomber and faith healer who meet their demise due to their own stupidity.

        And I will continue jammin “Another One Bites The Dust”. Hey hey!

        • In reply to #20 by joseywales:

          In reply to #3 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #2 by KRKBAB:

          Finally- some good news leaks into RD.net!

          Good news?

          Yes, good news. Great news. A serial snake abuser puts his god to the test and failed, as expected.

          All you bleeding hearts can continue weeping for every dead snake abuser, suicide b…

          I’m not weeping for this guy, Josey; I think he’s a fine candidate for a Darwin award.

          I just don’t rejoice in his death as you, KRKBAB and a few others seem to.

          Apropos of nothing in particular, here is a youtube clip

  2. There is no need for Christians to get so loopy as to focus on one text like Mark 16:18, “… they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; …” and ignore other texts like Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test …” But why do I complain? What they believe of the Bible is bunkum anyway.

    My condolences to the pastor’s family and friends.

    • In reply to #8 by Cairsley:

      There is no need for Christians to get so loopy as to focus on one text like Mark 16:18, “… they will pick up snakes in their hands and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; …” and ignore other texts like Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test …” But why do I compla…

      Maybe his family and friends will wake up.

  3. In reply to NUMBER 3 by Katy Cordeth. Good News? : According to St Paul it is: “We would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 5:8).

    • In reply to #11 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to NUMBER 3 by Katy Cordeth. Good News? : According to St Paul it is: “We would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord ( 2 Corinthians 5:8).

      Right! US TOO!

  4. Never watched the show. Did Nat Geo sanction the use of illegal exotic pets? Just curious.

    Bloody bastards (pentecostal preachers, not Nat Geo). By hook or crook, they stole one of nature’s wild animals just to feed their “trip”, whatever the heck that might be.

    • In reply to #12

      We don’t need to be mean spirited and it just gives the christian crowd another reason to hate us. I see the irony like everybody else and this situation certainly seems ripe for an upcoming segment of South Park but reveling in someones demise, regardless of how goofy they are, is in bad taste. I dislike responding to another member as I am non-confrontational to my core, so I hope you will give me a pass on my observation Fritz.

      It saddens me that you removed your comment; it was a good one.

      South Park sucks these days but I wouldn’t mind seeing that episode. :)

    • In reply to #13 by bluebird:

      Never watched the show. Did Nat Geo sanction the use of illegal exotic pets? Just curious.

      Bloody bastards (pentecostal preachers, not Nat Geo). By hook or crook, they stole one of nature’s wild animals just to feed their “trip”, whatever the heck that might be.

      Religious exemption…..

  5. The lesson is clear to any rational person – don’t play with venomous snakes. A lesson should have been learned. The snake cults should change to less dangerous practices. But I expect the wrong lesson will have been learned – that the pastor did not have enough faith – and so these deluded fools will keep dying like moths in a flame.

    I’ve been reading Terry Pratchett …

    Death: “I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS AND SOME GOOD NEWS”

    Pastor:- “Er!”

    Death: “THE BAD NEWS IS YOU ARE DEAD”

    Pastor:- “Er! What! Er! Oh Shit! Er but, Ok that’s good. I can see baby Jesus”

    Death:- “YOU ARE MORE STOIC THAN MOST.”

    Pastor:- “Its still a bit of a shock”

    Death:- “IT GETS BETTER. YOU HAVE WON A DARWIN AWARD”

    Pastor:- “Oh no! That’s horrid, I don’t believe in evolution”

    Death:- “BUT EVOLUTION BELIEVES IN YOU. SHE SENT THE SNAKE”

  6. I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he and others might have experienced had circumstances been different. One of the reasons for stopping this kind of snake-handling – apart from protecting the snakes themselves from abuse – must be to stop such people from taking such security risks.

    • In reply to #35 by Zeuglodon:

      I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he and others might have experienced…

      I don’t know: people do all kinds of dangerous things for lots of reasons other than religion, and even for no reason at all.

      Also, this was not a simple believer, he was a pastor, and a famous one; to me, it’s not that different from dying in a car race: I’d like to see people stop doing crazy things like driving a vehicle at 300km/h (or paying to watch others dying that way), but they won’t simply stop just because I want it.

      • In reply to #37 by NoneOfTheAbove:

        They get their justification explicitly from the Bible: if you handle snakes without pain, that marks you out as a true believer, which is pretty much flaunting one’s special moral status. Ethically, it achieves nothing beyond pinning one’s religious flag to the mast, at the expense of one’s safety and the safety of others around them.

        I’m not saying religion was the only reason people do suicidally dangerous things, but in this case it was a considerable factor, and without it, this man might have done something more productive for himself and for other people in society.

      • In reply to #37 by NoneOfTheAbove:

        In reply to #35 by Zeuglodon:

        I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he an…

        No, that is not a good analogy. Yes, dealing with venomous snakes could be compare to driving fast cars or other dangerous activities. The interesting part of this story was that he denied help from paramedics who were called by a member of the congregation. That would be like a race driver who is on fire after a crash telling the paramedics to back off and that he is just fine because Jesus will save him.

    • In reply to #35 by Zeuglodon:

      I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he and others might have experienced…

      I’m normally with you on these issues of condemnation or pity. But this is a situation for us to judge whether this abused man has crossed over into becoming an abuser. As a pastor, he is the latter, leading others into grave danger. Pity his family and loved ones. Pity the child he was. Regret his early abuse but celebrate the lives that may now be saved by his demise and the example of it.

      • In reply to #39 by phil rimmer:

        The only point about your post I disagree with is the implicit notion that he can’t be abuser and abused simultaneously. His actions may well have caused or will cause some preventable and unnecessary suffering, and one might argue that his unfortunate fate will discourage others (though that could be contested). However, this doesn’t change the fact that he was just as much a victim of those crazy beliefs as those other people would be. He was capable of suffering and dying just as much as his inspired victims, and it’s more important to expose the vices of moralistic faith than to poke fun at a victim of such, as these other commenters seem to be doing.

        • In reply to #40 by Zeuglodon:

          In reply to #39 by phil rimmer:

          The only point about your post I disagree with is the implicit notion that he can’t be abuser and abused simultaneously.

          He was abused, as most abusers were. I invite pity for the child he was. BUT though all damaging behaviours of others could be explained away by the effects of outrageous fortune on them, lifting all responsibility and guilt, there comes a level in the severity of such behaviours, where we have to set aside such pity and take the more moral path to identify him first and foremost as an abuser and culpably so. He may yet have killed his son or worse made him an abuser too.

          No automatic pity for pastors, only their flock.

          But maybe, I’ve missed the worst of the commenting horrors you’ve been talking about. I notice there has been quite a cull.

      • In reply to #39 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #35 by Zeuglodon:

        I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he an…

        Well, you make a great point. This event could actually lead to some of the members of his congregation leaving their fundamentalism behind. If they don’t lose their faith all together, then perhaps they will at least become moderate believers. Although, I doubt it. I read stories how the members claim that he survived eight earlier snake bites. So, I guess their excuse is that he was quite a man after all. He survived that many snake bites, which proves he was truly blessed… or something similar.

        • In reply to #44 by Nunbeliever:

          In reply to #39 by phil rimmer:

          I fear those close to him will rationalise it away. He was clearly favoured by God those eight times. Perhaps he was so good that God wanted him back. He’d proved himself… There’s is just no knowing. If he was a “good” pastor (effective), rationality would have been fully suppressed in them..

    • In reply to #35 by Zeuglodon:

      I am quite frankly disturbed by the callousness in most of the responses thus far. Suicidally foolish and idiotic as this man’s actions were, he was a victim of religious belief and the way he wasted his life is tragic. Who knows what more fulfilling kind of life he and others might have experienced…

      I completely agree. His actions did, if anything, show us that he was indeed a sincere believer. He really believed he could survive snake venom. He was truly deluded. I feel no sympathy for religious charlatans or hypocrites who abuse and indoctrinate others to boost the size of their own egos or wallets. I’m sure this man had his fair share of hateful beliefs. Nonetheless I think it’s rational to feel pity for someone so deluded that they choose death instead of giving up their clearly absurd beliefs. He was true to his beliefs, and that is pretty much all we can be. For good or for worse.

  7. The exact passage says “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    Given that he and his church believe and take quite literally their’s bible’s claim that the truly faithful will not be harmed by the snake or poison, shouldn’t his church now consider him a false preacher? Will his congregation now denounce him?

    • In reply to #45 by william.r.james:

      The exact passage says “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

      Not all snakes are venomous. Why not just use a non-venomous one?

  8. If there really was a god, discovered after 13 billion years since the Big Bang, all I would have to say is: thank you jesus for ridding the world of at least one of the stupidest men to have ever lived!

  9. Sorry, but I feel no sympathy for this man. He might have drunk a pint of battery acid and the end result would have been the same.

    Does it not occur to these types of Christians that their Bible is just plain wrong ?

    • In reply to #49 by Mr DArcy:

      Sorry, but I feel no sympathy for this man. He might have drunk a pint of battery acid and the end result would have been the same.

      Does it not occur to these types of Christians that their Bible is just plain wrong ?

      His death may have been a distressing experience. That, to my mind, is a reason to feel, or to try to feel, sympathy for him. Can you imagine being in his position? We human beings are flawed beings. We cannot expect flawed beings to act without flaw. We all make errors.

  10. I feel nothing but sadness for Jamie Coots and his loved ones. I feel that we should try to show empathy and understanding towards Mr. Coots, even if his worldview, or perception of reality, differed from our own. I can only hope that he did not suffer too much of a distressing death. His loved ones must be hurting very deeply right now.

  11. I have no sympathy, why should I ? the man was a total and complete balloon! – let’s hope that the snake’s venom removed him from the gene-pool before he had time to add to it! Wonder if any of these Christian loon bombs have tried drinking industrial bleach, just to prove the bible right?
    Oh and before anybody gets onto me, he WAS perfectly within his right as a free human being to play Russian roulette with a loaded viper – but I fear that his actions were encouraging others to do so also – so that made him a very dangerous loon-bomb!

  12. This is ridiculous. Why do they have to use snakes to prove their point. If they believe in god and want others to do the same, what an unfortunate scheme to demonstrate their god’s power by saving a life (of a pastor) from a snakebite. Even if its true (didn’t die of snakebite) which is highly unlikely, resorting to this cheap style of appeal is an insult to the wisdom of the members of their congregation. Who knows if the pastor has been injected with antidote or the snakes venom has been sanitized. But even though, resorting to this tactic to convince people of the power of their god is abominable. What’s happening to this world? I’m sick and tired of all these mambo-jumbo and hukus-pukus in the name of religion.

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