Over a year ago, I had a post in which I wondered why it was that snake Pentecostal snake handlers, who regularly handled poisonous snakes because Jesus promised true believers that they would not be harmed, seemed to be bitten a lot less than one might expect. Various suggestions were offered.
One of the leading practitioners that I noted in the piece was Jamie Coots, the star of a reality show called Snake Salvation on the National Geographic TV channel who had said in one episode “When I first started church I said if I ever went to a hospital or a doctor over a snake bite I would quit church.”
Sadly, news has emerged that Coots died of a snake bite at his church on Saturday night.
He had previously survived a bite that cost him most of the middle finger on his right hand. Instead seeking medical attention for the gruesome injury, he let it rot to black, exposing a quarter inch of bone before it broke off.
Coots was just as resolute on Saturday, according to police.
Cops and medical crews were called about 8:30 p.m. to a church for reports of a snakebite victim, but Coots had already left, police said.
They later found Coots at home and tried to talk him into medical treatment, but he wouldn’t accept it. The crews finally left about 9:10 p.m.
They returned about an hour later with the Bell County deputy coroner and found Coots dead.
Here’s a clip from the TV show that features Coots.
At best you can say that Coots was a true believer and not a hypocrite, having faith to the end that Jesus would save him. But such senseless deaths are infuriating. The only possible good that can emerge from the tragic consequences of people who take such risks to ‘prove’ their faith and then refuse to accept life-saving medical care to prove their faith even more is that others will see what can happen and realize that it is insane behavior.
Will this result in people who are believers in this practice thinking twice about whether this is such a good idea? I hope some will draw the obvious lesson but I fear that others won’t and will claim that his demise was due to not having enough faith.