Snake handling preachers are still a fixture in rural America. The churches operate in relative obscurity, mostly, until something bad like this happens. That’s where Cody Coots comes in. The snake-handling holy man was preaching to his flock recently when he was bitten by the large rattlesnake he was holding.
Cody Coots is the pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Pastor Coots was in the middle of his sermon when the snake twisted around in his hand and bit him.
The bite, near Coot’s ear, bled profusely. As the blood began to show, the congregation became concerned.
“Keep playing” he said to his band. “I’m not worried at all. God’s a healer, I’m not worried.”
There was cause for alarm, though. He repeatedly wiped at the blood, but it wasn’t stopping. He then began to swoon a bit as swelling was causing him to choke.
In the hospital, Coots learned that his brush with the snake could have been deadly, even if no venom was injected. The bite had almost severed his temporal artery.
“Big Cody,” one of the congregation members who took Coots to the hospital, told reporters about the bite. “Most people bit in the face are dead in five, ten minutes. I mean, his own daddy got bit in the hand and within seven minutes was dead.”
Jamie Coots was 42 when he was bitten on the hand in 2014. He was preaching at the same church where his son was bitten. Jamie died on before he could receive treatment.
“The [snake handling faith] belief stems from a literal reading of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: ‘And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover’,” Daily Mail notes.
“That church is their blood, you know,” Coot’s wife said. “It started with their family and it’s going down with their family.”
“Me and Cody didn’t talk about religion until after we got married and all I said is, ‘God, what did I get myself into?'”
The footage is part of a documentary project being produced by Barcroft TV.