National

A snake killed his father in church. Pastor has also been bitten, new documentary shows

A screenshot of Pastor Cody Coots being attacked by a rattlesnake he is handling as part of a church service.
A screenshot of Pastor Cody Coots being attacked by a rattlesnake he is handling as part of a church service. YouTube

Cody Coots is following in his father’s footsteps, serving as a pastor in a church.

Like his father, Coots is a snake handler. And like his father, he was bitten by a rattlesnake while leading a service in front of his Pentecostal congregation.

Fortunately for Coots, he survived the rattlesnake attack. His father, Jamie Coots, did not survive a 2014 snakebite, the Herald-Leader reported.

It’s unclear when Cody Coots was bitten by the snake, as shown in the newly released documentary called “My Life Inside: The Snake Church.”

But it was not the first time that Coots was attacked by a snake while holding one during a service at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky., as reported by the Associated Press.

But this attack was filmed in the documentary that was released on YouTube on Aug. 16.



The newly-released documentary shows an undated video of Coots preaching before a small crowd of parishioners. In that video, he was holding rattlesnakes in his hands, letting others handle the snakes, wrapping the serpent around his neck and going back and forth between gesticulating wildly with the snake in hand and quietly whispering to the snake.

At one point in the video, Coots loudly addressed the worshipers, saying “I believe in the God almighty and if he says I can hear Him, I can.” During a seemingly calm moment, as Coots turns away from his audience, the rattlesnake strikes him in the right side of his head, near his ear.

Blood immediately splatters on the shoulder of his dress shirt, and begins to flow profusely, the video shows.

At first, Coots was undeterred and told the church band to continue playing, adding, “I’m not worried at all. Don’t worry, God’s a healer,” in the undated video.

While Coots was fired up by the snake attack, the video shows that some of the members of his congregation were clearly concerned and eventually ushered him out of the church as he coughed. That’s where the YouTube clip ends, with the words, “To be continued,” appearing on the screen.

Coots was taken to a hospital and survived the bite, according to Yahoo.

On the church’s Facebook page, there were mixed responses to the bite. One person wished Coots well in his recovery, while another person intimated the pastor got what he deserved.

“Maybe Jesus is telling this loser not to abuse animals. Is keeping snakes to live out their life in a box loving? The snake did what snakes do. They defend themselves against predators. Shaking the snake around like that. Who do you think you are to abuse God’s creatures? God gave you dominion and that means to properly treat. Not abuse you nut job!” was the comment.

The majority of more than 1,000 comments on the YouTube page were also very critical of Coots and the church.

Although Coots previously told the Herald-Leader that his father had been bitten more than a half-dozen times during his life, Jamie Coots did not survive when he was bitten in his hand in 2014; he was pronounced dead two hours after he was attacked.

Cody Coots is a fourth generation snake-handling pastor, and before he died, his father was featured on “Snake Salvation,” a TV show on the National Geographic Channel, per the Herald-Leader. The son preaches at the same church in Kentucky where his dad did.

Like his father, Coots has been bitten multiple times by rattlesnakes. Three months after his father died, Coots was bitten on the hand while going through a cage with multiple snakes inside, according to the Associated Press.

The documentary also includes an interview with Coots’ wife, Brittany, without reporting when the interview was filmed. She was on hand when Coots was bitten by the snake in the video.

In the interview, Brittany said she was not raised in the Pentecostal church, but is aware of the family history when it comes to snake handling.

“I do worry that Cody is going to leave this world like his dad did. I don’t ever want that to happen to him because I love him,” Brittany said.

Related stories from Rock Hill Herald

  Comments