Jamie Coots, a Pentacostal preacher at a snake-handling church in Middleboro, Ky. who was featured on the Nat Geo TV series “Snake Salvation,” died Saturday after being bitten by a snake and refusing medical treatment.
Coots (pictured center) was one of two pastors featured on “Snake Salvation,” about the practice of snake handling at a sect of Christian churches, mostly in Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee, where worshippers believe faith will protect them from the venom of poisonous snakes.
“Snake Salvation” bowed last year on Nat Geo TV but was not renewed for a second season.
In a statement Sunday, Nat Geo TV said: ”In following Pastor Coots for our series ‘Snake Salvation,’ we were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith. We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Coots’ death was reported Sunday by the website of Kentucky’s Lexington-Herald Leader.
Here’s a clip from “Snake Salvation” of Coots talking about the practice of snake handling: