A pastor who starred in a television series about snake handling has reportedly died of a snake bite. CNN reports that Kentucky pastor Jamie Coots, who starred in National Geographic Channel’s “Snake Salvation,” died after refusing to be treated for the bite.
Coots preached that those anointed by God couldn’t be harmed by poisonous snake bites, the story says. He was a third-generation “serpent handler” and planned to pass on his practice to his son, the story says.
“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,” National Geographic Channel said in a statement.
The statement adds: “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 had been in trouble with law enforcement because of his practice, receiving one year of probation in 2013 for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes, the story notes. After several people were bitten in churches, Tennessee banned snake handling in 1947, the article notes.