US pastor’s close call with death performing bizarre service with rattlesnake
American pastor Cody Coots had a close call with death while performing a bizarre service with a rattlesnake in his Kentucky church.
Four years ago, his father Jamie, 42, was killed during a similar ritual.
Cody’s church - the Full Gospel Tabernacle church – is one of the few in the country which still allows snake-handling.
The church is inspired by the biblical verse: “They will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.”
During the services, Pastor Cody picks up snakes from a box and carries one or two of them aloft, while worshippers lay hands on the sick, pray, sing, and listen to sermons.
The singing and dancing worshippers are invited to come up to the front to handle fire, drink poisons and hold up the snakes for themselves.
His father’s death has not put off Cody from doing the same “death-defying service,” according to The Sun.
After being bitten, blood started oozing from the wound and soon he collapsed to the ground.
Cody wanted to be taken to the mountaintop to let God judge whether he should live or die.
Instead, his friend rushed him to a hospital. The doctor there said the snake bite could easily have severed his temporal artery which would have killed him.
In the past six years, there have been three deaths in the US from snake bites during religious services.
Apart from Cody’s father, 60-year-old David Brock died after being bitten at a Pentecostal Church in Kentucky in 2015.
A 44-year-old pastor Mack Randall Wolford died after being bitten by a timber rattlesnake during an outdoor religious service in West Virginia in 2012.
The video of the incident inside the church is part of a new documentary entitled ‘My Life Inside: The Snake Church’.
The two-part film follows Cody as he recovers from the bite and re-evaluates his life and faith in the wake of his brush with death.
The death of Cody’s father thrust him into the pastor’s role at the age of just 23, making him the fourth generation to take up the snake-handling vocation.
Cody’s wife Tammy, 25, though is worried: “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.”