A detail from the mourning of a dead snake handler:
Three days after pastor Jamie Coots died from a rattlesnake bite at church, mourners leaving the funeral went to the church to handle snakes ...
At church service on Saturday, a week after Coots died, both Cody Coots and his mother handled the rattler that killed his father.Ralph Hood, who co-wrote a key book on snake-handling Pentecostals, said the message of the snake handling is the same one that was articulated at Coots' funeral:
"What everybody recognized and accepted," Hood said, "is that he died obedient to God and that his salvation is assured."
Coots, who was 42 at the time of his death, had been pastor of the Kentucky church his grandfather started for 20 years. He was adamant that, for him, the spiritual risks of not handling snakes far outweighed the legal risks, or even the physical ones. For him, it was a matter of salvation.
For his son, it would appear, the same seems true.