Biological Reality vs. Religious Delusion: Preacher Learns the Hard Way that Venomous Snakes Can Kill You

1938926_10152229527217489_1664212550_oI’m all for an individual having the right to personally believe whatever religion, or religious principles, that they want.  As long as they’re not trying to force others to believe what they do, whose business is it of anyone to tell them that they’re right or wrong?

I also do my best not to judge others for their religious beliefs.  Though I admit that I struggle mightily with that when it comes to Scientology.

That being said, if you handle venomous snakes believing that those “anointed by God” won’t be harmed by them if bitten – you’re an idiot.  And if you do happen to get bit by one of these venomous snakes, then refuse medical attention to treat the bite, you’re an even bigger idiot.

But that’s exactly what Jamie Coots did.


During a church service with his congregation in Middlesboro, Kentucky, Mr. Coots was bitten on his right hand.  Emergency services were called to the church, arriving around 8:30 pm, but Coots had already gone home.

Emergency services then proceeded to go to his home to take him to the hospital to treat his bite.  Only when they showed up, he refused to go to the hospital despite their dire warnings.

Well, as one might expect to happen after someone is bitten by a deadly snake – Mr. Coots later died.

For the record, Mr. Coots had lost half a finger previously to a snake bite.

Now, one would think that if you believe those “anointed by God” aren’t harmed by snakes, and you had already lost half a finger, you might think to yourself, “Hmm, maybe I’m not anointed by God.  The snake not only bit me, but it took half my finger.”


Then again, as many dangerous snakes as this guy had handled I guess the “shocking” part of this story isn’t that he died, it’s that he hadn’t been killed by a snake bite long ago.

And while all death is tragic, I can’t exactly say that this is a tragedy.  The man ignored science, nature, reality, sanity and just about every other logical possible realm of existence and messed around with extremely dangerous snakes.  Then even when he was offered medical help, and encouraged to go to the hospital by medical experts, he refused.

His ignorance and absolute stupidity are why he’s dead.

It was dumb enough to handle these venomous snakes in the first place.  But then to refuse medical treatment after being bitten?  I just have to shake my head at that level of idiocy.

Though I feel bad for his friends and family who will undoubtedly miss him, his death is a perfect example of what happens when religious delusion meets biological scientific reality.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • adnan

    natural selection at work

  • Melania Gulley

    It was God’s Will.. obviously.. yes thats sarcasm. Idiots abound on this planet and anyone dumb enough to handle poisonous snakes to prove God anointed them well.. what can you say but.. STUPID

  • republic84

    One word… Darwinism… ‘Nuff said

  • TMS

    I think progressives views are a religion. Progressives views are never based in fact, just faith.

    • freethinker666

      Please explain.

    • Karen Hayes

      don’t you have that backwards, genious?

      • Iain Morrison

        ‘Genius’

      • MaBriggs

        Honey, if you’re going to question a persons intellect, first make sure of your own.

      • JohnFMayer

        She was using the British spelling …

      • Christopher Wisdom

        Haha, nope, sorry. Just looked it up. There isn’t any other “alternate” spelling. People who spell it wrong need to use SpellCheck.

      • JohnFMayer

        Or perhaps she just dropped the first syllable from Ingenious (a mocking nickname, in this case). Anyhow, we can forgive the occasional typo on a comment blog. No one is held to journalistic standards in that situation; life is too short to go back and proofread everything before you hit the “Post” button. But the world-class and destructive stupidity revealed by the racist, right-wing trolls on here is another matter entirely.

      • JohnFMayer

        Rightwingers are notoriously knowledge free; Fox viewers were found to have less awareness of the news than those who watch no news programs at all.

    • Gary Menten

      Fact: Vipers have evolved over time into some of the most efficient killers in the animal kingdom. Their long folding fangs are extremely efficient at envenomating their victims with powerful haemotoxic venom that frequently also contains strong neurotoxic fractions as well.
      Fact: The the overwhelming majority of snakebite instances in America are the result of people trying to handle venomous snakes.
      Fact: A pious snake handler is far more likely to die of snakebite than a non-believer who knows enough not to pick up a venomous snake.

      • JohnFMayer

        Snakes are efficient at killing the prey they need to survive. They are NOT ruthless killers of humans, though I fear many will see this incident as further excuse to persecute them. Many species of snakes are now threatened thanks to human ignorance and superstition. According to Wikipedia, there have been only three prior deaths due to snakebite in the US since 2010, one of those another snake handler. You’re far more likely to be killed by lightning. Or by working on your own wiring.

      • Gary Menten

        My point being that the overwhelming majority of snakebite instances in the US are the direct result of people trying to handle snakes, which for the most part, they should not. If threatened and cornered, they will like most other animals, including the common domesticated cat, defend themselves. The difference being that they are far more dangerous than cats.

  • Aightball7

    Give that man a Darwin award!

    • Christopher Wisdom

      Oops, too late! >_<

  • buricco

    “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

  • Sunny Ray

    Sounds sad, but… I’m sorry can’t stop laughing!

  • Alan Foxman

    I have no sympathy for him. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Not one scintilla. I laughed at his stupidity. There is a limit (or there should be) to “moral equivalency” and there comes a time when society needs to step up and have the balls to tell someone: No. You are stupid and your lifestyle is stupid. Whether its someone getting face tattoos, snake handling Christians, Satanists, or believing that blowing yourself up along with innocent women and children will get you into heaven…you are stupid and should be appropriately ridiculed.

    • whitneyjones

      Sooooo….. You’re clearly perfect, right?

  • Liz

    Or maybe he was just a guy who liked snakes, got depressed and suicidal, wanted to get famous first, then was just waiting for the snake to kill him. Like Russian roulette with snakes.
    You really can’t say what’s in the mind of people. Everyone is different. Calling someone dumb is childish, especially when you literally know nothing about the person.

    • Carol Lynn

      Please read for comprehension. We know quite a bit about him and why he did this. He was a snake-handling man of god who thought god and prayer would protect him. Not treating the bite was a stupid thing to do. It’s impossible to hand-waive that away.

    • tmf354

      I think Liz has a medicine cabinet full of snake oil.

  • Melanie Collins Pennock

    Thou shall not tempt the Lord thou God…….this pastor should have read the scriptures!!

  • Gary Menten

    As the late Carl Sagan once remarked, “If you want to save your child from polio, you can pray, or you can inoculate. Try science.”

  • sherry06053

    I wonder if he had life insurance…do they pay off on that kind of thing?

    • TK

      No because he refused treatment they will probably call it a suicide or find some way to get out of paying.

  • Melissa Snell

    Killed by his own ego. Why did he think he was so special?

  • Brian Stockmar

    This fool learned nothing, he is dead. The question is whether or not the idiots around him learned anything.

  • Jim Bean

    If the author is ‘doing his best not judge other’s religious beliefs’, its not something he’s very good at.

    • tmf354

      He’s not judging this moron’s religious beliefs as much as he’s judging his sanity, ability to reason, or educational development. Doing what he did would be the same thing as jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet with no parachute and thinking god was going to save you. That’s not believing, that’s just stupid.

  • Raul Miller Miller

    Well another “bites ” the dust

  • Screw him…he deserved to die for being gullible and stupid!

  • JohnFMayer

    I don’t agree. This man’s religious convictions were ridiculous, but then MOST supernaturalist religions are ridiculous. This man at least practiced his faith as he understood it—a literal interpretation of the Bible is not uncommon in the US, after all—unlike MANY self-professed Christians who only practice the parts they find convenient and self-gratifying. Others practicing their no more unreasonable religious beliefs have committed genocide, practiced slavery and were willing to perform “honor” killings on members of their own family. I’ll take Mr. Coots version of religion any day.

  • Dan Baumann

    Darwin award winner…How ironic

  • Rusty Rice

    It was his choice, he died from it, let him rest in piece. It in no way effects you who did not even know him or encounter him. Leave it to those close to him, his friends, family and those that loved him to judge. He died doing something that was important to him, right or wrong.

    • Rusty Rice

      peace

  • Ko lrabi

    At least he has entered into eternal heaven.

  • Christopher Wisdom

    Is it irony, that he was bitten by a snake – twice! – and it was a snake who first encouraged Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, per the story? 😉