Cody Coots took over pastoral and snake-handling duties at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky after his father, Jaime Coots — one of the stars of the National Geographic Channel’s reality show Snake Salvation — died of a snake bite on February 15, 2014.
Like his father, Cody refused medical treatment after the bite because a snake-bite is a symbol of God’s will. But unlike his father, he is expected to live.
His sister, Katrina, wrote on Facebook that “we just have to put all things in the hands of Jesus…Cody did not sleep well. He is swollen and his hand is black…but he is sleeping now and is not in pain.”
According to snake-handlers, their ability to hold and dance with snakes comes from what they call “the signs of the gospels.” These signs appear in Mark 16: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Cody Coots had the proper permits to possess the snakes, but a Kentucky law banning the “use of reptiles in religious services” specifically prohibited him from using them as he does.
It is not known whether the state will fine Coots for his performance or revoke the permits that allow him to house these poisonous animals.
Watch a video of Cody Coots discussing his new position in the church after the death of his father below.