Did you know that there’s a “snake church” in Kentucky that features a rattlesnake biting its pastor as part of its worship?
Surprisingly, it is not the only kind of church in the area because there are apparently more than 125 snake-handling churches in the state’s Appalachian Mountains.
Cody Coots is one of the many pastors who lead a flock of believers attending a snake-handling church.
He works at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky and he is a fourth-generation snake church pastor.
The church leader took over for his father, Jamie Coots, who died in 2014.
The elder pastor was apparently performing a church service at the time of his death with a rattlesnake that bit him on the hand.
According to Cody, his father died within 10 minutes of the accident.
In the documentary, “My Life Inside: The Snake Church,” Cody is seen doing the same service he learned from his father and the other pastors before him.
He holds the part of the rattlesnake on his hands while the rest of the church members handle the back of the serpent.
They wrap the snake on the pastor’s neck as he vigorously shakes his hands while holding the snake.
Cody then whispers a prayer to the reptile in an effort to calm it down.
But at one instance in the video, the snake manages to strike Cody in the head near his ear.
As blood drips to his shoulders and onto his shirt, Cody appears to be undeterred and proceeds with the ceremony.
He was, however, ushered out of the church by concerned members and taken to the hospital for much-needed medical attention.
Through it all, Cody did not give any indication he was in any pain.
It’s not the first time Cody has been bitten by a rattlesnake.
The pastor, however, said that he’s not worried about the outcome because he believes that God will protect and heal him. He also thinks that the bites are signs from God.
But his wife, Tammy, expressed her apprehensions that Cody would also be killed by a rattlesnake just like his father.
Tammy, who did not grow up with the same Pentecostal beliefs, was actually on the church’s stage with her husband during that bloody snake attack.
The video of the snake bite incident has led to criticisms about the Church’s practice on social media.
While some hoped for Cody’s recovery, others said that it’s wrong to mess with the snake.
As predators, these reptiles were only instinctively being defensive as the pastor shook them roughly in his hands.
One netizen even pointed out that the act is abusive towards God’s creatures.
Snake-handling churches exist with the belief that they are following the Bible.
Specifically, the verse Mark 16:17-18 speaks of using serpents as part of man’s mission to worship God and preach His words.
Cody is said to be re-evaluating his work as a snake church pastor because of the attention that the documentary has received, according to Yahoo! Lifestyle.
Doctors also told the pastor that his last snake bite nearly severed an artery that could have killed him so he must consider ending this practice for good.