Another pious snake-handler has been bitten.
Cody Coots is a fourth-generation snake-handling pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name church in Middlesboro, Ky. In a new documentary, “My Life Inside: The Snake Church,” which premiered on Friday on the YouTube channel Barcroft TV, Coots is seen holding a snake during one of his sermons, which generally has 14 parishioners in attendance each week, when the serpent suddenly bites his ear.
His father, Jamie Coots, was 42 years old when he was handling a rattlesnake at the church in 2014. He was bitten on the hand and died “within probably 10 minutes,” according to Cody.
This is a particularly good example of the harm done by the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant.
The verse that inspires this lunacy is Mark 16:18, ostensibly an account of Jesus’ post-Resurrection meeting with His disciples.
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 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.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
The difficulty is that these verses do not appear in the oldest extant versions of Mark; in those, Mark ends with verse 16:8. Put differently, some anonymity didn’t like the original ending of Mark and thought he’d improve the text, so he added that jive about taking up serpents, which certainly heightens the drama.
Now, thanks to the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant, and discreet silence about this well-documented editorial flim-flam, ignoramuses play with snakes to show that their faith is strong.