Cody Coots AKA Big Cody AKA Pastor Cody, is a Pentecostal preacher from Kentucky. Pentecostals believe in many of the same things as Evangelical Christians, but with a couple twists. First, they speak in tongues. Secondly, some sects like to handle fire, drink poison, and play around with venomous snakes during their worship service. Pentecostals point to passages from the Gospels of Luke and Mark, promising the faithful won’t be harmed by venomous “serpents.”
According to Mark 16:17-18,
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.
Anyway, Big Cody’s father Jamie was a Pentecostal preacher as well, that is until he died from—you guessed it!—a venomous snake bite. Jamie Coots was bitten on the face in 2014 and died within minutes at the age of 42.
According to Big Cody, quoted in a documentary series about his church,
”When the Bible says serpents, it means a poisonous snake. When the old man got bit he died within probably 10 minutes, it’s a nasty bite. Every time he’d ever got bitten, I’d never seen him drop a snake. And I’ve seen the snake hit the floor I thought, ‘We’ll just take him home.’ He walked back to the bathroom and the last words he did say to me was, ‘My face feels like it’s on fire.’ I stepped out of the bathroom and then I heard a scream and when I went back there he just went limp.”
You would think an experience like that might make someone a little hesitant to take up the same gig and parade an ornery snake around a room of shouting, chanting congregants, but no. And now Big Cody’s been bitten by a rattlesnake, just like his dad was.
Here’s video of the incident, but it’s pretty disturbing:
In the video, a screaming Cody holds the rattlesnake over one shoulder before bringing it back around. The two look at each other briefly, and that’s when the snake strikes, getting Cody just above the ear. Cody continues the service as blood drips from his head on to his shirt.
He was taken to the hospital and survived the ordeal, but doctors told him he was lucky to be alive. Hopefully this prompts Big Cody to consider either a career change or maybe investing in some rubber snakes.