February 13, 2013

"Pastor" Wants Snakes Back after Wildlife Officers from Tennessee Confiscate Them

A so-called pastor from Bell County in eastern Kentucky is fighting to get his snakes back after having them taken from him by Tennessee wildlife officials.

Gregory Coots, aka Jamie Coots, calls himself a pastor, and apparently works out of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro.

He's one of those that misguidedly uses the snakes as part of services at the church building.

Coots was traveling in Knoxville when he was pulled over by police because of his windows being tinted dark. It was at that time the snakes were discovered by police, who called in the wildlife officers to take the snakes away. The snakes included two copperheads and three rattlesnakes.

He is charged with transporting wildlife and being in possession of them illegally.

In Kentucky Coots has went through a similar ordeal, although he asserts he has a permit to transport them in Bell County, Kentucky now.

When asked if he had any documentation for the snakes, Coots replied that he didn't, and at that time the snakes were removed and taken away.

Coots is fighting to get the snakes back, and has a hearing scheduled in Knoxville on February 25th.

The Bible verse used to justify the practice is found here:

Mark 16: 17-18 reads, "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."

It's of course a faulty and silly reading of the text, and a number of people adhering to the practice have died from "taking up the serpents."

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