Crowds gather outside of Middlesboro snake-handling pastor's fun

Crowds gather outside of Middlesboro snake-handling pastor's funeral

Posted:
"More than anything I want space to be given to the family to grieve and also to celebrate the life of someone they loved and cared for. I brought as big of a flag as I could find to hold up in front of any signs that were brought," Peter Helman said. "More than anything I want space to be given to the family to grieve and also to celebrate the life of someone they loved and cared for. I brought as big of a flag as I could find to hold up in front of any signs that were brought," Peter Helman said.
A crowd of people lined the sidewalks outside of Creech Funeral Home. They came out to Coots' funeral to speak out against Westboro Baptist Church. A crowd of people lined the sidewalks outside of Creech Funeral Home. They came out to Coots' funeral to speak out against Westboro Baptist Church.
"The music is playing and they're dancing. It was surreal is all I could really say," William Tribell said. "The music is playing and they're dancing. It was surreal is all I could really say," William Tribell said.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

MIDDLESBORO, KY. (WATE) - Family and friends said goodbye Tuesday night to a snake-handling pastor.

Jamie Coots, 42, died after suffering several rattlesnake bites. Coots was handling the snakes during his Saturday evening service at "Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name" in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He refused any medical help. 

Coots was also the subject of the National Geographic Channel series "Snake Salvation."

A crowd of people lined the sidewalks outside of Creech Funeral Home. They came out to Coots' funeral to speak out against Westboro Baptist Church. Members of the controversial Kansas-based church threatened to protest against homosexuality and veterans at the funeral, but never showed up.

"We've got about ten of these American flags so any protest signs they bring we've got a right to be there too so we're going to cover them up. We're not going to get violent," said veteran Doug Bayless.

"This is by far the most amount of people that I've ever seen on Cumberland Ave at once," Peter Helman, a Middlesboro Episcopal priest said.

Helman came to protest against Westboro Baptist Church members, and support Jamie Coots' family.

"More than anything I want space to be given to the family to grieve and also to celebrate the life of someone they loved and cared for. I brought as big of a flag as I could find to hold up in front of any signs that were brought," Helman said.

As a fellow Christian, Helman says he also came to show respect for Coots' faith.

"Jamie, a very faithful believing person and I don't think anyone has a monopoly on truth, and should be given a right to worship as they feel called and led," Helman said.

Friends and family started packing the Creech Funeral Home early Tuesday afternoon.

William Tribell described the atmosphere inside the funeral home as "sad, but at the same time soft."

Tribell attended Coots' church service just one week before the pastor died.

"The music is playing and they're dancing. It was surreal is all I could really say," Tribell said.

Middlesboro police tell 6 News Westboro Baptist Church members did not show up at the funeral. Jamie Coots will be buried in a private ceremony.

 

 

 

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.