The snakebite death of reality television personality and pastor Jamie Coots as he practiced his religion was front-page news here in my neck of the woods.
It is thought rude to speak ill of the dead, and certainly my heart bleeds for Rev. Coots' family. (I read also that Coots had no life insurance and his family is accepting donations.) But I feel nauseous that so much of the news coverage I'm seeing seems mainly to applaud Jamie Coots' sincerity and willingness to "die for his faith."
Personally, I have great sympathy for religious faith, little sympathy for unreasonable religious faith, and zero sympathy for idiotic religious faith. I can feel nothing but disapproval for anyone like Coots who puts himself and others, especially his loved ones, at great risk this way in the name of religion.
It is noticeable that most educated Christians find less sensational ways of interpreting the two biblical passages which speak of "snake-handling." This sensationalistic aspect of Pentecostalism seems only to be popular in backwoods areas.
Is the taking up of poisonous serpents faith or ignorance? Is refusal to use common sense in religious matters faith or stubbornness?
Coots' son is vowing to carry on his father's legacy. In the meantime the snakes will continue to ignore the memo on how this is to be properly done.