A pastor from Kentucky wants authorities to return snakes he uses as part of his worship services, FOX News reports Feb. 13. Gregory Coots -- known as Jamie Coots -- includes five snakes as part of his spiritual work at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro.
Coots said he purchased three three rattlesnakes and two copperheads in Alabama on Jan. 31. The pastor was discovered possessing the snakes when police pulled him over in Knoxville for having dark window tinting. They spotted the reptiles inside the vehicle contained in cages. A Tennessee wildlife officer confiscated them.
The district attorney's office in Knoxville said Coots is charged with illegally possessing and transporting wildlife.
The Associated Press reports that the pastor's five snakes are being cared for at the Rainforest Adventure Zoo in Sevierville, Tenn.. Coots is hoping officials will return his snakes.
"They feel they have a right to take them for whatever reason," Coots said.
What exactly does Coots use the snakes for in his church? It has to do with a Biblical teaching in chapter 16 of the Gospel according to Mark.
"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."