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'Snake Salvation' Death

Police Chief Won't Enforce Snake Law

2/17/2014 6:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0217-snake-salvation-new-01
"Snake Salvation" pastor Jamie Coots was breaking the law when he was bit by a deadly rattlesnake during church services ... but the police chief tells TMZ ... he's doing the Christian thing by turning the other cheek.

Middlesboro Police Chief Jeffrey Sharpe concedes a Kentucky law makes it illegal to handle or display reptiles in religious services. But Sharpe says he doesn't care what the law says ... as far as he's concerned the government doesn't have any business meddling in religious affairs.

Sharpe says he will NOT enforce the law ... period.

And the Chief adds he's been to the church when the snakes are unveiled, and he says the kids in the congregation are not in any danger. The people who handle the snakes are all adults, and they assume the risk -- he says it's just a personal choice.

124 COMMENTS

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1.

Seriously?!?    

Slow day at TMZ? What a waste of space. Hard to enforce the law on a dead man.

161 days ago
2.

B4-I-FU-RU-18?    

Shrugs

161 days ago
3.

DirkDiggler    

By enforcing the law, the sheriff could have saved this guy's life?! Wait...it all worked out ok

161 days ago
4.

AwkwardCheerios    

Religion is stupid. Believing in god is fine but all that crap is ridiculous.

161 days ago
5.

Pudding Tang    

He's a sharpe one isn't he. So by that logic people that go drop acid and smoke opium at a congregation. It's not illegal because they are adults and a place of worship. Turn the other cheek Sharpe.

161 days ago
6.

Carl    

I guess I was wrong when I thought it was up to the legislature to create laws and the police's job to enforce them.

161 days ago
7.

Grandma Cracker    

The sheriff is right, but the law needs to be struck down as unconstitutional before he can refuse to enforce it.

161 days ago
8.

Denver    

You have the right to remain silent. Oh, really? Ok, nevermind..

161 days ago
9.

Tweeder    

You going to ticket a dead guy? It's a little to late to enforce the law

161 days ago
10.

Ween    

Just Wow !!! Dumb !!!

161 days ago
11.

NeaJ    

Laws that aren't being enforced? Now that's shocking!

161 days ago
12.

DiM    

WhereTH is the humane society or PETA on this? Using and abusing exotic animals for religious ceremonies just shouldn't be permitted and they ought to be advocating and petitioning state gov't for the animals here.
Does the animal have to be a mammal or furry for people to care?!!

161 days ago
13.

Ksparkles    

I'd watched the show once or twice out of amusement.... Intriguing really. I'm not a religious person, but to each their own. But didn't he say his snake handling father was also killed by a snakebite?

161 days ago
14.

DirkDiggler    

Are there any Rastafarians in Kentucky?

161 days ago
15.

Sherron    

Another stupid **** one killed by a snake, another who doesn't want to enforce the law! Do your job idiot!!

161 days ago
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