A Kentucky high school runner recently cut her season short when she opted not to run in regionals. She wasn't injured, or sick, or tending to a family emergency. No, she dropped out of the race because she was assigned the number 666 and thought that if she ran wearing that number, it would threaten her relationship with The Man Upstairs. You know what God detests more than a number John the Apostle dreamed up while he was tripping on the Bible times equivalent of acid? Quitters.
Whitley County High School junior Codie Thacker says she asked for a different number after she found out that race officials had assigned her 666, but they refused. And here's what happened next, according to Lex18,
Cross country coach Gina Croley knows her students, so when she pulled the number assigned to Thacker, she knew there might be a problem. "I saw it and I was like, 'whoa,'" she said. "I don't think she will wear that number."
"666" is, according the the bible, the mark of the beast. Thacker couldn't bring herself to run while wearing "666" because of her faith. So, she and her coach tried to get a different number. They asked three different officials. They were told no three different times.
"I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number," said Thacker.
Look, everyone's got a right to practice religion; it says so right in the Constitution. But let's be pragmatic — when the practice of one's religion evolves from life-affirming guidebook to Be A Better Person into neurotic adherence to meaningless rituals and fear of symbols, then it becomes limiting. And I can't imagine that an all-loving, all-powerful God like the God Christians worship would pleased by a young woman backing away from the chance to showcase her ostensibly God-given talent because some computer spat out a number she didn't like. If God is real and and perfect and all-powerful, then He wouldn't put His followers through bullshit Crazy Girlfriend-style tests to make sure they love him enough.
Thacker's move wasn't met with eye rolling by her coach, but with praise, which I'd understand if Thacker exercised her faith by doing something like refusing to run against an opposing coach who had gotten away with abusing his students, or donating her shoes to a barefoot homeless person she saw outside of the school and running the race barefoot or skipping the race to volunteer for disaster cleanup. But, like, quitting because you're afraid of a number? It just seems like a sort of missing-the-point expression of religious faith.
I don't "get" America sometimes.