A teenage cross-country runner in Kentucky recently forfeited her spot in a race to qualify for the regional championships, because her bib number “666” conflicted with her Christian faith.
Codie Thacker, a junior at Whitley County High, claims that she and her coach argued that she should be allowed to switch bib numbers for religious reasons, but weren’t granted the request.
Race officials say that she never claimed that she needed to exchange her bib number for religious reasons, a claim that the outspoken teenager emphatically denies.
I didn't want to risk my relationship with God and try to take that number ... I told them to mark out my name because it makes me sick just thinking that my name is associated with that number.
Thacker had been training aggressively for this race since last June with her coach Gina Croley, who said she wasn’t surprised at all by her trainee’s decision to forfeit. "I saw it and I was like, 'whoa,'" she said. "I don't think she will wear that number."
Ok, so here we have a high school student that is emphatic enough about her beliefs so that not only does her coach understand her feelings, but also she would give up a race for which she’d been training for months? I’m not buying that she didn’t make her sentiments known to the race officials.
She absolutely should’ve been given a new bib if the one they gave her was offensive to her religion. In this day and age, when kids don’t have to say the pledge of allegiance if it goes against their religion, or they get excused absences for religious holidays (I was always so jealous of the Jewish kids in my class), or any number of other religiously tolerant exemptions are made for students of any particular faith, this girl should’ve been given a new bib.
Should Thacker have been allowed to exchange her bib for another number?
Image via Matthias/Flickr