Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Runner of the Beast

The latest harbinger of the apocalypse manifested this last weekend at a cross-country meet in Kentucky, where runner Codie Thacker was randomly assigned the number 666. Fortunately for the rest of us, Thacker refused to play out her role in the cosmic drama by declining to race, once more sending the forces of evil on their way.

Runner Codie Thacker said she was assigned a bib Saturday with the number, “666,” which many Christians associate with the biblical Antichrist or Satan. The Whitley County High School student said she asked for another number, but officials with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association declined.

“I just don’t believe that 666 should be a number that’s anywhere on your body, and I did not want that number associated with me,” Thacker said. “It kind of made me sick.” The number is mentioned as the “mark of the beast” in the Bible’s Book of Revelations, and some Christians believe it’s a harbinger of the apocalypse and try to avoid it.

Now I have a couple of more serious thoughts about this. First off, it seems to me that if somebody has a religious objection to wearing the number 666 it's no different than Thelemites being attracted to numbers like 418 and 93. But what's odd about this case is that according to race officials the numbers were assigned and issued to the runners in advance, and they only refused to give Thacker a new one because she asked on the day of the race rather than ahead of time.

That makes the situation hard to evaluate. On the one hand, if Thacker knew all along what her number would be, she may have made her request on the day of the race with the specific intention being refused, just so that she could get into the media as the latest supposedly oppressed Christian victim. However, if the race officials are lying about the numbers being issued ahead of time, they are failing to honor their stated policy of allowing number changes based on religious objections.

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