Christian Theology and Apologetics

High Schooler Disqualified for Bible Verse?

1447266595986On November 7th at the Georgia 5-A cross country state championship the third place winner, John Green was stripped of his victory just moments after crossing the finish line. He was disqualified for wearing a headband—one adorned with Isaiah 40:30-31.


John had worn this same headband since the beginning of the 2015 season and was never told to take if off. Just before the state championship race began Green and others were inspected by an official and deemed compliant with the rules. Moments later another official asked to inspect his headband and requested that he flip the headband inside out and the runner complied with the request. Later a third person possessing no credentials asked him to remove his headband, but his coaches believed that removing the headband would pose a threat to Green’s safety; Green has long hair and removing the headband in a competitive race could be dangerous for him. Since two credentialed officials allowed for the headband and different times, he was cleared to run the race with the headband turned inside out, concealing the bible verse. Though Green passed the finish line in third place, he later found out he placed 226th out of 226 race participants. This story is gaining attention in major media outlets with Todd Starnes commenting on it over at Fox news.


When head coach Clayton Tillery inquired as to the cause of the ruling he was told it was a “uniform violation.” When he asked to see the GHSA handbook where the rule is located, he was dismissed. In the GSHA handbook on page 4 it states, “Beanies, toboggans, ear covers are permitted if of a single color, unadorned (one logo only).” There is no mention of headbands. Perhaps the ruling came as a result of interpreting the Scripture as a logo? This is all still speculative at this point as the GHSA has yet to clarify the reason for Green’s disqualification. Further, if the issue was the text being interpreted as a logo, there were other racers that had verses on their headbands as well. This makes one wonder just what the officials disqualified him for and whether or not they upheld their interpretation of the GHSA handbook uniformly—at this point it seems apparent they didn’t. If the officials were confident in their interpretation of the GHSA handbook, then why not cite with precision the reason for disqualifying Green. It seems to me the uncertainty and stubbornness of the officials speak volumes. Whether officials perceived the verse as a logo or offensive, the officials need to give Green and his Coach a better explanation. Despite his disqualification, Green was still named to the Atlanta Track Club All-Metro team. Whether this is an example of it or not, intolerance towards Christianity is growing in America at an alarming rate. That being said, I’ll close with the words of the Apostle Peter, “. . . sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 1 Pe 3:15.


Single Post Navigation

4 thoughts on “High Schooler Disqualified for Bible Verse?

  1. It is a case of fear and there are many who fear Christianity and likewise there are many Christians who fear the rise of secularism.
    Each force is determined to crush the other in all its manifestations.
    The result madness.


    • I don’t think Christians fear the rise of secularism, I certainly do not. I think many Christians disagree with some of what secularism has to offer, but disagreement isn’t tantamount to fear. As for secularists, some wish to erase Christianity from the public square but I cannot speak as to their motives, each of them has their own reason(s). When we demonize each other we raise up barriers to meaningful discourse. What we need are more rational dialogues and less demagoguery.


      • I’m English , retired living near the south coast. The Church of England has moved considerably , we now have gay ministers women ministers. and big bang christianity. I see this as good the church must move with the times.
        As for disqualifying a young man for such a pilfling thing its ludicrous.
        I would not mind betting it has something to do with keeping schools secular. Most Christians and Muslims are quite reasonable and busy getting on with their lives but a small minority are slaves to their beliefs. This is one step away from radiculisation and a danger to us all.
        By the way I like demagoguery I could not have spelt it.


  2. “. . . The church must move with the times.” Why think this? What if society is moving in the wrong direction? For instance, Nazi Germany changed considerably in the first half of the 20th century and much of the church went along with it; was that a good thing? When someone insists the church must change because society is changing, that is an ad populum fallacy. It asserts the church must change because it must comply with what is popular, but what is popular isn’t indicative of truth. Something can be popular and still be bad, as in the case of the Nazi party. I am glad to see you agree that the young man should not have been disqualified for the headband, especially when he did as the officials asked.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: