Tennessee man quits job when his tax form contains the Number of the Beast

February 9, 2013 • 10:50 am

From the Tennessean we see a remarkable instance of how strong a hold Scripture has on the South.

As we all know, 666 is The Number of the Beast, which I recently came across when I read Revelation. Here’s the sole  reference in the Bible (Revelation 13:18; King James Version):

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

There you go. The Wikipedia article (link above) notes that the number has a long-standing religious connection (in faiths other than Christianity as well), but may have orignated in the Bible as a symbol of the Roman emperor Nero:

Most scholars believe that the number of the beast equates to Emperor Nero, whose name in Greek when transliterated into Hebrew, retains the value of 666, whereas his Latin name transliterated into Hebrew, is 616. The “mark of the beast” is used to distinguish the beast’s followers. Revelation 13:17 says that the mark is “the name of the beast or the number of his name”. Because of this, it is widely thought among dispensationalists that the mark will be some future representation of the actual number 666. It has also been speculated that the “mark” may be an Imperial Roman seal, or the Emperor’s head on Roman coins.

Now meet Walter Slonopas, who prefers to be unemployed rather than have a Tax Number of the Beast. From The Tennesseean:

A Clarksville, Tenn., man says he quit his job last week in order to save his soul.

Walter Slonopas, 52, resigned as a maintenance worker at Contech Casting LLC in Clarksville after his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666.

The Bible calls 666 the “number of the beast,” and it’s often used as a symbol of the devil. Slonopas said that after getting the W-2, he could either go to work or go to hell.

“If you accept that number, you sell your soul to the devil,” he said.

Walter Slonopas and The Devil's Tax Form
Walter Slonopas and The Devil’s Tax Form. Why is he smiling?

. . . The number 666 has caused problems for at least one other worker in the past. In 2011, a factory worker from Georgia named Billy Hyatt sued his former employer after he was fired for refusing to wear a sticker with 666 on it. The sticker referred to the number of accident-free days he’d had on the job.

Slonopas, though, said he has no interest in suing anyone. All he wants is for his former employer to give him a new W-2 without a Satanic number on it. Otherwise, he said, he can’t file his taxes.

He shakes his head when asked if he’d go back to work for Contech, even if the company gives him a new W-2. That would send the message that he sold out his faith for money.

“God is worth more than money,” he said.

His wife, Anna, said the couple will be fine. She said God will take care of them. They live frugally and are currently house-sitting for their older son, who is in the military.

Well, you don’t get unemployment insurance if you quit your job, so we’ll see how providential God will be to the Slonopas family. But imagine the kind of mentality that would lead someone to act like this! Without religion, Slonopas would still have his job.

h/t: John Danley

69 thoughts on “Tennessee man quits job when his tax form contains the Number of the Beast

      1. It is good to inject some levity into such a breathtaking level of inanity. I think Russell said it best 70 years ago:

        We may enjoy the perplexity of the South American Jesuit who wondered how the sloth could have traveled, since the Flood, all the way from Mount Ararat to Peru – a journey which its extreme tardiness of locomotion rendered almost incredible. A wise man will enjoy the goods of which there is a plentiful supply, and of intellectual rubbish he will find an abundant diet, in our own age as in every other. Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (1943)

    1. Unfortunately (casts sidelong glance at the busy executives around him) that is quite possibly true. ; )

  1. Ah yes, the sort of thing that makes me proud to live in TN. Along with my idiot congresswoman challenging the president to a skeet shooting competition, then we have “guns in trunks” laws and possible “don’t say gay” legislation… it goes on and on.

  2. I saw and posted this on Facepalm (ha!) yesterday. If I ever have children, I’m going to keep them as far away from religion as possible.

    1. But don’t have three children. Three is the number of the trinity, and that would be an insult. You’d have to kill one of them…

      I think a bit of reductio ad absurdum wouldn’t do this guy any harm.

  3. I’ve heard this stupid-titious garbage spewed at the university I attend. Not just by young students but full grown adults.

  4. I don’t know about the States (Everyone there that I know seems to live at something like 5325 some avenue) but here in the UK streets of new housing will never have a no. 13.

      1. Sorry, bit of an exaggeration. However googling UK streets no. 13 produced a number of articles suggesting around 30 – 35% of UK streets had no number 13 and that for new build social housing local authorities tended to require 13 to be left out. Also, a house value website – Zoopla- had calculated that houses numbered 13 sold, on average, for 4 – 6K less than adjoining properties.
        Judas has a lot to answer for!

      1. Well, actually they do, otherwise how would the 14th floor stay up?

        (Okay, I get your meaning. But the point remains, the 13th floor is the 13th floor regardless of what the building owners choose to call it).

        1. Ha, ha, yeah, I remember stubbornly making that argument as a kid when I first became aware of the phenomenon. Only I was quite serious about it. Couldn’t understand why anyone would think changing a name would change reality.

          1. I totally agree with you.
            And so would Richard Feynman (“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”)

    1. Couldn’t he just turn it upside down, underline it and claim god turned it into 999? Or with a marker turn it into a 668? Or put little “ones” in between each 6 as a protest? Is the IRS really more powerful than god?

  5. It is bad theology. Or worse anyway, since good theology is an oxymoron.

    Isn’t his god powerful enought to fight off the malign influence of a mere number? In the bible, god once got mildly annoyed with us, flooded the earth with miles of water, and killed all but 8 people.

    These days, that god can’t seem to deal with some ink on a piece of paper. So why call it god any more?

    Really, all he has to do is sacrifice a chicken and some money (donated to his church), and say a few magic spells aka prayers and he is home free. Don’t they have witch doctors (ministers) in Tennessee?

  6. Some oldies but goodies:

    668: The neighbor of the beast.
    999: The number of the beast, in Australia.
    25.8069758…: The square root of the beast.
    2 x 3 x 3 x 37: The prime factorization of the beast.

    1. In the film “Clockwork Orange” the two former friends turned police who arrest Alex to take him to the country to beat him up have badge numbers 665 and 667.

      I’ve also heard of 37 as “the prime factor of the beast.”

  7. I’m certain you all know the number is really DCLXVI but the story is completely daft anyway. If the satanic fairy really existed any code would be hidden from us mere mortals. I don’t know why I’m bothering with all this religious codswallop anyway. I need to get a life.

  8. That is bad. Unfortunately, religion makes people do worse things. A mob just tortured and torched a 20 year mother during a witch hunt in Papua New Guinea.



    We all know the despicable church that has haunted PNG the last several hundred years, maintaining a 96 % frequency. Yep, it’s the Rat’s.

    We also all know that they haven’t taken responsibility for their form of superstition, once again. (This is ongoing, last time was 2009.)

    1. Now, now, without the civilising influence of the mighty, moral Catholic church, those people would be doing many more worse things than just burning a young mother alive! Like what? Not putting money on the church’s collection plates, that’s what. Ratty has to be kept in pretty shoes.

  9. When I tried to write 666 in Roman Numerals, I found it’s just one of each of them: DCLVXI.

    If the ancients who wrote this used a similar number system, then it’s easy to see how they made this ‘significant’ number up — sheer laziness!

  10. There are exactly 666 verses in the Gospel of Mark in the standard version.

    There are six letters in each of the names of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

    The numbers on a roulette wheel (1 to 36) add up to 666, and the roulette wheel was invented by Pascal, also the creator of Pascal’s wager.

    Line up the letters of the alphabet in a 3×9 (not 3×10) box and the three letters in column six are FOX.

    Numbers happen!!

  11. Don’t forget about Reagan . . . “A prominent example is Nancy and Ronald Reagan who, in 1979, when moving to their home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles, had its address—666 St. Cloud Road—changed to 668 St. Cloud Road.” From wikipedia article about Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

  12. Apparently the company apologized, gave him a new number and he went back to work a couple of days later. I still think it’s stupid. He shouldn’t have gotten such concessions. A similar thing happened when I lived in the Houston area back in the late 80’s. A voting precinct was numbered 666 and public outcry was so loud that the county changed the number. Interestingly enough, there was a phone exchange of 666 and I never heard of any complaints about that.

    1. And we do… in just the same way that we respect his belief that his wife is pretty and his children intelligent.

  13. Looks like ol’ Walter picked himself up a copy of the Gideons Bible somewhere along the line. Hope he didn’t steal it, ’cause then he’d certainly be hellbound.

  14. In his defense, triskadekaphobia– the irrational fear of the number 13– is so ingrained that buildings rarely have a 13th floor and hospitals often eschew rooms with 13 appelations.

    I would think that the cost of hiring a new janitor might be enough incentive to give the guy a new W-2. This flavor of craziness is fairly benign.

    On the other hand, I’d find it a bit more significant if the guy quit his job as, say, an evolutionary biologist over the 666 W-2.

  15. “God is worth more than money.”

    One has to wonder when this thought first occurred to mankind. Talk about a “Eureka” moment (for snake oil salesmen).

    It is certainly a testament to the marketing brilliance of organized religion that men in the 21st century can blithely utter such a phrase — and believe it without question.

  16. The man is worried about his tax form but he isn’t afraid to live in the house of his son….Soldier for the very beast he is afraid to bare the mark of.

  17. Can I be the first to point out that in Unix/Linux, 666 designates a file with universal read/write permissions.

    This shows two things:
    1. Linux is a tool of the devil.
    2. Allowing ‘just anybody’ free access is evil. WE must have control!

    (‘WE’ being whoever’s in power at the moment, of course…)

    … sent from my Linux box…

  18. In the late 90’s I stopped at a convenience store in Cleveland, TN, a hop, skip and jump from Dayton, site of the 1925 Monkey Trial.

    My purchase total was $6.66. The clerk raised his eyebrows and changed the amount to $6.67 (I gather not to shortchange himself, when he counted out at the end of the shift, and the owner?), versus $6.65 in my favor. I didn’t quibble with that then although, now, I might quibble if for no other reason than for the entertainment value of watching him squirm and stress, debating with himself whether it worth his effort to get a penny out of his pocket, versus mine, as the solution to his superstituous neurosis.

  19. And, for those who are computer mavins, how about 29A (666 in hexadecimal, for those who aren’t). I’ve always been fond of sticking that somewhere in code I write. It’s never caused a crash, as far as I can tell.

  20. i knew a developer in the local city who maybe 10 years ago built a row of a half dozen townhouses; the one with the address ‘666’ was the only one that didn’t sell. after several months he petitioned the city for a new address. ‘666’ was eliminated; that and the addresses above it increased by 2, and the home sold. he did not think it the least bit amusing.

  21. In March of 2009, at the end of the stock market’s long slide that began in 2007, the S & P 500 stock index hit 666 (within a fraction), bounced off that bottom and has been climbing (not in a straight line) ever since.

    A number of market commentators in the media made note of that coincidence, adding humorous remarks, smiles, head shaking, jokes. I thought it was all quite funny.

    Now if I could only figure out when this long market rally would end, but the devil hasn’t communicated with me lately.

  22. As stupid as worrying about an “evil” number is I found that article troubling for another reason. Why would someone fire a person just because they wouldn’t wear a sticker with the number 666 on it, especially since it was only for one day? That seems unnecessarily petty and vindictive.

    1. I agree, that does seem absurd, but then, making an employee wear a sticker with *any* meaningless number (such as accident-free days or maybe the number of spaces in the corporate parking lot) is degrading, pointless and stupid IMO. What is it supposed to achieve? I’d be tempted to sprain my ankle just to ruin their precious statistics…

  23. There was some lovely riffing on this 616/666 question in an episode of QI a while back. If 666 was the number of the Beast, what was 616? Quick as a flash Graeme Garden came back with “The fax number of the Beast”. They also came up with $665.99 — the retail price of the Beast, and 25.80698, the square root of the Beast, AKA The Root of all Evil.

  24. I wonder if I can get away with quitting my job because my phone extension contains the number of the neighbor of the beast, x667.

  25. Hey, at least he didn’t expect someone else to quit their job. I wonder if future employers will recognize his name, google it, and turn down his application for future employment?

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