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

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


  1. Alex Shuffell
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I agree with his choice. It’s probably quite easy for a man of his intelligence to get another job.

    • Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Sarcasm at its highest hmm 🙂

      • Frank
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        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)

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

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

  2. NewEnglandBob
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I’m glad he quit. People brainwashed that much should stay home and away from civilization.

    • Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately he can vote.

      • Achrachno
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Maybe we need to paint the triple 6 across the front of every voting site. And big!

  3. Simon Hayward
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    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.

    • gbjames
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Need a Governor to match? We have one up here in Wisconsin that we would be happy to sent you.

  4. Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Any one denying the claim that religion enslaves the mind should explain away this man.

  5. Dave
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    “Why is he smiling?” Is it because he’s a blithering idiot?

  6. KP
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Pete UK
      Posted February 10, 2013 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      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.

  7. marycanada FCD
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

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

  8. Veroxitatis
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Sawdust Sam
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Can you cite your source?

      • Veroxitatis
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        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!

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t surprise me. Buildings here (USA) tend to not have 13th floors.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        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).

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          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.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            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.”)

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

              Well, what can I say–great minds…


          • Posted February 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            And then you discovered your last sentence is what theists are all about.


  9. Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    In contrast, I deliberately chose membership #666 in a club I belonged to.

    • SA Gould
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      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?

      • Occam
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Just slip him a KQ.29A.476 form and be done. The IRS is god.

  10. raven
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    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?

  11. Mark Joseph
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Very good. I got the 999 Australia joke. It also is the Police Emergency No. in the UK.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      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.”

    • Harbo
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      664 & 668
      “the neighbours of the beast”
      From the “Infinite Monkey Cage”

  12. Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    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.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    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.)

    • Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      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.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


  14. Pluto Animus
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    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!

    • Pluto Animus
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink


      • Posted February 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink


        I’m thinking of changing my moniker to “Dick Lexvi”.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    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!!

  16. trombus
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    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.

  17. Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    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.

  18. terri mc mahon
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Wonder if there are any “333” Half bad/ half-asses Out there?

    Sent from my iPad

    • Maple
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Nah, 333 is the number of the “baby beast.”

  19. truthspeaker
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    And we’re supposed to respect his sincerely held beliefs.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted February 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

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

  20. Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    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.

  21. Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    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.

  22. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    “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.

  23. Posted February 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    turn 666 upside down and you have Herman Cain’s tax plan. 🙂

  24. jumeirajames
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    He’ll have a hell of a job getting another tax code, the little devil.

  25. madscientist
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Numerology is a religion of its own. I never understood the human predilection to numerology.

  26. morkindie
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    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.

  27. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    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…

    • Posted February 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      But.. 666 files allow no one to execute them. To plagiarize Mark Liberman, the insertion of an appropriate Luciferous joke at this point is left as an exercise for the reader.

  28. Filippo
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      superstitious, not superstituous.

  29. Maple
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I remember my locker number being 668, but I rather liked being the “neighbour of the beast”.

  30. Posted February 9, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    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.

  31. threecheersforreason
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    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.

  32. Dale Franzwa
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    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.

  33. Posted February 10, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    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.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      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…

  34. Jonathan Dore
    Posted February 10, 2013 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    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.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 10, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Wonder what would be the Tweet of The Beast?

  35. dave apostasty
    Posted February 10, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    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.

  36. Fastlane
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    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?

    • SA Gould
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Why on earth does the devil even HAVE a number, anyway? Is it like the first original zip code?

  37. Schmorty Pantload
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This poor man isn’t smart enough to have a job. This worked out perfectly.

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  1. […] Tennessee man quits job when his tax form contains the Number of the Beast – From the Tennessean we see a remarkable instance of how strong a hold Scripture has on the South. Now meet Walter Slonopas, who prefers to be unemployed rather than have a Tax Number of the Beast. […]

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