We have periodically discussed cases involving employees who have objected on religious grounds to documents, badges, or other material showing the number “666” — considered by some to be the sign of the beast. We can now add the case of Walter Slonopas, a Tennessee maintenance worker, says he quit his job because his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666.
There are a couple of problems with the claim. First, I have already identified the Beast in a prior column as Michael Eisner, former CEO at Disney. Second, many scholars believe the actual number is 616, not 666. It turns out that 666 may be the ancient equivalent to a typo. Papyrus 115 is a fragmented piece of papyrus that dates back to the 3rd century and was not translated until the 20th century. Researchers were surprised to see that the papyrus included “616” as the sign of the Beast. If true, the Beast was the worker who received his or her W-2 50 workers before Hyatt was likely already wearing the number and lost his soul 50 days before Slonopas (It is just like the Beast to finger another worker while he or she laughs her way to the mailbox to send in a tax check).
Here are the more often read passages:
Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Revelation 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:18 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. (666)
This passage has previously led to problems when 666 appears on papers or in conversation for some Christians.
In the case of Walter Slonopas, he insists that receiving the 666th W-2 form would have condemned his soul to hell. That is a pretty petty God if receiving a standardized form is enough to toss away a life of clean living.
Contech Casting LLC insists that it is not marking employees for the Beast and simply had over 666 forms to hand out and he was the 666th. Of course, the Beast’s minions would have to say that. This is not the first time that Slonopas, 52, faced Beast branding. Earlier in his employment, he was supposed to be No. 668 to use when he clocked in, but was given 666. He objected and was given a new number.
The company offered to rehire Slonopas and give him a new W-2 form (presumably he had to simply come to the Benefits Office in Room 666). However, Slonopas has refused insisting “God is worth more than money.” . . . or rational thought, it appears.