BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN?
By BRYON OKADA, STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
Angela DuBose-Davidson of Fort Worth is due to give birth Tuesday -- 6/6/06. She says she'd rather her daughter not have that birth date but that she'd most likely wait instead of induce early.
It's 2006. And June 6 is near.
You got it: 6/6/06 -- 666, the number that represents the mark of the beast, the Antichrist.
Are expectant parents aware of the evil implications?
Carrie McFarland of Dallas is.
"I'm going to be induced on the Fourth or Fifth," McFarland said. "If my doctor had offered to induce me on the Sixth, I wouldn't have done it."
Her trepidation over her son Samuel's birthday isn't religious.
"To avoid teasing," she says. "You'll get the question, 'You know what that means ...' My first son was born on January 1, and everybody says, 'Oh, you missed your tax deduction.' Yeah, like I haven't thought of that already."
No doubt, the 6/6/06 babies -- and their parents -- are in for some ribbing.
Hey, Junior's horns are showing in the bluebonnet photo ...
Beelzeb-- what? That a family name?
"I refuse to give birth on that date," said Bethany Morian of Weatherford. "I'll cross my legs and watch the clock."
It's nothing scary. "I just think it would be a bad thing to carry around your whole life," Morian said. She says her husband thinks it would be hilarious to have a 6/6/06 baby -- so they could name it Damien after the bad seed from the Omen movies.
A remake of The Omen, of course, comes out 6/6/06.
Angela Dubose-Davidson of Fort Worth, an English teacher, is also expecting her first child, Gabriela.
"I'm a Christian, and that number has significant occult meaning behind it of a negative nature," Dubose-Davidson said. "I really do not want that date. I would induce on June 3 if my cervix allows it, but I'm most likely going to wait. My doctor is predicting it's going to be on the Sixth."
Christian Burton of Fort Worth is awaiting his first child, a boy.
"I'm a God-fearing man, and I would prefer him not to have a 666 date," Burton said. But he will not opt for his wife to induce labor to prevent little Jacob from being born on that date.
"I'll only be concerned if he has a 666 birthmark on his head," he said.
Recently the Star-Telegram asked expectant mothers and people who knew them to discuss the 6/6/06 date. There were many responses and a wide range of feelings, from trepidation to mild nervousness to amusement.
"My daughter is about to deliver my fourth grandson," says Marsha Eissler of Burleson. Yep, could be on the Sixth.
Is she concerned about the date?
"Not in the least," she says. "I have no superstitions. He's going to be a little devil, I'm sure. I think it's a really cool, easy-to-remember day."
Eissler says she can't wait for little Joby Larsen to arrive.
"If he weighs 6 pounds and 6 ounces, that will be great, too."
A day like any other
June 6 will be the 21st 6/6/06 A.D. -- and we're still here.
More importantly for parents, many people, some famous, were born on that date and turned out just fine.
French dramatist Pierre Corneille, who wrote Le Cid, was born on 6/6/06. In 1606. There's no evidence he was the Antichrist, although his work wasn't universally loved.
Mathematician Max August Zorn was born on 6/6/06 in 1906. Thanks in part to him, we have this theorem: Every non-empty partially ordered set in which every chain (i.e. totally ordered subset) has an upper bound contains at least one maximal element.
Good thing old Zorny figured that one out.
If, however, your impending arrival still has you worried, here are words of reason from the Church of Satan's high priest, Magus Peter Gilmore: "For we Satanists, numbers are just numbers, and June 6 is just a day like any other. We are amused by Christians superstitiously being afraid of this number, as well as the date."
And Satan, according to his church, would be a metaphor and not a supernatural being?
"We are Epicurean, skeptical atheists who see Satan as a symbol of pride, individualism, and the quality of questioning all dogmas," Gilmore responds.
That's a yes.
Or, as Robert Langdon, the fictitious Harvard professor of symbology from The Da Vinci Code, griped: "We've been dragged into a world of people who think this stuff is real."
Well, not really.
There was, however, a real moment from the last century worthy of song and remembrance, readers told the Star-Telegram.
Operation Overlord began with the largest seaborne invasion in history. Bad weather had postponed the attack for a day. An early morning amphibious assault, Operation Neptune, kicked off the Battle of Normandy. It was the start of the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation. The day, June 6, 1944, is better remembered by the simple military code denoting the start of an attack or operation: D-Day.
In calls and e-mails, the date came up over and over.
Many of them were from people born on June 6.
They said they couldn't be prouder.
IN THE KNOW
It would be easy enough to dismiss the whole 666 thing as yet another Hollywood concoction. But scholars say the number, which the Bible's Book of Revelation says is the mark of the beast, has interesting historical significance.
Revelation, written around 96 A.D., combined an apocalyptic writing style in vogue among Hebrews with code language used to hide social criticism from authorities, according to Joe Barnhart, a University of North Texas religion studies professor and specialist in first-century Christianity. Roman emperors took a dim view of social commentary.
"Sensitivity wasn't their main forte, and they crucified people," Barnhart said. "They didn't have the First Amendment in Rome."
The first use of 666 was likely code used as a sarcastic critique of an emperor or powerful man of the time, he said.
"Many scholars think it refers to Nero," Barnhart said. "Nero was already dead by the time the Book of Revelation was written, but there was a myth that he would be resurrected."
Or it could refer to Jewish historian Josephus, viewed by many of his people to be a traitor and Roman apologist, and therefore a person bearing the mark of Rome.
Or it could be a poetic way of saying any emperor who's tyrannical. The emperor at the time of Revelation's writing was Domitian, who increased persecution of Jews and Christians. And while the author, John, writes early in Revelation that the events he describes "must shortly come to pass," the 666 criticism is often applied to "anyone you don't happen to like," Barnhart said.v