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Just another date to most

Area clergy and residents say they're not spooked

Area clergy and residents say they're not spooked

June 06, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

What some might consider the day of the devil has arrived.

Today's date - June 6, 2006 - is seen by some as the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year (after 2000) or 666.

In the Bible, 666 is known as the number of the beast.

Are you spooked?

No way, according to most local clergy and residents who were asked.

"It's just another date," said the Rev. George Limmer, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown. "It's just another day on the calendar."

Like Limmer, several county residents weren't giving the date a second thought.

"Only those who fear the devil will be worried," Gloria Harvey of Hagerstown said. "I trust in God."

She said believing today's date has anything to do with Satan would be like believing an old wives' tale.

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The Rev. Mike Hydes, pastor of New Light Metropolitan Community Church in Hagerstown, chuckled at the thought that some might believe today's date was representative of the devil.

He said they probably are the same people who thought the world was going to end when the year 2000 rang in.

But for Satanist Wayne Kelskey of Hagerstown, the founding priest of Sect of Entrance, a worldwide Satanist group, the date is meaningful.

He said today will be a time of celebration and ritual for Satanists.

He called the day significant "because it signifies the beginning acceptance of mankind's responsible natural instincts as a way of life opposed to previous decrepit paths leading to fear, guilt, hypocrisy and the eventual silencing of its useless dogma and fairy tales," he said in a written statement to The Herald-Mail.

"A powerful day to celebrate one's own insight and a day to curse the slavery of white light religions, all the while pushing forward into the black flames illumination of freedom and joy, as nature intended," Kelskey wrote.

Besides Satanists, marketers also might see today's date as significant, but for another reason - the dollar sign.

"The Omen," a 20th Century Fox remake of the 1976 film about the child of Satan, opens today, while conservative author Ann Coulter's new book, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," goes on sale.

Fans of the speed metal band Slayer are encouraging a "National Day of Slayer," which involves skipping out on work, buying Slayer CDs and blasting the music at home and in public.

What's in a number?

Bob Hodgson of the American Bible Society said in a written statement that the Jewish and Christian faiths have "found significance in numbers."

For example, he said the number "7" is the number of days in which God created the world and "12" is the number of tribes of ancient Israel and Judah. In the New Testament, Jesus chose 12 apostles, and it's also the number of baskets collected by the disciples after Jesus "miraculously feeds a crowd," Hodgson said in the statement.

As for 666, the New American Bible states "Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six."

A footnote in the New American Bible states that the number "6" has been observed to represent imperfection.

According to Hodgson, some have said the number 666 might represent the emperor Nero, a church persecutor.

"They reach this conclusion by writing out the Greek letters of Nero's name in Hebrew characters," he said in the statement. "Then they assign a number to each letter, based on the ancient Jewish system of numerology. The Hebrew letters of Nero's name add up to 666."

Hagerstown resident Jamie Ashkettle said she's not worried about today's date, nor does she associate it with the devil.

"It's just another day. I don't believe in that stuff," Ashkettle said. "If he's going to get me, he's going to get me sooner or later."

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