Deputy Wants Social Security Number Erased


Declaring his Social Security numbers the modern-day equivalent of the biblical “mark of the beast,” a Ventura County sheriff’s deputy has gone to court demanding that the county rid him of the cursed number.

Deputy Patrick Dain, 42, is asking his employer to delete the number from his records--something the county has refused to do for four years--and pay him more than $25,000 in damages for money lost in his time-consuming battle.

He is also asking an undefined sum for the mental suffering he says he has endured as a result of slander and libel.


“Due to my religious beliefs, I do continue to assert that the county remove all references to my former Social Security number for the following reasons,” Dain wrote in an October 1996 letter to the county. “I believe that the number is associated with the mark of the beast as stated in the HOLY BIBLE, the Book of Revelations, Chapter 13, verse 16. . . . Because of what I believe the number represents and is associated with, mere use of the number is abominable to me.”

Deputy County Counsel Noel Klebaum said his initial reaction to the case, which was filed with the county March 25, was “incredulity.”

“I’ve never heard of this kind of case before,” he said. A private attorney handling the case for the county is filing a motion today to dismiss the suit.

But the case is not without precedent as many evangelical Christians object to numbers assigned to them by the government.

In October, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that a driver’s license applicant can refuse to give the Department of Motor Vehicles a Social Security number for religious reasons. The court ruled the DMV must accommodate five men who contended the numbers represented “the mark of the beast.”

Dain, a Camarillo resident representing himself in the suit, has been with the department for 20 years and now works in the Thousand Oaks substation of the Sheriff’s Department investigating property crimes.


Calling himself a Christian of no particular denomination, Dain said he was saved by grace at age 17, but that his concern over Social Security numbers began about four years ago.

“The biggest thing that woke me up was current events,” Dain said in an interview Wednesday. “Drawing parallels between current events and the Book of Revelations--the way the world is going toward one world government, and not wanting to be part of that.”

The number of the anti-Christ beast given in Revelation’s Chapter 13 is 666. But some evangelical Christians, speculating on the Bible verses that describe the apocalyptic “last days,” fear the “mark of the beast” could be an identifying mark or number without which one cannot buy or sell anything in today’s world.

By accepting Social Security numbers today, they believe they will play into Satan’s hands.

“I don’t want a number,” Dain said. “I think those numbers are going to be used in the last days. They have to have a system, and the Social Security numbers are the perfect system for tracking everyone on the planet. . . . I am not willing to be part of that.”

Dain began his fight to rid himself of his Social Security number four years ago, and the federal government allowed him to withdraw from the Social Security system, according to his suit. But the county is still using the number in employment records, he said.


Dain said his wife has a number, as do two of his children. His youngest son does not. He said he is trying to get the other two children’s numbers deleted as well.

He said Ventura County Sheriff Larry Carpenter has been sympathetic to his predicament, as have most of his superiors. With a few exceptions.

He said some officers call him a “kook.” In one incident four years ago he applied for a transfer and the lieutenant in the new division, who had heard of his beliefs, turned him down, he said.

Dain said it was because the senior officer thought Dain was a member of Posse Comitatus, an anti-government extremist group.

“It’s some right wing political group,” he said, laughing. “Basically, I think they rob banks and kill people. I don’t know.”

Private attorney Jeff Held, who is handling the case for the county, said Dain’s contentions have been brought up in various federal jurisdictions over the past 15 years.


Held said the case most likely will lose on legal grounds. But even more importantly, he says, Dain failed to follow proper procedure.

Ronald R. Garet, a law and religion professor at the University of Southern California, said Dain is on shaky legal ground.

“I believe that the Constitution does not bar the use of the Social Security number for identification purposes,” Garet said. “The number apparently is already on file. This individual has no right under the 1st Amendment that the government not make use of these identification numbers.”