Buried in a flimsy trend story about the, er....resurrection of "John 3:16" madness (courtesy of YouKnowWho, natch) is a more fascinating nugget about the true originator of the craze—who is serving three life terms in a California prison.
Forbes believes that Tim Tebow's obsession with that Christ fella has sparked a resurgence in Bible messages at sporting events. You know, people holding up signs with the numbers of Bible verses so that viewers could look them up and have an epiphany. Of course, anyone over a certain age knows the signs used to be ubiquitous at major (and minor) sporting events thanks to some dude known as "Rainbow Man," a Jesus freak who was frequently seen on TV wearing a clown wig and carrying a sign that read "John 3:16." So Forbes included a "where are they now" sidebar story on Rainbow Man, a.k.a., Rollen Stewart, because unbeknown to most people (including me) he's been in jail since 1992, when he took a hotel maid hostage at gunpoint.
His personal life was a wreck as well. Stewart claimed he never made any money (his tickets to sporting events were believed to have been bought by sympathetic Christians). By the 1990s, he was homeless and living in his car. His wife and one-time signage partner had left him—she claimed he choked her when she didn't hold her sign in the correct place during a game.
Finally he went over the edge. In September of 1992, Rollen locked himself in a hotel room in a Los Angeles Hyatt and made threats to shoot at airplanes landing and taking off at nearby LAX Airport. He held a Hyatt maid hostage in his room. He plastered religious verses on the windows. After an eight-hour standoff, SWAT teams broke into his room and found a handgun, two ammunition clips and 47 live ammunition rounds.
Um. Wow. Stewart was given three life terms for the incident—yay, California sentencing laws?—and gets denied for parole pretty much once a year. Oh, he still believes in God. Just in more of a vengeful fire and brimstone kind of way, I guess.
Now I'm not saying Tebow's eye black messages are leading him down a similar path of violent insanity, but you know, some people do get a little out of hand with their Gator chomps. I suggest that he sticks to decaf.