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Did Steve Jobs really just use the Lord’s name in vain during a press conference?

According to a live feed of the iPhone Press Conference I read at engadget.com, he did.

“Because you would have thought ‘Jesus, it must be a lot of users complaining about this’ — So what percentage have called AppleCare? 0.55% Just one half of one percent.”

I know nothing of Mr. Jobs’ religious beliefs, but I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this statement. Disappointment only begins to describe the way I am feeling as an avid user and promoter of Apple products. I am morally torn. Is this reference a slip-up? Or is it representative of his true character? If the latter is true, how can I continue to use and promote their products in good conscience? If the former is true, am I overreacting by writing this post?

I believe we are all called to stand up for our beliefs, and that includes putting our money into organizations that have values consistent with our own. There are many Christians purchasing Apple products, and I wonder how this disrespectful use of their Savior’s name will influence future buying choices.

Everyone makes mistakes, and my goal here isn’t to villanize Steve Jobs. It is to call those in the public spotlight to be more self-aware, more respectful and better examples for the millions of eyes that are intently focused on them during a public event such as this conference.

What are your thoughts?

4 Comments

  1. Adri–I think you make an excellent point. Christians have strong buying power, and it’s important to recognize, that like any affinity group, we can vote “with our feet” and walk away from companies who demonstrate this level of insensitivity. It is vitally important for public leaders to avoid this type of offensive behavior. I’ll give Steve Jobs the benefit of the doubt and assume that, regardless of his religious affiliation (or even lack thereof), that he in no way understood or intended this offense. But, as my grandmother used to say about people she was suspicious of for whatever reason, Steve Jobs “bears watching.”

  2. Adri Adri

    I agree, Traci. I should give Steve Jobs the benefit of the doubt, too. He is very influential, so I tend to hold him to a higher standard, but recognize that isn’t entirely fair. I wouldn’t disown a friend for accidentally saying something similar, but I would express my discomfort.

    I like your grandmother’s saying and will definitely keep my eyes open. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Steve is oriented towards Hinduism/Buddhism. I’m not sure which. So he wouldn’t, in his view, be taking the Lord’s name in vain. You could also see it as an ejaculation i.e., “Jesus, don’t tell me there are a lot of users complaining about this.”

    I’m afraid that the casual use of the name of Jesus has become so frequent that many people, including those of us who should know and behave better, use it when we shouldn’t.

  4. I don’t believe he’s a Christian, so I’m not surprised if he did say that.

    However, CEO’s are held to higher standards and I’m disappointed that whoever wrote his statements up included that.

    Someone probably should call him out on it, but then move on. My guess is that if it were brought up, he would see the error and express remorse…but that’s just my opinion.

    On a side note, I am glad to hear that as a policy, they do not permit adult/sex oriented apps in their iTunes app store – although there are a bunch of swimsuit style apps. I do know that this is a decision of Mr. Jobs and they are turning away enormous $$$ by doing so. Good call there.

    Lastly, Apple strikes me as the kind of company that will go to great lengths to not offending any kind of group, mostly for business reasons, but also for the ‘can’t we all just get along’ hippie thing.

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