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iPads, iTunes & iHaters

When I was a freshman in college, I shared an apartment with a student who was a junior at the same college I was attending.  His name was Dale.

Dale and I were opposites in a lot of ways.  I was a more serious student than he was.  I majored in Accounting and he majored in Parks and Recreation.

Dale was a tall, good looking, charming guy who liked playing around.  He attracted girls like a magnet attracts pieces of metal.  At one point during the fall semester, the topic of abortion came up and Dale told me that during the previous school year he had gotten a girl pregnant and ended up paying for half the cost of an abortion.  We argued about the morality of abortion.  He was a product of the “free love” movement and didn’t see anything wrong with premarital or adulterous sex as long as it took place between consenting adults.

I thought about Dale and the abortion of his unborn child last week when I read about the death of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, and the visionary creator of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and iTunes.  As a newborn child, Jobs was given up for adoption.

Although Steve Jobs was an extremely private individual, in 2005 he revealed that his birth mother was a graduate student in college when she became pregnant with him.  Although she gave him up for adoption, she insisted that one condition had to be met before a couple could adopt her child.  The couple had to promise to give the child a college education.

The couple that ended up adopting Jobs promised they would follow the birth mother’s wishes; however, because they were working class individuals, they did not know how they were going to be able to afford to pay for a college education for their new son.  During Jobs’ first year in college, he dropped out because he didn’t feel like he belonged there and he didn’t want to waste his parents’ hard-earned money.  In 1976, he became the co-founder of Apple Computer with his good friend, Steve Wozniak, setting up shop in his parents’ garage.

In 2003, shortly after launching the iTunes (online) Music Store, Jobs told Fortune Magazine, “It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry.  This is landmark stuff.  I can’t overestimate it.”  He was right.  iTunes turned the entire music industry upside down and is now the number one music vendor in the United States.  Over 16 billion songs have been purchased and downloaded from iTunes since 2003.

Jobs was routinely criticized by detractors who are known in the internet world as “iHaters.”  One criticism the iHaters leveled against Jobs concerned the controls he built into the iTunes Store (which started out by selling digital music files and later expanded to include video files).  One control that was put into place was a prohibition on the sale of gay art, gay travel guides, political cartoons, and pornography.

From what I’ve read about Jobs, it does not appear that he prohibited sexually explicit content from iTunes and the devices he invented for religious reasons.  As a young man, after spending some time in India, he converted to Buddhism.  Later when he got married, a Buddhist monk presided over his wedding.  Although Jobs talked about “karma” (which in Buddhism is “a force that drives the cycle of suffering and rebirth for each being”), he never talked about God or the fact that he was blessed with a unique ability to see the future wants and needs of his customers.

Because Buddhism rejects the concept of a permanent and unchanging soul, it is contrary to the Christian faith.  Those who practice Buddhism believe that there is a process of “rebirth” after each death that is based on karma.  Buddhism is a self-centered religion that deifies the person rather than focusing on the person’s dependence on an infinitely perfect God who created all things and keeps them in existence.

So if Jobs didn’t prohibit sexually explicit content for religious reasons, why did he ban such content from his products?  I can think of only two possible reasons: (1) the same intuition that helped him develop products that changed the way people now interact and communicate with each other also helped him realize how destructive pornography and the gay lifestyle are to the individual human condition as well as human relationships; and/or (2)  he intuitively knew that if he allowed sexually explicit content to be viewed on his devices, the image and brand that he so carefully crafted would be defiled and tarnished.

I started out by telling you about how Steve Jobs’ college-age birth mother gave him up for adoption.  Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, twelve years before the first state in our country (Colorado) legalized abortion (1967), and eighteen years before the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion for the entire country (1973).

The most conservative estimate of the total number of abortions in the United States since 1973 exceeds 52 million abortions.  This estimate does not include: (1) the number of children whose lives have been terminated by abortifacient drugs that are readily available at local pharmacies; and (2) the number of children who would have been conceived and born if their parents had followed what was at one time the teaching of all Christian religions – from the time of Christ until 1930 – that artificial birth control is a grave sin.

Out of the 52+ million children who have been killed in their mothers’ wombs over the past 38 years, along with the hundreds of millions of children who would have been born if the teachings of Christ’s Church had been followed, how many of those children do you think would have turned out to possess the creative genius of a Steve Jobs, the faith and perseverance of a Mother Teresa, or the intellect and holiness of a Pope John Paul, II?

Better yet, how many of those children would have had an opportunity to love God and spend eternity with Him?  Answer: All of them.

What if Steve Jobs’ birth mother had decided to obtain an illegal abortion rather than give birth to the boy whose creative genius has been compared to Thomas Edison and Walt Disney?  If she had decided to dispose of her baby, we would not be benefiting today from the breakthroughs in communication that he helped to usher in.

I wonder if my old college roommate, Dale, ever thinks about the child he so callously discarded.  Regardless of what he thinks, I would expect that the mother of his unborn child periodically thinks about “what could have been.”

How is it that we continue to allow for the murder of millions of innocent unborn children when we know how much potential lies within each of those children?  May God have mercy on us and our country.

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One Response to “iPads, iTunes & iHaters”

  1. Sister Roberta Houlihan, CSJ Says:

    Blessings once more, Harry! I didn’t know Steve Jobs’ background. We have lots to pray for and about. We all have our shortcomings, are all sinners, but we grow in grace if we learn from our mistakes and try to overcome them. Sister Roberta

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