Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Is It A Sin To Buy A Mac?

This is by far my favorite story posted on this site - this was the first story where I felt like I was a real "reporter" and started to feel like this site does have something unique to say ... on occasion.




I started on this story some time ago. The more I read, the more interesting this story got to me. Originally, it was to focus around a controversy that I never knew Apple was involved in; with the Church Of Satan. Since then, I've found two similar stories that I would like to gather into the weaving of this story.

Many websites concerning the subjects of this story have posted briefly on the topic, but it's hard to understand what the "real story" is.

December 28, 2000:

Apple asks the Church Of Satan to remove the "Made With A Macintosh Badge" and the parody "Think Different Poster" featuring the founder of the Church Of Satan; Anton Szandor LaVey.



Here's an excerpt from The Church Of Satan in response to Apple's Cease & Decist order:

"To repeat, our parody of the “Think Different” ad is, to my knowledge, within our rights to create and display, and the gentle mockery and good humor of this has been noted by many who visit our site, which has thus in our experience brought additional public goodwill towards APPLE Marks, not a tarnishing of them. We, as proud users of Apple products, are doing our best to support Apple Computer, as we have done in the past through word of mouth.

The question you may need to answer is: “Why does Apple Computer accept many grassroots efforts by the proud users of their products, yet in this case seems to be attempting to silence our efforts to be part of this support by claiming that we may be tarnishing the claimed goodwill supposedly associated with APPLE Marks and products?” If your reasoning stems from Apple’s possible prejudicial judgments against the philosophies of the Church of Satan, I would like to point out that the lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union who have worked with us on cases of religious discrimination would perhaps find this to be a matter worthy of their attention. Also, it occurs to me that this issue may also be of interest to other users of Macintosh products, and the Church of Satan has access to many journalists in all forms of media who might find this particular exchange to be newsworthy."


The reason The Church Of Satan identified so well with Apple Computer, besides the ease of use and the creative inspiration they embody, is because of the logo:

It is also amusing to us that this company uses as a corporate logo an apple with a bite taken from it, which certainly appears to be a reference to that other famous apple. We have not forgotten that forbidden fruit, which would impart knowledge of Good and Evil, offered to Eve in that mythical garden by none other than the serpent, an avatar of Satan himself. Is it not then strange that they seem to fear the admiration of the Church of Satan?"


This couldn't be further from the truth. I had my own theory about the Apple logo, but I decided to do some research. The website MacNYT did a very complete story on the history of the Apple Computer logo in February 2002. The official word is (as reported):

"Mollerup, has in fact, had an official explanation from Apple (referenced in his report to The Apple Legal Department, 17th of August 1994) on the meaning of the trademark, which reads as follows:

• The name starts with an A, and is therefore at the top of many catalogs

• Normally you wouldn't associate an apple with computers, and therefore the logo is easily remembered

• The apple causes good feelings. It's non-threatening and causes associations to health. "An Apple a day keeps the doctor away", goes an old proverb."



This makes the most sense to me; particulary because it is a similar reason I chose the name "applepeople" for my company. I knew I would always be close to the top of any alphabetically ordered lists.

My explanation, from my Apple sources, was that it represented education and knowledge as it related to "The Teacher's Apple" and to the story of Sir Issac Newton. Steve Jobs knew that education would be the first and most important inroad to make with marketing.

This story goes something like this:

Newton was under an apple tree, making observations about the sky, writing them down ... an apple falls from the tree and hits him in the head ... he takes a bite ... he then wonders what force/principle of nature made the apple fall and then the bite to fall to his stomach ... thus the theory of gravity was born." The apple in this story was seen as the catalyst for discovery and knowledge. Did you know that the original Apple logo wasn't an apple at all?




When the Apple logo went from the above representation of Newton to the Apple logo - it didn't even have a bite taken out of it. The logo was solid red - it was changed (again officially stated) to differentiate it from a Tomato. (The original logo was red)

My opinion is that The Church Of Satan, as much as I disagree with their philosophy, have a right to post the "Made with a Mac" badge, but not to make a "Think Different" poster. This would relate Apple to The Church Of Satan and give the impression of an endorsement - that said, The Ghandi: Think Different Ad is, in a sense, endorsing his beliefs. (But I suppose that's a stretch.) I do find this quote from Mahatma Ghandi to provide an interesting perspective on this story:

"If it weren't for Christians, I'd be a Christian."


So here's where we get into the controversial part of this article. This has always been an issue of concern to me; Apple's gay community connection. Many gay and lesbian groups used to identify with the older rainbow colored Apple logo. Some of my clients are churches and I live in the Bible Belt of South Carolina. Some of my clients are gay and lesbian as well. These two "phenonmenon" clash sometimes in the heads of Christians.

As an Apple technician, I was often asked if the rainbow in the Apple logo did associate with the gay pride flag. I don't think it would be a stereotype to say that the average gay likes Macs. Macs tend to be in creative fields and advertising - so do gay men and lesbians. A church leader may see the older Apple logo as endorsing a "sin".

The rainbow actually was a contrast to the IBM logo, which was also called "Big Blue". The IBM logo was designed as a seperation between white collar and blue collar workers. The Apple logo was to contrast to this - everybody will want to use an Apple Computer - not just business - after all the Apple II was the first commercially viable/successful personal computer on the market. Further, it represented the Apple I and II's color capabilities. I'm sure we've all heard the stereotype, "Yeah ... Macs are good for graphics I hear."

So ... while researching the two of these connections I stumbled on this website.(Link no longer active)

Geez, where have I been the last couple of years? I never heard any of this stuff mentioned, but it was on several different Mac websites. The site [was] essentially a ripping apart of Apple Computer as seen from a "supposedly Christian" perspective. The site had lengthy descriptions of how Apple Computers are tools of the devil. Here are the proposals of the site as written by a Dr. Richard Paley:

"The real operating system hiding under the newest version of the Macintosh operating system (MacOS X) is called... Darwin! That's right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don't advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an "Open Source" license, which is just another name for Communism. They try to hide all of this under a facade of shiny, "lickable" buttons, but the truth has finally come out: Apple Computers promote Godless Darwinism and Communism."

"Founded by long haired hippies, this company has consistently supported 60's counter-cultural "values". But there are even darker undertones to this company than most are aware of. Consider the name of the company and its logo: an apple with a bite taken out of it. This is clearly a reference to the Fall, when Adam and Eve were tempted with an apple3 by the serpent. It is now Apple Computers offering us temptation, thereby aligning themselves with the forces of darkness."

This company is well known for its cult-like following. It isn't much of a stretch to say that it is a cult. Consider co-founder and leader Steve Jobs' constant exhortation through advertising (i.e. mind control) that its followers should "think different". We have to ask ourselves: "think different than whom or what?" The disturbing answer is that they want us to think different than our Christian upbringing, to reject all the values that we have been taught and to heed not the message of the Lord Jesus Christ!"

"Apparently the Darwin OS is not the original creation of Apple Computers but is instead based off of an older, obsolete OS called "BSD Unix". The child-indoctrinatingly-cute cartoon mascot of this OS is a devil holding a pitchfork (pictured right)."


I could paste lots more of this pretty thorough article, but I'll let you read the rest; except for this one bit:

"Apparently anti-Christian zealots -- as well as shocked Christians who have unwittingly become Mac owners -- are linking to this article, which explains the large number of emails we have received on this topic."


The Truth Is: many internet surfers have been unwittingly duped by an atheist organization called Landover Baptist This website and organization claim to be a "radical fundamentalist Christian organization". Listening to or reading one of the sermons, on the website, is shocking. But, there is just the right amount of truth - just as you see on the Christian Objective site that denounces Apple Computers as tools of the devil - to make it believeable.


The Christian Objective site, spearheaded by the ficticional leader named Dr. Richard Paley, isn't listed ANYWHERE (on the site) as a parody. It mixes, in my eye, just the right amount of truth and analysis to make it believable. But the catch is - it's not truthful if you really dig.

Who Is Record for LandoverBaptist.org Registered in Virginia

Jesussave Objective Christian Project Registered in Nevada

These are actually the same organization, eventhough, the who is records are dramatically different. The Cafe Shops storefront is registered to the same organization. The "Objective Christian" site is nothing more than a facade to create controversy over Landover Baptist's site. The site builds controversy - denouncing the Landover Baptist Church - making you curious enough to visit the site. How clever!

Many suspected that Jack was doing the same thing with JackWhispers [The founding name of this website]. On the original site, in the forums, I was accused of being Jack and creating controversy around his products. They claimed I was having, what I call, the "eminem effect" - buying something just to see if the controversy/denouncement is truthful. (This is yet another reason I transferred this domain to my own, there could be no mistaking who was posting these stories)

Back to Landover Baptist: So, the site itself says in the terms of service that it is a parody site. Cliff Harper, know as Reverend Fred, the site's webmaster/preacher, often performs at atheist rallies in Washington DC. However, the Christian Objective site has no disclaimer. This turns the "untruthful words of caution" on the Christian Objective site into libel. Many non critical thinkers and congregations might use the information from this site for sermon information and reference. I know that a lot of churches in my area think along the same lines as the website words; "hippies forcing godlessness, subtly introducing evil to our children, etc".

To further discredit/disprove the Christian Objective site, not a single person on the site can be found anywhere else on Google, Yahoo, US Search, or MSN searches. Usually, if you have been on the internet more than 2 years you have at least SOMETHING about you out there. The name adzoox has 20 pages! I've been on the internet though since 1992.

I'm really surprised Apple never did anything about the site. The reason, I would presume, is that they didn't want to draw any attention to it for just the reasons I mentioned here: some might get an ounce of truth out of it and might investigate Steve Jobs and other executives behaviour, turning Apple Computer into a "Monica Lewinsy scandal" (which according to books I have read; Steve Jobs life is compareable to Clinton's.)

The real issue here to me though; is this: This site makes Christians look like idiots. Maybe, in your eye, you see Christians this way, but there is no excuse to have such a demeaning site pass off as being intellectual and preying on the hearts of people. Landover Baptist crosses the line, but their "sister site" borders on being criminal and is definitely evil in intent and purpose. While researching this story I found another legitimate, but misguided, site claiming a similar claim. Would others see this as corroboration to fact?
In my research, I also found this article at MacObserver. Be careful, I even started to think, "Wow, maybe there is a connection!"

[UPDATE] My take on the MacObserver link is this: they say it was exactly 200% above cost. I say it goes along the lines of common pricing schemes: Weren't a lot of things in the 60's and 70's priced at .66 and .77, and some things in the 80's priced at .88? I know that from my research on a past JackWhispers article that pricing changed to .97 and .99 in the late 80's and 90's - this was a pavlov training to make people think things were on sale or below whole amounts - ie - A car under twenty thousand is $19999.99.) This would also be in line with inflation. $666.66 would be about $3000 in today's computer market - hmmm .... that's what the top of the line G5 is.

* If the Mt. Fellowship Church, that sponsors this website, and that has a Christian Academy is so big and has all the members it says it does - then WHERE is the website for the church? For that matter, why isn't there an address or phone number for the church? The church doesn't exist - that's why!

* Value Web/Affinity web hosting hosts the Objective website - they referred me to their attorney - here is the interesting (because of the date - which is today) autoresponse I got:

"I have received your e-mail.  Please note that after March 15, 2004 I will no longer be monitoring this e-mail box, nor handling these matters for Affinity.  Please direct future correspondence to Christopher Manfre at cmm@hkw-law.com.  Should your e-mail need action prior to March 15, 2004, I will respond accordingly.

David Snead"


* From the Objective Ministries website:

"There have been some questions as of late on why we moved our web-site. As stated, it was due to our previous host's lack of strong condemnation of triclavianism" A call to the former ISP (crossspot.net) says, "it was over issues of falsified/inappropriate content and has nothing to do with triclavinism ... we suspected it was Landover Baptist - they falsely applied for free Christian web site hosting from us."

Not a single email address is active on the site. The majority of ads are inactive. The site was updated on March 8, 2004, but many elements are outdated.

Cogent Communications 1015 31st Street, NW Washington DC 20007 US - Hmm - an ISP near Landover's / hosted on the same network as Landover's - interesting. [www.netcraft.com results]

Are the images being used in the "article" copyrighted?

* I found this webpage at Positive Atheism:

* Though there are lots of grammatical errors this sites observations should pretty much seal it up for you that the Objective site is a parody by Landover. (In particular, read that the webmaster's old site; is still up!)

I believe in the right of free speech, I think the Landover site has a place on the internet. I do not believe that the Objective site does. I am working hard to have the ISP shut them down. They also can not keep moving from ISP to ISP ( I have counted 3 within 2 years) It should be made known to all ISPs not to host them, anyone that does should be treated just like any other ISP hosting illegal websites - fined and/or jailed.

No one has been able to find the truth about this site until me! ;)

[UPDATE] On March 31, 2009 this story appeared on the internet:

I invented the Apple logo

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