Steve Jobs Funeral Held in Private to Avoid Protests by Church?

Steve Jobs, Apple Inc’s co-founder, was buried Friday in a private funeral at an undisclosed location apparently to evade protests by an independent Baptist church that holds the iconic entrepreneur responsible for gay marriage.

Jobs’ family held a private funeral Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal, which quoted “a person familiar with the matter.” However, the source refused to disclose where and what time it was held or who were invited, “citing respect for Jobs and his family’s privacy.”

Jobs, the man behind gadgets such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, was likely not buried in Palo Alto, the Californian city where he lived. Fox News quoted Lt. Sandra Brown, a spokeswoman for the Palo Alto police department, as saying that she believed it was held outside the city.

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The location of the funeral was not disclosed perhaps due to the possibility of protests by the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, which had announced that it was planning to picket the funeral. “THANK GOD! Steve Jobs is dead! Westboro will picket his funeral!” said the WBC Blogs which is linked to the church’s website. The church also sent messages via Twitter for iPhone.

Westboro is a small church, made up of family members of leader Fred Phelps, notorious for picketing funerals and desecrating the American flag. It made headlines in 1998, when it picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man from Wyoming who was beaten to death by two men because of his homosexuality.

While the people, governments and silicon companies around the world paid tribute to Jobs after he died in his home Wednesday, the church’s blog held him responsible for gay marriage. “Westboro will picket his funeral. He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin,” Margie Phelps, daughter of the church’s founder, tweeted Wednesday night on her iPhone. Phelps is the lawyer who represented the church’s First Amendment case last year at the Supreme Court.

In contrast, Dr. Michael A. Milton, chancellor-elect of Reformed Theological Seminary, in a statement Thursday linked Jobs oddly with The Great Commission. “We at RTS remember that [Jobs’] contributions and the contributions of his company, Apple Computer, became critical collaborators in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Apple Inc has said there will be no public services. However, in a letter to the company’s employees Wednesday, the day Jobs died of an undisclosed illness, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said a “celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life” would soon be held for staff.

“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple’s board said in a statement after his death. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.” Jobs died at 56.

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