Gay group demands Apple remove ex-gay app
CUPERTINO, California, March 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An iPhone application designed to minister to individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction has come under a hail of criticism from gay activists who have called the program “hateful and bigoted.”
The app, created by international Christian ex-gay ministry Exodus International and available through Apple’s online iTunes store, received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it was found to contain no objectionable content. The app provides a gateway to the ministry’s news, blog, podcasts, and other social networking and resource materials.
Truth Wins Out (TWO), an organization dedicated to “fighting anti-gay lies and the ex-gay myth,” quickly launched a protest. It claims to have gathered over 100,000 signatures against the app on Change.org.
TWO leaders have promised that if Apple does not bow to their demands they will hold a press conference featuring “Exodus victims” outside Apple’s offices to further pressure the computer company.
“No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus’ message is hateful and bigoted,” states the petition overview.
“Apple doesn’t allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its store, yet it gives the green light to an app written by an anti-gay extremist group that targets vulnerable sexual-minority youth with the message that they are ‘sinful’ and ‘perverse,’” said Truth Wins Out’s Director of Communications and Development John Becker.
For their part, Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas of Exodus have decried the “terrible, truly nasty emails, tweets, facebook and blog comments” that had been directed at their organization since the Change.org campaign began.
“[The campaign] really represents the lack of tolerance, a lack of true diversity that exists within various aspects of our culture,” Jeff Buchanan of Exodus told CBN. “What we’re wanting is simply the right and opportunity ... to have an equal representation on the iTunes platform within Apple to represent our message of a Biblical worldview of sexuality.”
A similar Change.org petition led to the removal of an app for the Manhattan Declaration last November, which was deemed “hate filled” for supporting traditional marriage.
Victoria Pynchon of Forbes magazine defended the Exodus app, and questioned the targeting of iPhone apps by special interest groups.
“At the risk of putting myself at the center of a firestorm of disapproval, I have to say that what I viewed and read on the Exodus app was not hate speech but simply the expression of religious beliefs with which I, and many other people, disagree,” wrote Pynchon.
Pynchon argued that it “is part of our national identity” that “we, the people, are entitled to believe just about any darn thing we want,” and warned against making a computer manufacturer such as Apple the “national gatekeeper” to acceptable or unacceptable thought.