Apple has responded to the outcry over an app from Christian group Exodus International aimed at “homosexual strugglers” by removing it from iTunes.
Some 150,000 people signed an online petition demanding it be removed. (That’s more than the entire population of Pasadena, California, Rochester, England or Beihei, China).
The real issue: Apple has no coherent policy about what kind of content gets approved and remains in iTunes. The app had been available since February 15 and marked 4+ for containing no objectionable content.
Apple pulled it after the close of business in California and only made a statement the following day. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said: ” We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.” (Emphasis ours).
Calling the online petition signed by over 150,000 people a “calculated smear campaign,” by gay activists to remove the Exodus International app, the president of the Christian organization responded to Apple’s decision to pull it from the iTunes store.
Here’s an excerpt of what Exodus President Alan Chambers has to say about Apple’s decision:
Here is my point. It is becoming apparently clear that there is no room in this culture for diversity of thought or opinion. It goes beyond Apple having the right to discriminate. It is the fact that simply offering someone support as THEY CHOOSE to live their life through the filter of their faith rather than their sexuality is now considered not only offensive, but also dangerous. People with biblical convictions are now being labeled bigoted and homophobic for simply upholding someone’s right to self-determine how they want to live their lives. It’s astounding.
Apple’s statement on the matter is short and sweet – but opens up a big can of worms for other groups or companies who may have apps approved that later are targeted as offensive to “large groups of people.”
In the case of removing the Manhattan Declaration app, a “large group” was about 6,700 online signatures, for Exodus that number reached 150,000 online signatures.
The content of Exodus International app was basically the same as the organization’s website — it is hard to imagine that Apple reviewed the content and believed that no one might take issue with statements like the following on “help for leaving homosexuality:”
The bottom line – you don’t have to be gay! You can lead a life of fulfillment and holiness as God intended, a life far better than what you have experienced so far.
Apple has never re-instated an offensive app after pulling it – but there may be some backlash on this one.
Sources: Exodus International, CNET