Apple zaps conservative Christian app

By David Waters The Culture War now has its own app. Or does it? After receiving thousands of complaints, Apple … Continued

By David Waters

The Culture War now has its own app. Or does it?

After receiving thousands of complaints, Apple has quietly axed an iPhone app that linked to a somewhat controversial conservative Christian manifesto called the Manhattan Declaration, issued a year ago and signed by nearly half a million people.

Apple approved the Man. Dec. app in October, rating it a 4+ — free from objectionable material. But earlier this week, Apple changed its iTune. The app “violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” Natalie Kerris told CNN.

The anti-app campaign was led by Change.org, which mustered 7,700 petitions to Apple founder Steve Jobs:

“The Manhattan Declaration application exists to collect signatures on a website which espouses hateful and divisive language,” the petition states. “Despite the store rating the application 4+ (“no objectionable material), I can assure you that the application does in fact contain lots of objectionable material.

Anti-anti-app crusaders countered with a petition of their own, which they say has been signed by more than 37,000 people:

“Despite the claims of some, the Declaration does not promote hate or homophobia. It is not anti-gay. Rather, it proclaims that all human beings are loved by God and are worthy of respect,” the petition states. “Civil discourse is a hallmark of a civilized and free society. Disagreement is not hate.”

Here’s the “offensive” passage from the Manhattan Declaration. You be the judge:

“We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”

That many conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims, even atheists consider homosexuality, abortion, stem cell research and so forth to be immoral is not news. The Manhattan Declaration has been signed by more than 150 religious leaders, including 56 Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops.

No doubt those views are offensive to many other Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and so on.

But as Declaration signatory Charles W. Colson noted in his personal letter to Jobs: “There is nothing in the Manhattan Declaration that is not also clearly stated in the teachings of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the majority of Protestant Christian denominations, Orthodox Judaism, and other faiths. Are these faiths to be defamed as ‘bigoted’ and excluded from having apps?

Where does Apple draw the line and how?

How does Apple decide which faith-based views are offensive to too many people?

Maybe they can develop an app for that.

Oh, wait. They already did.

About

  • blasmaic

    It’s exactly the type of error that gets made when attempting to regulate speech. Americans typically support offensive speech because it becomes too difficult to correctly sort out how to manage the diversity of opinion otherwise. Apple created its policy to block pornography on iPhones, but now it’s being used to block political speech. It’s a classic example.

  • yrral

    Krankyman wrote:This is the same concept that allows minorities to sit anywhere on the bus, eat at the same counter with you, attend the same social clubs etc.”I’m certainly not a lawyer (are you?), but this reasoning doesn’t make much sense to me. Apple isn’t preventing any type of customers from buying at their store, they’re just deciding what they want to sell there. By analogy, if Walmart had a policy that prevented a certain type of people from shopping at their stores I would agree they would be subject to a lawsuit. But could Walmart be sued to force them to carry a particular product that- for whatever reason- they didn’t want to sell?

  • lufrank1

    The App wouldn’t be so blatantly inappropriate IF Apple provided applications for Atheist, Muslim, Shinto, etc. Each and every Religion that has a Web Site.Better to stay with the Great Constitution Ap and VETO all aps that are limited to a Particular Religious viewpoint!

  • danroth777

    Lufrank1 et al: the irony is that having blocked this app, there are still multiple apps for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim texts that are each far more explicitly condemning of (for example) homosexual behavior than was this particular app.Something tells me that even left-coast-liberal-leaning Apple won’t go so far as to ban those apps…. at least not yet.(typed from my beloved Macbook Pro)

  • wireman65

    Spidey, I would hate to think thay you are an example of “normal”.

  • j3hess

    I don’t think it’s a religious issue at all; it’s a political issue.Jesus said to pray discretely. When you begin collecting signatures on statements of faith, no matter how innocuous, you’ve moved into the territory of organizing.And the context tells us their goals: not to practice their faith, but to force their practice on all.So the question for Apple is, does it want to sell applications designed for political ends?

  • rcvinson64

    Forget Apple. Use prayer to spread the App. Is there not a prayer network? Pray for it to be downloaded to your phone. if it happens, great. If not, maybe you are practicing the wrong faith?

  • beebopareebop

    Wow, I can’t believe the level of vitriol in these postings. I respect the civilly-stated opinions on both sides on this–it is a complex and ambiguous issue. Apple clearly has the right, as a private entity, to choose what it sells and what opinions it is associated with. However, I don’t agree that Apple made the right decision. The App store has become, in my opinion, a public square. While the public square should excluded clearly offensive speech and behavior (e.g. pornography), reasoned but controversial speech should be allowed. Those who are offended can simply “walk away”–not install the app. I don’t agree with most of the elements of the MD, but neither am I offended by the app. I respect the opinions of those who subscribe to the MD. Deeply held views are not always bigotry, and I don’t believe the MD is. Knee-jerk and hateful reactions such as some expressed in the preceding comments are fodder to those who wish to disparage liberalism.

  • spidermean2

    Never in the history of the universe would two roosters would adopt chicks. I’ve seen mother cats or dog adopt each others kittens or pups but never would there be two male dogs or male cats adopting kittens or pups even of their own kind.Such is the ABNORMALITY OF GAY PARTNERSHIP.This should be banned or the world will self-destruct.

  • rcubedkc

    Look out, spidernut has been hitting the holy water again.

  • Nymous

    Yet they finance tens of millions of abortions a year by shopping at Wal-Mart. Oh the irony of what they actually do.These people are a bunch of stupid losers.

  • balt21212

    The fundy-Christian wackos don’t like being called out on their perpetual hatred of homosexuals. What a surprise!And could someone please inform the columnist that the Constitution doesn’t restrict the actions of private companies like Apple?

  • mbc7

    By banning the ap, Apple shows itself to be a hate company. It also creates a hostile work environment for Catholics, orthodox Jews, most moslems and many others who share the views in the declaration. If Apple doesn’t repent and order sensitivity training for the offending staff, complaints should be filed with the government. And Apple products should be boycotted. They are all badly over-priced. Here’s to an Apple-free Christmas.

  • 5amefa91

    Any given thing or person is offensive to someone. But a blog replete with hateful posters and moderators should defend the rights of Catholics to say their piece. They, after all, depend on the the same protections of free speech. We all do. But what amuses me about the “liberals” here, though, is how orthodox they are, and how ready they are to attack any “heresy” against their orthodoxy.

  • rcc_2000

    While I object to the declaration it is their right to believe what they do. Apple has the right to regulate what apps they allow. I do not agree with Apple on this one. Being a proponent of free speech I would not like to see this app blocked. I do not think it preaches hate, but it does preach ignorance and intolerance. Basically the solution is easy, jailbreak your iPhone/Ipod/Ipad, it is perfectly legal to do and you free yourself from the Apple police. Jailbreaking may void your warranty…

  • Horace2

    Hey Balt21212,Atheists like you brought us communism, fascism and millions of deaths in 20th century. In this century, a million unborn babies die each year, unwed birth rates are soaring, and families collapsing because of the decay in traditional Judeo-Christian standards like the Ten Commandments. You and Steve Jobs — atheists worshipping at the altar of promiscuous sex and political correctness — are the ruin of civilization.

  • Catken1

    OK, those of you here who believe that Apple is censoring – would you support an app that said that Catholic families and marriages were immoral because of the Catholic belief that animalistic, physical aspects of marriage like genitals and breeding ability are more important than the emotional and spiritual aspects of marriage? Or which declared Catholic policies on gay marriage and homosexual love to be anti-love, anti-compassion, and pro-suicide for gay teens?

  • spidermean2

    Gays want to force others to think that their sexual preference is NORMAL and not ABONORMAL. If you have a rooster and that rooster wants to mate with another rooster, that rooster is ABNORMAL.Why would some people want to force me to believe that that rooster is normal?

  • ozpunk

    Go Apple!

  • wbowers

    I have a question for all you right wing followers of Christ. When you pledge that you will not comply with any edict that is anti-life, does that include war? Or is war okay if a Republican president is the person selling it?

  • ozpunk

    Spidermean2: People aren’t roosters, but you’re a jackass…

  • spidermean2

    Imagine those same roosters wanting to adopt chicks. Poor chicks.This setup is ABNORMAL so why would other people want to force me to believe that it is normal?

  • veerle1

    Stop telling others how to live their lives. If you moralising jackasses are so discontented with your lives, maybe it’s time for you to end them. Go on Christians, find out if your imaginary deity exists for real or is a pile of steaming BS.

  • krankyman

    After reading the many postings here I have wonder just who the “haters” are.Perhaps WaPo should please these comments and remove the right to post of these offenders.I love to hear “progressives” defend the right of free speech and then with the very same breath launch into a spittle spraying tirade against the free speech of others.And by the way you legal geniuses there is a concept of public accommodation. Through iPhone Apple creates a public forum. There will come a law suit that will force Apple to stop restricting the free speech rights of others.This is the same concept that allows minorities to sit anywhere on the bus, eat at the same counter with you, attend the same social clubs etc.You may not like what these people say but they have the right to say it. Restricting this right just exposes your tyrannical nature and the police state you hope to create.

  • yrral

    Perhaps someone could explain what I’m missing, but what does the US Constitution, linked to in the last line of the post, have to do with forcing Apple to sell a particular product in their store? Apple can’t stop people from agreeing with the Manhattan Declaration and signing it, and I doubt they want to, but should Apple be forced to sell a product that generates controversy and no doubt makes some Apple customers unhappy? Are there other cases where companies are or should be forced to offer certain products for sale if for whatever reason, good or bad, they don’t want to sell them?If others think I’m missing something and would like to explain I would be interested in hearing it.

  • rbaldwin2

    This is basically a manifesto supporting breaking the FEDERAL LAW legalizing and stipulating NO ONE SHOULD INTERFERE with the privacy of any other individual…This manifesto clearly does.Your contention that the manifesto does not promote HATE is manifestly WORNG and a LIE. Your quote, “Despite the claims of some, the Declaration does not promote hate or homophobia.” is an out right LIE as well..Your classic continued indoctrination excuse “That many conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims, even atheists consider homosexuality, abortion, stem cell research and so forth to be immoral is not news. The Manhattan Declaration has been signed by more than 150 religious leaders, including 56 Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops.” sounds like it came right off one of your training sheets distributed at every Klan meeting ever held where hate, fear, obedience and intolerance are DEMANDED from the trainees. I’ve known people that spew this kind of conservative right-wing hate all my life and whatever I can do to help STOP this continuing indoctrination of peoples all over the world, I will. We as a race have enough to worry about like staying alive instead of being brow beaten at every turn by people who view hate, fear, incrimination, force and governments as a weapon to be used against US the people.. Your time is about done.

  • rcubedkc

    Good for Apple. I like my iMac better every day.Now, if Apple could just figure out a way to zap religion altogether we’d all come out way ahead.

  • mjcc1987

    Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions all seem to identify themselves buy what they hate and whom they hate. This is why all religion is about exclusion and false exclusivity. They are all fake. This app is just another small minded demonstration about “with whom I hate”. All these religions have lost their positivity, just hate and that is all that is left.

  • rbaldwin2

    Oh, and by the way, Apple did EXACTLY the right thing. Cleaning up major LIES like yours is sometime tricky but EVERY TIME someone catches you trying to sneak your propaganda past us at ANY turn, we will call you out and make you look like the jackals you truly are.

  • quiensabe

    E Gads! What an oppensive comment posted by xushuhau10! The nerve of someone posting a commercial when others are discussing other peoples sexual practices! The nerve!

  • thebump

    This idiotic action highlights the sinister nature of Apple’s closed architecture, antithetical as it is to the unfettered flow of information most people have celebrated since the advent of universal Internet access.Apple is now officially evil. Anybody who cares about openness needs to run away. Fast.

  • MaryC4

    YRRALsaid:The Manhattan Declaration says:OK. If Apple has to sell the Manhattan Declaration app, I think it only fair that we compel all hospitals, physicians, nurses and pharmacists to provide any health services and products that are legal in their location. This would include contraceptives, abortions, sterilizations, the “morning after” pill, treatments using embryonic stem cells and assistance in committing suicide.Let’s be fair.

  • Freestinker

    But as Declaration signatory Charles W. Colson noted in his personal letter to Jobs: “There is nothing in the Manhattan Declaration that is not also clearly stated in the teachings of Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the majority of Protestant Christian denominations, Orthodox Judaism, and other faiths. Are these faiths to be defamed as ‘bigoted’ … Um, yes? At least when taken literally from their sacred scriptures.
    … and excluded from having apps?”
    No, bigots still shouldn’t be censored because it’s nice to know exactly who they are and what crazy things they believe.

  • twmatthews

    I’d be interested in someone explaining to me how Apple’s actions are any different from Fox News when they refused to air an ad by MoveOn.Org. Or, how Apple’s actions are different from Fox News when they refused to air an ad by VoteVets asking for Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell to be repealed.

  • randfb

    Long Live Android

  • schnauzer21

    I love to hear “progressives” defend the right of free speech and then with the very same breath launch into a spittle spraying tirade against the free speech of others.

  • momasan1

    Revvi Hirschf & CO.May “ECL{AT” (aka “IT”) shine xtra-Photons on & Bless the great “Note: Mr. Big-Mouth ‘OVADIA,’ “JOSEF/YOSIF/YOSEF” the “The Smell of him & Co, Burning would have made our day! Send Them All To Germany. Pay Fair-Market value for their Property; except if it’s on Stolen-Land and Kick-Them All Out; Kids Too; NO EXCEPTIONS! This is how it should be done, Why Suffer?It is anti “GOY” [aka Kafir] Bigots like him & Co., who caused the Fury & Provoked Adolf Hitler to Annihilate THEM [Heredi/Tedi/HASSIDIM], but also caused the Wrongful Death of MY-FAMILY (47 People) None-Heredi, None Hasidim, None Orthodox to Perish too (Because of their “Gods Chosen-People Sindrome & their Goys being 2nd Rate Humans [Kafirs, Out Caste's etc..]..Them/They PRE-Apocalyptarians; Ju Heredi, Tadi, Orthodoxs, went around (Pre-www2) Europe, boasting in Germany et al (Via their new “Jewish-Yeddish” (A Language borrowed from German)Print, Papers etc.) that “They are IMPORTED “Religio-Mafioso”s “J-E-W_s? Living Off The Necks of US (real-SECULARS) None-JU-Religious.Note: i[WE] am a SABRA, and Now an “EX-JU”!Our 1st Father, of FACT: Me Father {pbuh etal} was in the Haganna and his friends from Palmuch, and Argun, {Pre-1948 Israels Fighters-of-Freedeom} Warned US of HEREDI Will suck-blood &Kill or Steal our SECULAR-Israel, Not Their Israel” [Similarly said]. Now Who’s Right?Vote: DEATH to all Theocracy & all Monarchy on OUR S.pace-S.hip Earth, not Theirs! NO EXCEPTIONS. It is time S-A-B-R-A-ites. Lets Kick Out OVADIA & CO. NOW, Not Morrow!

  • AlanRoach

    First, because more than likely it was a business decision in which the pros and cons had to discussed I offer my support to Apple to discontinue the app. Before I mentioned my take as a Christian on the subject of “homosexuality” there is one thing that has to be remembered when it comes to the expressing our Constitutional rights and that is; in a free and open democratic republic “your” rights stop where”mine” begin. With that said as a Christian I am angry at the number of people who use God as a justification to spew their own venom. Whether it’s from Leviticus or Deuteronomy using quotes without having a full understanding of how they were referenced is one of the meanest things imaginable. I will repeat what I’ve written before which is the subject of homosexuality is going to take a whole lot of straight so called Christians directly to the gates of Hell. Why, because in acting out of their own arrogance they are doing the Devils bidding. Many who say they are the followers of the “Good Shepard” have strayed so far from the truth of His teaching of Love both toward God and ourselves they now redefine Him in their own terms. Do I believe someone may be Gay and believe in Him, yes I do. Do I believe that because of their hearts and actions many who are considered goats are actually sheep, yes I do. Finally God, please save us from those who know little, but speak a lot. Listen carefully, there isn’t any radical homosexual agenda, other than to be respected as others wish to be respected. No one “chooses” to be gay, nor are they possessed by a demon of perversion, and the threat to traditional marriage is not gays, but straights and their lack of determination to make their marriages work. The mindset that if I’m uncomfortable, I can always leave is so pervasive it is considered normal. Gays are not out to recruit our young. Why? Think about it, why would anyone wish another to endure the discrimination they’ve dealt with. Before the question is answered remember an old saying that is true, “What we say and think about others, says a great deal about what’s going on with us. I could go on, but why. Tomorrow the sun will rise, birds will fly, traffic will flow as will rivers and those who are straight or gay will continue to be as they are. Here’s one for the conservative Christian base, if you knew that your unborn child was going to gay, and there was nothing you could do to change it, would you allow them to right to be born or would you chose an abortion.

  • AlanRoach

    First, because more than likely it was a business decision in which the pros and cons had to discussed I offer my support to Apple to discontinue the app. Before I mentioned my take as a Christian on the subject of “homosexuality” there is one thing that has to be remembered when it comes to the expressing our Constitutional rights and that is; in a free and open democratic republic “your” rights stop where”mine” begin. With that said as a Christian I am angry at the number of people who use God as a justification to spew their own venom. Whether it’s from Leviticus or Deuteronomy using quotes without having a full understanding of how they were referenced is one of the meanest things imaginable. I will repeat what I’ve written before which is the subject of homosexuality is going to take a whole lot of straight so called Christians directly to the gates of Hell. Why, because in acting out of their own arrogance they are doing the Devils bidding. Many who say they are the followers of the “Good Shepard” have strayed so far from the truth of His teaching of Love both toward God and ourselves they now redefine Him in their own terms. Do I believe someone may be Gay and believe in Him, yes I do. Do I believe that because of their hearts and actions many who are considered goats are actually sheep, yes I do. Finally God, please save us from those who know little, but speak a lot. Listen carefully, there isn’t any radical homosexual agenda, other than to be respected as others wish to be respected. No one “chooses” to be gay, nor are they possessed by a demon of perversion, and the threat to traditional marriage is not gays, but straights and their lack of determination to make their marriages work. The mindset that if I’m uncomfortable, I can always leave is so pervasive it is considered normal. Gays are not out to recruit our young. Why? Think about it, why would anyone wish another to endure the discrimination they’ve dealt with. Before the question is answered remember an old saying that is true, “What we say and think about others, says a great deal about what’s going on with us. I could go on, but why. Tomorrow the sun will rise, birds will fly, traffic will flow as will rivers and those who are straight or gay will continue to be as they are. Here’s one for the conservative Christian base, if you knew that your unborn child was going to gay, and there was nothing you could do to change it, would you allow them to right to be born or would you chose an abortion?

  • peterungar

    “That many conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims, even atheists consider homosexuality, abortion, stem cell research and so forth to be immoral is not news.”I think it would be news if an atheist would consider stem cell research immoral. The reason it is immoral is that the soul enters the embryo at fertilization and hence destroying a fertilized cell or an embryo is murder. If one does not believe in souls the moral objection to extracting stem cells from a clump of human cells disappears.

  • jennas27

    While agreeing Apple has a right to decide which apps it will make available for it’s service I also find myself questioning why it chooses to nix an app a good number of users held in such high regard. Should the sole reason be based on tolerance/intolerance there seems to be a misunderstanding. Either way one will be tolerated and the other not. It can’t be both ways.As someone listed from the MH:”We will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriage or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”In general, this relates to the sanctity of human life which, these days, seems to be tossed by the wayside. Especially when it comes to the pre-born, elderly, and disabled among us.It also relates to the very foundations of any and all human societies: marriage and the family as it was created and originally defined by the One who designed it in the first place.Many posters here seem to forget divorce, adultery, fornication, cohabitation, and other forms of sexual immorality also fall “under immoral sexual partnerships”, not just homosexuality. Alfred Kinsey would be pleased with just how many he was able to dupe with his research, even after it was found to be falsified and just how he obtained his results.But more to the point, and this goes beyond the Manhattan Declaration or the app. It points to the very Creator and what He designed and what He planned. How sin, all sin, as God has also defined it in the Old and New Testaments, only leads to death and Hell. But through by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ we have complete forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Based solely on who He is and what He has done for us by keeping the full Law we couldn’t, paying the price we couldn’t pay when He was crucified, and declare us right with God when He rose from the dead three days later.A company’s decision regarding an app is not going to hold sway to society at large. Nor will it’s absence or presence ultimately have any true change. My real concern is whether or not there is a discrimination based on a peoples’ beliefs, including religious and moral beliefs.

  • jennas27

    I don’t have an iPhone myself, but my understanding is apps can be chosen and downloaded by the user.Incidentally, Change.org, which initiated the gathering of signatures for the petition for the iPhone app to be removed is a far-left liberal website. Much of what they state of Christianity itself is rather negative and prejudiced.

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