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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.