Apple pulled the smart phone application on March 22 after over 150,000 individuals were recruited by the homosexual activist group Truth Wins Out (a play on Exodus International’s successful Love Won Out conferences), to log on to change.org and sign an incendiary petition demanding that Apple remove what the petition called a “hateful and bigoted” app.
While those driving the petition campaign tried to label the app as aggressively pushing Exodus’ core mission of helping individuals leave the homosexual lifestyle, in reality the application simply linked those who downloaded the app to resources on the ministry’s website — such as frequently asked questions, fact sheets, and information on homosexuality, stories from people helped by the group, and Facebook and Twitter links. The group’s core values are based on historic Christian doctrine that individuals can be set free from all manner of sinful behavior and lifestyles — including homosexuality and same-sex attraction — through the power of Christ. Ironically, noted Baptist Press in its reporting on the story, “Apple’s app store has hundreds of apps for the homosexual community spotlighting everything from dating services to sex tips....”
The move by Apple is the second time in several months that the company has pulled an Christian-based app under pressure from homosexual activists. In November, a similar petition on change.org targeted an iPhone app that included the text of a Christian document entitled the Manhattan Declaration, which among other things, makes a strong declaration of the sanctity of life, the scriptural view of traditional marriage, and the importance of religious liberty. (Thus far, over 500,000 individuals have signed the declaration, expressing their approval of its tenets.) Both the Exodus and the Manhattan Declaration apps had received “four-plus” approval ratings from Apple — meaning that the resources were free from offensive content — and in both cases Apple ultimately pulled the apps with the explanation that they had violated “our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”
In responding to Apple’s decision, Exodus International’s president, Alan Chambers, said that “discrimination of thought and belief obstructs essential dialogue and authentic diversity.” While militant homosexual activists insist that it is important to silence those who disagree with the notion that same-sex relationships are normal and healthy, Chambers said that the real issue “comes down to what we, as a culture, believe about equality and the freedom to express our beliefs.”
Randy Thomas, Exodus’ executive vice president, said that the most recent campaign by “gay” activists demonstrates a pattern of intolerance among those who insist on the total acceptance of their lifestyles and behavior by society. “It’s alarming where this is headed in our culture,” Thomas told Baptist Press. “You have the Manhattan Declaration, you have Exodus. Activists were calling for Oprah to fire Lisa Ling simply for interviewing us [for a segment on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel]. You have Chick-fil-A which is under fire. It seems like if you’re a Christian in this culture and you have a moral view that isn’t in line with pro-gay ideology, they’re seeking to silence you, and silence anybody who would be willing to even talk to you. That is a very alarming trend that seems to only be growing.”
Wayne Bessen of the “gay” activist group Truth Wins Out, which led the assault against the app, called Apple’s decision “wise and responsible,” with the group’s spokesman, John Becker, insisting that the issue was not one of free speech, “but of stopping a virulently anti-gay organization from peddling false speech at the expense of vulnerable LGBT youth.”
But Jeff Buchanan, Exodus’ director of Church Equipping and Student Ministries, said that Exodus is not hateful, but is driven by Christian compassion for those who are being tormented by same-sex attraction and a destructive lifestyle. “Exodus International loves the gay community, Buchanan told the Christian Post. “We love those with unwanted same-sex attraction. Our desire is to present a Christ-centered message to everyone about His redemptive power and His ability to transform everyone’s lives.”
Exodus’ Randy Thomas, who once struggled with homosexuality, said that Apple’s decision to reject the organization’s resource hit him personally. “Of course, it impacts me greatly, because I know the freedom that I have found in Christ and I know the joy and happiness and contentment that I have in Christ.” Thomas told Baptist Press. “And so to see gay activists compare us to the Ku Klux Klan and lying about the reality of our testimony and watching Apple cave in to those lies without even getting to know who we are ... it’s a personal insult. But it also denies a lot of people a very convenient and helpful resource to learn about Christ’s love.”