Apple Steps in Culture Wars with Anti-Gay App Approval

Apple has found itself in the midst of the culture war in the U.S. (again) by approving the self-titled app from Exodus International, a group that works to “convert” homosexuals into heterosexuals. The approval has sparked at least one online petition from gay-rights group Truth Wins Out, and landed Apple, the app, and the petition all manner of press coverage.

The Exodus International app describes itself as, “With over 35 years of ministry experience, Exodus is committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth.”

The app comes with a calendar of events relating to Exodus International activities, access to blog posts from the organization, podcasts and videos produced by the group, and links to social networking connections.

Exodus International App Screenshot
Exodus International App Screenshot

Apple gave the app a “4+” rating, which means it was deemed to contain “no objectionable material.” This is the same rating that was given to The Manhattan Declaration, another app with an anti-gay agenda. Plenty of people find the content of both app objectionable, of course, and Apple pulled The Manhattan Declaration after the same hue and cry was raised about it that is currently being raised for Exodus International.

Truth Wins Out wrote, “No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus’ message is hateful and bigoted [original emphasis]. They claim to offer “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ” and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients.”

The group takes particular exception to EI’s use of “reparative therapy,” a technique critics call brainwashing that has been rejected by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association.

This is another situation where Apple’s role as gatekeeper to the App Store is guaranteed to please no one. If it doesn’t approve the app, those on the far right of the culture wars will be offended, and if it does, those on the side of gay rights will be offended.

As of this writing, the Truth Wins Out petition has garnered 23,429 signatures. The petition demanding Apple pull The Manhattan Declaration app eventually reached 85,000+ signatures, with Apple pulling it before it reached that point.