An online activism website has collected over 2,600 signatures within a few days to petition Apple Inc. for the removal of the iPhone app of a Christian ministry dealing with homosexuality.
Exodus International, which bills itself as the world's largest Christian ministry dealing with homosexual issues, reported that a petition by the LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out on Change.org is quickly gaining support. In less than 24 hours, the petition was able to gather more than 1,300 signatures.
Truth Wins Out contends that the app conveys the ministry's "hateful and bigoted" message.
"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," reads the petition.
Critics of Exodus also blasted the ministry's use of reparative therapy, calling it "bad medicine" and "very damaging" to the self-esteem and mental health of people struggling with same-sex attraction.
But Exodus' Jeff Buchanan, senior director of Church Equipping and Student Ministries, explains that its goal with the app was to "create resources that are easily accessible and helpful for those looking for answers to their questions about sexuality and faith."
"We hope to reach a broader demographic by using the latest technology."
The ministry had released its new iPhone app on Tuesday. The app received a 4+ rating from Apple, which means that it contains "no objectionable content."
Despite the 4+ rating, Exodus is still concerned about the protest because in November 2010, Apple removed the application of another Christian group following pressure from gay activist groups. The Manhattan Declaration app, which affirmed the sanctity of life, the historic understanding of marriage, and religious liberty, was also initially approved and rated as a 4+. But opponents called the app "anti-gay."
Though more than 46,000 people signed a petition asking the company to reinstate the Manhattan Declaration app, Apple rejected the request.
"We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," said Apple.
Exodus said it is concerned that Apple is "in danger of failing to meet the diverse needs of their customer base by denying them access to all viewpoints regarding sexuality."