December 1st, 2010
09:22 PM ET

Conservative Christians blast Apple decision to discontinue app

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN

A coalition of conservative Christian leaders blasted Apple on Wednesday for discontinuing an app the group had created because the technology giant said the app was offensive.

The Christian leaders had created the app to promote a document that urges opposition to abortion and gay marriage and support for religious liberty, among other positions.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company had removed the app, which was called the Manhattan Declaration after the document it was meant to promote, from Apple's online iTunes and iPhone stores.

"It violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," said Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris, who said the app was removed last week.

The Manhattan Declaration app allowed users to sign and share the the declaration and included a four-question quiz that featured questions like "Do you support same-sex relationships?" and "Do you support the right of choice regarding abortion?"

The app computes a score for the quiz depending on how many "correct" answers a user gave.

Kerris said that Apple had heard from "large groups of people" about the app but declined to answer questions about who complained about the app and about which part or parts were deemed offensive, saying "I'd rather not got into further detail."

Prominent gay bloggers had criticized the app, focusing on the quiz.

Chuck Colson, a former aide to President Richard Nixon turned evangelical leader, said Wednesday that he was disappointed in the decision and because Apple had declined to respond to his requests for an explanation.

"If you have a public communications company, you have a responsibility to see that certain views are not suppressed," he said. "This is a dangerous thing to do in a free society."

Colson helped draft the Manhattan Declaration last year, which promoters say has garnered more than 478,000 signatures.

A spokeswoman for the declaration said Wednesday that Apple had approved and posted its app in October and that it had received a 4 plus rating for "no objectionable content."

"...Numerous attempts to have a dialogue via phone have been ignored," the spokeswoman, Michelle Farmer, said of the leaders' attempts to reach out to Apple. "Now leaders with the Manhattan Declaration are asking its supporters to get involved and pressure Jobs and Apple to reinstate the Christian app."

Colson and two other declaration drafters sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday asking that the app be reinstated.

In an interview, Colson said that if the quiz was considered offensive, he would have it removed.

Asked whether Apple had any plans to reinstate the app, Kerris said Wednesday that she had "no further comment."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Technology

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