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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 • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Technology

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. Jeffrey Brewer

    And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Thought they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but five approval to those who practice them. God. Romans Chapter One.

    December 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  2. Joe

    1. Apple has every right to take this down simply because they are a private organization.
    2. Don't complain because something like this is "offensive". If you don't want to look at it you don't have to.

    December 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  3. Brenda

    Gee whiz! I'm a follower of Jesus and this is what so-called Christians are complaining about?? I'm so tired of christians complaining about their rights.. if they would just read their Bible's, God never said life would be fair. We believers are called to suffer for our faith.. Instead of getting our underwear all in a wad, why aren't we loving people, serving people, being the hands and feet of Jesus? What are we doing?? He is coming back soon and we are wasting time on such trivial things! Let's be busy with Jesus work in "going out into all the world, preaching the Gospel and making disciples." Matthew. I'll make one more point.. there are hundreds of not thousands of follower of Jesus truly suffering for the Gospel. They are tortured, put into prisons, even put to death. We have NOTHING to complain about! Wait till true persecution comes... boy are we Christians going to be in trouble!

    December 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  4. steve wick

    Christ was a radical.. He alone changed the role of women, extended grace and mercy to the sinner and loved the unlovable. So Conservative Christian is a dead fart and not a sweet savour.. We are to be salt, light and joy to a dark and dying world that has nothing, absolutely nothing that satisfies for more than a moment... Jesus is my portion, and I love to spread His good news of reconciliation to God through confession of sins and entering into a personal realtionship with an amazing God through His son's death and ressurection. Enough of the chatter / banter on the miniscule.. focus on the dying world who needs Jesus's love and affection!

    December 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • Bob

      You should really do a bit of thought on the bible. The world as it is now is by God's own design. He wanted this. You cannot be all powerful and the creator of the unvierse without knowing what's going to happen on your own dictated terms.

      Man has no free will if you believe in the bible. Our minds mere computer programs created by God.

      December 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Brenda

      Amen! Amen! Amen Steve!! Thank you for that post! :)

      December 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • salmos8318

      @Bob
      It's not the same to say he "wanted this" as it is to say "he's allowing this". To illustrate: Wouldnt you allow your sick child to go through a painful surgery knowing that it'll be all better later? It may seem cruel if you focus on the surgery part but think of the bigger picture. The death and suffering of all mankind over these last 6000 yrs is not God's fault... but his arch-enemy's fault. What's more, he can and will undo all the harm done... sickness and suffering will be no more... death will be no more. We will some day live forever in a paridisaic earth with only one government!

      December 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  5. aimee proulx

    Apologetics is an interesting and important part of Christianity, but probably not one that wins many for Christ. It is silly to agrue absolute truth with someone who finds their "truth" outside of the bounds of scripture. You cannot argue Godly truth with somone who does not believe in God.

    December 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • steve wick

      so true... the world thinks redemption is unnecessary as they do not even not reconciliation is possible much less needful.. Hence without reconciliation, redemption is but a pipe dream!

      December 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bob

      Who says it's the truth? Tell me how you came to the conclusion that it was the absolute truth and not a trick by Satan to fill your mind with lies and damn you to his realm?

      December 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Rion Jacobs

      Thank you for that. The common sense of this world does not understand God. True wisdom begins with Jesus Christ. To try and explain God is impossible and the world will see you as foolish every time. They will never know what we know; until Christ reveals Himself to them.

      December 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  6. Richard

    This is the reason you should never buy an Apple product, Apple decide what you can and can't have on the product you thought you owned, unfortunately you never really own it, Apple own you by making you buy all your apps from them they even produce updates to cripple third party non apple apps!.. and also "Apple Bans Android Magazine From App Store" along with anything else they feel they are not in total control over! need I say any more

    December 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  7. Josh

    Apple definitely made a political and ethical statement. In response to the article and the previous posts– Pop culture cannot create right and wrong, or change it. Just because there is a collective that is in agreement with something doesn't make it morally superior. That first amendment right is something that all of us can exercise, especially when it comes to making political decisions that impact our societies.

    December 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  8. Jane

    I'm a bit puzzled by people who liken the removal of this app to a business refusing to serve a black man. Apple hasn't refused to serve anybody. Christians – even extremists – are more than welcome to continue to shop at the app store. All Apple has done is made a decision not to offer a certain product. Businesses do this all the time.

    December 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  9. shadow_man

    Christians are crying about their rights? This isn't violating their rights. Apple is a private company, and what they do within their company is their decision. Just like Apple can't change what's done within the church, the church cannot change what happens within apple. Christians seem to think only they have rights. They need to stop forcing their beliefs on other people and get out of people's bedrooms, and stop being hypocrites spreading hate.

    December 3, 2010 at 4:58 am |
  10. JT

    I'm atheist and I think the app should have stayed. Let the funDUHmentalist Christians continue to show their true colors and be exposed for the cult of hate that they are. They are the electronic extension of Pastor Fred Phelps and co. True Christians® should be the ones crying to take it down or are the owners of this app the real True Christians®?

    December 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.