December 9th, 2010
09:51 PM ET

Conservative Christians ask Apple to reinstate controversial app

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN

The conservative Christian leaders behind a controversial app that Apple recently discontinued said Thursday that they want the technology giant to reinstate a toned-down version of the app.

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

Apple pulled the app from its online iTunes and iPhone stores in late November because "it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people," an Apple spokeswoman said last week.

The spokeswoman, Natalie Kerris, would not elaborate on about which part or parts were deemed offensive, saying "I'd rather not got into further detail."

But some of the criticism centered on 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 computed a score for the quiz depending on how many "correct" answers a user gave.

On Thursday, the leaders behind the app - called the Manhattan Declaration after the document it was meant to promote - said they were resubmitting the app without the quiz.

"In reading some of the blogs and press on the Manhattan Declaration app, we understand that one element of the app, the poll, seemed particularly offensive to those who asked for the app's removal," said Chuck Colson, a former aide to President Richard Nixon turned evangelical leader.

"As a sign of goodwill," Colson said in a statement, "we have removed the poll and have resubmitted the app without it."

Calls to Apple were not immediately returned on Thursday evening. Manhattan Declaration leaders said Thursday that they have not heard from Apple since their app was pulled.

Those leaders sent Apple a petition Thursday asking CEO Steve Jobs to reconsider their app. The leaders said the petition garnered 43,000 supporters online.

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

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

A spokeswoman for the declaration, Michelle Farmer, said that Apple had originally approved and posted the app in October and that it had received a 4-plus rating for "no objectionable content."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars

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