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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 • Gay marriage • Technology

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. philip cabibi

    To be intollerant towards anything other than intollerance itself, is the tell tail characteristic of a confused mind.

    I applaud apple for this decision.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:49 am |
  2. burcham76

    Why do most of these posts seem so hateful?

    December 2, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • jocervv

      Most people are too afraid to actually go out and say what they feel so they turn to blogs I'm order to remain hidden by their computers. Their keyboards make them feel so powerful..

      December 2, 2010 at 12:46 am |
    • pcarini

      You've got a very low threshold for "hateful". Also, welcome to the internet!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  3. jocervv

    If people don't like the app then they shouldn't add it. It's that simple. It amazes me how ignorant America is becoming.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • pcarini

      Apple removed the app from their store because they deemed it offensive. They keep tight control over their app store, in part for this exact reason.

      I don't see where "ignorance" comes into play here.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:12 am |
    • Bill In STL

      PCarini – This is what started it all....

      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."

      December 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  4. naksuthin

    Cristianity teaches that their religion is the ONLY TRUE RELIGIONS
    Christianity teaches that all other faiths and religions are fake.
    Christian believe that if you don't agree to become a Christian you will go to Hell
    Christianity promotes exclusivity

    Apple is a worldwide company that crosses cultural and religious boundaries It cannot allow it's name to be associated with narrow-minded , arrogant and bigoted views
    No one would blame Apple for rejecting an extremist Muslim app.
    So why blame it for rejecting an extremist Christian app.
    Extremism is extremism.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:40 am |
    • Bill In STL

      Christianity won't kill you for not believing.....

      Something from the article is a very true point ... and it cuts both ways...

      "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."

      Cuts both ways don't you think?

      December 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  5. philip cabibi

    The same christians complaing are the same ones that boycottted amazon. I would hope this would serve as a lesson in tollerance, but it won't.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  6. philip cabibi

    well now, I hope some of these christians weren't the ones boycotting amazon.

    The sword swings both ways. If we keep being intollerant towards everything, there will eventually be nothing left to read.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  7. Steve

    Apple definitely has the right to remove the app- it's their store.
    Jim S, even if you don't think Jesus was God, you still have to acknowledge him as a historical figure. You should check out the textual reliability of the gospels/ other books of the Bible.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Jim S

      The bible does not provide factual evidence of Jesus existence. The gospels were written in the second century by unknown writers. They were NOT written by the apostles. They contradict themselves. There is no record by any of the known historians of the time of anybody traveling around preaching and conducting miracles. There is more evidence of Harry Potter existing than Jesus. The bible was compiled from many sources by a committee several hundred years after the supposed time of Jesus. The early church was headed by men who hated women and that is the main reason women are treated as trash today and are blamed for being the cause of original sin. Read something besides the bible and you may learn a bit more about life.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:51 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Jim, citation needed please

      The gospels were written in the second century by unknown writers. - The gospels were distributed around 60-80 AD, 90 if you want to be safe. Unless you were referring to the gospel of Thomas.
      They were NOT written by the apostles.– Matthew and John were not apostles?
      They contradict themselves.– citation needed badly.
      There is no record by any of the known historians of the time of anybody traveling around preaching and conducting miracles. - The Gospel of Luke.

      December 2, 2010 at 8:21 am |
    • Jim S

      A few books containing information:
      Man Made God by Barbara G Walker
      Suns of God by Acharya S/ DM Murdock
      Christ Conspiracy by Acharya S / DM Murdock and several other books by her contain a great deal of reference material and facts from her research on the origins of religions. She provides references from other researchers too.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The gospels were written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah and to establish the Christian religion.

      There are no known eyewitness accounts of Jesus. The gospels weren't written until about 60 CE. Jesus died in about 30 CE.

      There are no secular confirmations that Jesus existed that are not suspect of either being added later or were here say.

      The man Jesus probably did exist. But, he was not the Messiah or the Son of God.

      The followers of Judaism also believe Jesus was a false Messiah, because he did not achieve what the Messiah was supposed to achieve.

      The Christian response to that, was that Jesus would do the rest when he returned a 2nd time.

      The Jews say, the real Messiah will not need a second trip. I think they have a point.

      Jesus predicted He would return in the1st Century. Hmmm... this leaves us with a problem. Either Jesus made a mistake, or He did indeed return in the 1st Century. If Jesus made a mistake, then how can He be the Son of God/God? If he did fulfill all the things He said He would in the 1st Century then, all the Evangelical talk of raptures and such has already taken place. The Catholics and the Preterists both believe this.

      I tend to think Jesus was wrong. Maybe He really was delusional.

      Love and Prayers!

      December 3, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  8. Charlie

    The koran is offensive to me, will you ban it too?

    December 2, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Charlie: The bible isn't banned from the app store... read the article next time.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • Bill In STL

      Okay Frogist .... Killing infedels is offensive to me.... Shall we insist that any app that comes along must suffer the same fate?

      December 2, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • Frogist

      @Bill in STL: I'm not sure what you are saying. There are many things in the bible that are offensive but I am not calling for a ban on the bible as I recognize there are many thing of worth in it as well. Or is there a particular app I can download that kills infidels?

      December 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  9. rofwe

    IT IS NOW CLEAR TO ME THAT THE WORLD IS HEADED TOWARDS THE DAY OF NOAH. WHEN THE BIBLE IS CLEAR ABOUT SIN AND IT IS CONSIDRED HATE SPEECH. CHRISTIANS NEED TO COME OUT FROM THE WORLD AND STOP FIGHITNG FOR THE RIGHT TO BELIEVE IN THE BIBLE. ITS TIME FOR CHRISTIANS TO PREPARE LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH LET THE LAUGH AND SCUFF AT US..THEY KNOW THAT THE WORLD IS HEAEDED TOWARDS THE END. THE CAN FEEL IT. AS GOD SAID IN THE BIBLE " IT WONT BE BY WATER NEXT TIME. IT WILL BE BY FIRE..

    December 2, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Kyle

      Um?

      December 2, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • naksuthin

      We'll why don't you quit your job, sell your house, car and all your belonging and head for some hilltop to await the coming of the Lord.
      I'm sure there's an unemployed non Christian who would be more than happy to take your job.
      Make sure to let us all know when you've quit!!!!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • philip cabibi

      Apple didn't ban bible apps, they banned a hateful quiz that twisted christian tennents into hate speech. You can probably stop building that boat in your back yard.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:03 am |
    • David Johnson

      @rofwe

      WoW! What a fantastic idea! All the fundies out in a field, waiting on Jesus. And waiting, and waiting and waiting...

      Jesus predicted He would be back in the 1st Century. He didn't come back, 'cause He was really busy being dead.

      Dude, its been 2000 years and counting. Wise up. Even the Evangelicals are trying to achieve politically what their Jesus never gave them by his 2nd coming.

      Oh please! Get the fundies together to do this. Maybe it will rain or snow! Oh happy day!!

      Cheers!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  10. Martin

    A number of interesting things have come out of the above discussion:

    1) Everyone is full of hate. Sadly, you can hear a hateful tone in almost all of these posts. As the Bible says "there is no one righteous, not even one" (including Christians).

    2) Fighting hatred with hatred is not the answer to peace. As it says in proverbs, "A gentle answer turns away wrath"

    3) It is understandable that people see Jesus as a myth. However, you need to respectfully understand that if you say Jesus was a myth, you have actually fallen for a myth yourself. The man Jesus definitely lived, definitely did things people 'thought' were miracles, and has had a major impact on the world. Was he really God? That is debatable, but his existence is not a myth. Even Richard Dawkins has said he was wrong when he claimed "a good case can be made that Jesus never existed at all".

    4) Do not confuse the messenger with the message. Jesus would be appalled at the behavior of every Christian at various times in life, and throughout the ages. Again, as it says in the Bible "if we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us".

    ALSO just because the messengers get it wrong, it doesn't mean the message itself is wrong. Try to keep emotion & easy comments out of it, and take a long hard look at the original messenger. He did NOT preach hate. He DID preach love.

    6) As you might have guessed, I am a Christian. I am sorry for those who claim a faith, and then marginalize, oppress, suppress, destroy, mock, hate, deride, and kill in the name of Jesus. They are wrong.

    7) Here is what true Christianity looks like in the Bible. It is a beautiful picture:

    "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

    December 2, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • Kyle

      Thanks dude. These comments are a minefield.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • pcarini

      "Even Richard Dawkins has said he was wrong when he claimed 'a good case can be made that Jesus never existed at all'."
      [Citation Needed]

      I'll add a point 8) to your list above: "All Christians cherry pick when it comes to reading the bible."
      Of course it is a necessity since it is, as is natural for a work by many different authors, self-contradictory and downright weird and confusing in places. Are you a hate-monger? The bible has plenty to make you feel perfectly justified in that. More of a care-bear? That's o.k., the bible has you covered too!

      FWIW, I'm much more comfortable around the people who believe Christianity is about loving their neighbors. I tend to think that people remember the bits that resonate with them and gloss over or forget the other bits, and I'm OK with that. Saying the other people "aren't true Christians" doesn't quite work though, since they can back up their position with as much bible verse...

      December 2, 2010 at 12:40 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Martin, well said.

      December 2, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  11. XLIBERALFOOL

    If I write an app that is offensive to criminals, will it be taken down? They are becoming a rather large group of people, after all.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • pcarini

      "If I write an app that is offensive to criminals, will it be taken down?"

      From the iStore? Probably. I get the impression that Apple is far more concerned about possibly offending someone than they are about making a stand for anything, like gay rights.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:51 am |
    • Frogist

      @Xliberalfool: So you are comparing gays and women to criminals? Well that speaks volumes in itself.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  12. Kdt

    Why did they need an app in the first place? They are free to publish a website that is viewable by anyone.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:21 am |
    • rose

      They needed an app because, like all greedy hatemongers, they wanted to profit from wiping their filth across everyone else's faces.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:55 am |
    • HotAirAce

      They have a website. You can go there and read the declaration, as I did. I didn't see the survey there – I may go back and look harder. Multiple "routes to market" is a good thing, hence a website, and an app, and ...

      December 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
  13. Greg

    Guys I feel like a major problem is Christians who hate others. Well don't focus on them Jesus did not hate so I try to model myself after him. The questions on the quiz did sound biased but it's an app store if you don't want it don't buy it.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  14. Kyle

    Soo... It's alright to hate Christians now? I don't approve of the app not approaching the gospel the right way either, but y'all sound just as hateful as the you think the writers of this app are.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Jeffision

      Hate? No. But I have no problem with ridiculing, dismissing, and putting limits on people who try to force endangering psychotic beliefs onto the whole of society.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • Kyle

      @jeffision so you're saying every single christian in the world does that? That's generalization.

      And what "endangering psychotic beliefs?"

      I don't want to rant, I just want to hear some logical arguments here.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Frogist

      @Kyle: No, we don't hate the sinner we hate the sin, remember? So don't get up in arms about people hating christians. People just hate the prejudice and intolerance some of you are spreading.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  15. mickey1313

    god didnt say anything, because he is a myth, like the roman gods of old, and a honest politician,its just a fable.

    December 2, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  16. Jeffision

    Okay, all you Christians braying about "free speech"...please tell me why your argument doesn't apply to the Smithsonian also?
    You don't like it that a hateful phone app is pulled, but you're trying to pull a 4 minute video from the Smithsonian because it "offends" you. HYPOCRITES.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • jerry

      Because no one will offend Muslims in this country but many don't think twice about offending Christians.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • pcarini

      Oh lovely, jerry, yet another case of Fatwa Envy.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Jerry

      I'm not aware of any hate speech by the Muslims in this country? The Muslims seem to be content to live and let live.

      Cheers!

      December 2, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  17. kyle

    doesnt everyone complain about people that "offend" them? and then they complain to someone else? its just a big circle that gets us no where. life isnt fair and not everyone is gonna try to become your friend. someone is going to hurt you in some way at sometime in your life so get used to it. christains "bully" the gays and then the gays get mad and retaliate and then the christians get med back. its like 2 little kids fighting And its ridiculous. suck it up and get used to it.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • Frogist

      @kyle: Sorry but the two are not equal. There is a significant difference from speaking out against being bashed by christian groups who seek to prevent you from having equal rights or being seen as a complete and valid human being, and the ones doing the bashing. One is on the side of right, the other is wrong.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Frogist

      Well said, and totally true!

      December 2, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  18. riverrunner

    what ev xtians! sorry you cant hate 4ever. apple owns u.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • Frogist

      @riverrunner: And in haiku no less.

      December 2, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  19. Jim S

    What do Jesus and Santa Claus have in common? They are BOTH MYTHS.
    Apple did the right thing. Hope they can stick by their decision.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Amanda

      And the tooth fairy..

      December 2, 2010 at 12:00 am |
    • rara

      Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy are not myths!!!!! Maybe the Easter Bunny, but the jury is still out on that one.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  20. Daniel

    One reason I will not support this company.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • mickey1313

      i freely admit that i am predjuced (not raceist you ignorant fool) against thesists. I am predguced against anyone who uses beliefs on mythology dictate there thoughts and actions rather than facts and knowladge.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • jerry

      Mickey, maybe you should learn to spell before calling anyone an ignorant fool.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Amanda

      *prejudiced
      *racist
      *their
      Oh and *knowledge
      Something you umm lack.. But hey ignorance is bliss, I guess..

      December 2, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • Chris

      Too bad Daniel, there are literally 100s of bible apps in the app store. Guess you are going to miss out because the one app promoting hatred was taken down.

      December 2, 2010 at 7:59 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.