Before you hit comments: The above image ridicules the headline rather than imply anything.
Apple and Christian group Exodus International have found themselves under fire from gay rights group Truth Wins Out over an app released last Tuesday that aims to steer people away from homosexuality. Designed to be "a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders," the free program dubbed Exodus International is basically a glorified web browser that links to online resources available on their website.
It has immediately sparked controversy and prompted Truth Wins Out to start a petition at Change.org and demand that the iTunes store "stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app." The petition has garnered more than 1,300 signatures in less than 24 hours and climbed to nearly 90,000 signatures at press time. The group's argument stems from Apple's policy that prohibits racist or anti-semitic apps in the App Store.
They issued two statements bashing "a group that believes people can and should 'pray away the gay'". If Apple does not respond, the statement reads, they will see that the company "meets the victims of ‘ex-gay’ ministries and learns how their lives were destroyed.” Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen called Exodous International "an organization that promotes gay exorcisms, demonizes LGBT people, and is rejected by every respected mental health association in America."
Anti-gay groups will read this as an overly aggressive statement, portraying it as yet another example of gay rights groups being too vocal about their agenda. The threatening tone of Besen's statement does come as a surprise because Apple is considered to be a gay-friendly place to work.
The company came in first place in a PrimeAccess study, with 39 percent participants considering the brand gay-friendly versus just four percent for Samsung. Furthermore, if there's any truth to Silicon Valley gossips, Apple's next CEO could be gay, according to Valleywag which profiled Timotyh Cook, Apple's operations chief and the most likely Steve Jobs successor, as "most powerful gay man in Silicon Valley." Not that it matters in any way, though.
Here's the petition in its entirety, addressed to Steve Jobs, interim CEO Tim Cook and Apple Media Relations.
I am writing today to ask you to remove the Exodus International application from the iTunes store.
Apple has long been a friend of the LGBT community, opposing California's Proposition 8, removing the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration iPhone app, and earning a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.
I am shocked that this same company has given the green light to an app from a notoriously anti-gay organization like Exodus International that uses scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients, endorses the use of so-called "reparative therapy" to "change" the sexual orientation of their clients (despite the fact that this form of "therapy" has been roundly condemned by every major professional medical organization), and targets vulnerable, suicide-prone LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a "sin that will make your heart sick" and a "counterfeit," contributing to and legitimizing the ostracism of these youth from their families.
Your company would never allow a racist or anti-Semitic app to be sold in the iTunes store, and for good reason. Apple's approval of the anti-gay Exodus International app represents a double standard for the LGBT community with potentially devastating consequences for our youth.
This is unacceptable, and I urge you to take a strong stance against homophobia by removing this dangerous "ex-gay" iPhone app from the store.