Group called it anti-gay religious extremism
Apple removed a Christian ministry’s app from its store after an LGBT group claimed it implied being gay was a sickness, according to published reports.
A gay rights group, Truth Wins Out, got the so-called ex-gay app removed after it convinced the tech giant that the app was “dangerous,” “bigoted” and “hateful.”
“The app falsely portrays being gay as an ‘addiction’, ‘sickness’, and ‘sin,'” the group argued in a Change.org petition, which had 356 supporters.
Living Hope Ministries of Arlington, Texas, told The Christian Post in an email that it was disappointed, but will continue its work.
“We are saddened by Apple’s and Microsoft’s removal of our app because of a single person’s false accusations. Regardless of their decision we will continue to make the app and our services available to those who seek them,” said Ricky Chalette, executive director of the ministry.
“We are a ministry that for nearly thirty years has helped individuals resolve their feelings they deem incongruent with their faith,” he continued. “We help people deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through Bible study and accountability. We walk with them to align their lives with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Through support groups they realize they are not alone and are able to share honestly and openly in a non-condemning atmosphere about their struggles, passions, and victories. From chaos and confusion they often find peace, hope, and a deeper sense of personal wholeness. Our ministry is free and strictly voluntary.”
He added, “In a day when diversity and tolerance is celebrated I would hope it would be extended to issues of faith and practice.”
In an NBC report, Chalette said the ministry only helps people who contact them first. They serve as a discipleship ministry and function much like a church, he said.
The Change.org petition read, in part: “This is not the first time Apple has had to confront this issue. In 2011, Truth Wins Out launched a Change.org petition that gathered almost 150,000 signatures to successfully remove the Exodus ‘ex-gay’ app from the Apple Store. Let’s demand that Apple does the right thing again, so LGBT youth won’t be tormented by hateful bigots and bullies.”
Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen said in a statement: “We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people,”
He also said he believes groups such as Living Hope Ministries harm people they claim to be helping.
In 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook became one of the first Fortune 500 company leaders to announce he was gay. Additionally, during an interview with CNN, he declared that being gay was “God’s greatest gift to me.”
Chalette said the ministry plans to appeal Apple’s decision. Its app was developed three years ago, according to reports.