Truth Wins Out, a group that fights religious homophobia, has slammed Apple for allowing the distribution of an app designed to "cure" homosexuality. It's not clear what the app, created by the ministry Exodus International, actually does; according to Mashable, it's
like a portable version of Exodus International’s website. It has a calendar of events, news, links to Exodus’s social media sites and videos. Those items, like corresponding features of its website, reflect its anti-gay message — in particular its belief that someone can be counseled away from homosexuality.
Which sounds kind of dull. (I always pictured these anti-gay deprogramming groups taking kind of a Clockwork Orange approach.) Regardless, while a petition on Change.org has amassed over 100,000 signatures demanding that Apple block the app, the company has yet to respond.
It's odd, because Apple's generally quite careful about what they allow in their hermetically sealed App Store. In one instance, they blocked an app that aggregated newspaper content from around the world because it included the U.K.'s The Sun, with its topless Page 3 girls. Another controversial moment found Steve Jobs and company blocking an app featuring the work of Pulitzer-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore, on the grounds that said work "ridiculed public figures." (Saints preserve us.) In a still more pertinent case, Apple first allowed, then pulled an app reprinting the text of the Manhattan Doctrine, a Christian manifesto expressing opposition to gay marriage which, while obnoxious, also seems less poisonous than an app specifically focused on "curing" homosexuality. I can't imagine that Apple won't be pulling the Exodus International app in the very near future; they've got to figure that their gay (and gay-friendly-straight) users almost certainly outnumber their kooky homophobic extremist users. Stay tuned.