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Religious groups are petitioning Apple to restore the controversial Manhattan Declaration app
A controversial app has had both liberals and conservatives calling for Apple to take action. The app is for the Manhattan Declaration, a conservative Christian manifesto of sorts that calls for all Christians to unite in opposition to gay marriage and abortion. Over Thanksgiving weekend, same-sex marriage advocates started a petition to have the app removed from Apple’s App Store, and as of Monday the app was removed, igniting the ire of conservative Christian groups. The religious leaders behind the Declaration have taken up a petition of their own, and as of Friday, more than 37,000 people have signed to have the app restored. By comparison, the petition for the app’s removal received just over 7,700 signatures.
The app had previously been accepted into the App Store with a 4+ rating, which meant it contained no offensive or objectionable material. But it was the app’s controversial survey that really set off tempers. The simple, 4-question survey posed questions like: “Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman?” Users who answered “no” were told that their choice was “incorrect.”
"Want to join the hate fest? There's an app for that!" read the petition for the app's removal.
The composers of the Manhattan Declaration blogged Tuesday that the app was pulled due to “a small but very vocal protest by those who favor gay marriage and abortion.” In a letter to Steve Jobs, the composers of the Manhattan Declaration insist that: “the Declaration does not promote hate or homophobia. It is not anti-gay. Rather, it proclaims that all human beings are loved by God and are worthy of respect. Civil discourse is a hallmark of a civilized and free society. Disagreement is not hate. We urge you and Apple, therefore, to promote communication and civil dialogue on these important social issues by reinstating the Manhattan Declaration App.”
Several leaders from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) are among the signatories of the Manhattan Declaration. Over the summer, NOM toured the United States to rally opposition to same-sex marriage, and the organization has been criticized by gay rights advocates. In an October interview with VatorNews, Courage Campaign founder Rick Jacobs stated: “NOM’s nationwide tour was designed to bully people.” According to the Human Rights Campaign: “NOM publicly projects rationality and tolerance, yet keeps company with zealots and long-time LGBT antagonists.”
Apple explained why it removed the app in a statement: "We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people."
The 4,700-word Manhattan Declaration was drafted in October 2009 as a call to Christians to “resist sexual immorality.” The Declaration has received over 479,000 signatures, including a number of religious leaders and political conservatives.
Image source: manhattandeclaration.org
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