I am one of the nearly 500,000 proud signers of the Manhattan Declaration, a document and movement spearheaded by my friends Chuck Colson and Dr. Robert George. As drafted, the piece and its adherents proudly and unapologetically affirm support for the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.
For the last few months, the organizers behind the Declaration have been trying to get Apple to reinstate an app for its iPhone users. Apple had originally approved the app, but pulled it after a small but well organized group of homosexual activists voiced their objections. Minor modifications were made to help it pass Apple’s muster.
Just before Christmas, Apple rejected the app again, citing in a letter that the “references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected. We have evaluated the content of this application and consider its contents to be objectionable and potentially harmful to others.”
I can assure you that the app is no more objectionable than any other existing one that includes the Bible, or other religious texts that speak to moral issues. To qualify it as offensive as compared to other available apps strikes me strange. In fact, you might be shocked to know that though Apple has a long-standing policy against pornography, there are many sexually explicit and otherwise offensive apps currently approved for purchase. Discretion and good taste prevents me from even naming some – but several make a sport of the female anatomy. There is one called “Passion” that analyzes sexual performance based on sound, motion and duration of activity. Yet another titled, “I Am a Man” is designed to help males keep track of their girlfriend’s menstrual cycle. It even offers an option for those with multiple women.
Apparently, “offensive” is all in the eye of the beholder.
Ironically, the genesis of the Manhattan Declaration centered on a concerted effort to talk openly about mainstream Christian issues in a thoughtful and civil manner.
In my opinion, in rejecting this app, at best, Apple and its officials have confused or misinterpreted a central tenet of American liberty and free speech. At worst, this denial is an attack akin to intellectual bullying.
It is one thing to disagree with the principles found within the Manhattan Declaration. There is a tradition of respectful opposition in this country. However, when a corporation refuses to allow a discussion from even starting (which is the intent of the app) – a discussion about mainstream Christianity – Americans have reason to beware and be on guard.
There is something you can do. If you agree with me (do you?), please click here to obtain contact information in order to email or call Apple’s Steve Jobs and ask him to reinstate the app.
Please let me know how your request is received. Navigating the culture as a Christian has always been a challenge, but it’s something that we’re commanded to do in a winsome and respectful spirit. I appreciate your consideration to help support this noble and worthy cause.