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Apple's App Store Accepts 'Gay Cure' App 794

Posted by timothy
from the gee-wally-guess-it-was-just-a-mistake dept.
parallel_prankster writes "Apple is under fire for approving a controversial app created by a religious organization — Exodus International. The app seeks to help gay individuals become heterosexual. It received a '4' rating from Apple, which indicates the company considered the app to contain 'no objectionable material.' The new smartphone app was released last week and is now available through iTunes. Exodus International claims to be 'the world's largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality.' A petition has been launched by Truth Wins Out, which describes itself as a non-profit organisation that fights anti-gay religious extremism on the change.org website, asking Steve Jobs to intervene to remove the app."
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Apple's App Store Accepts 'Gay Cure' App

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  • Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SheeEttin (899897) <sheeettin AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:54PM (#35545024) Homepage
    How nice for them.
    "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
  • Trojan Horse? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered@hotmai l . com> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:55PM (#35545040) Journal

    Well if it cures you of being Gay.. I don't think Apple will have many ....blank.....s left in the marketplace.

  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:57PM (#35545054) Homepage

    Apple accepts this app and they're attacked for being anti-gay, supporting homophobia, etc... If Apple rejects this app, they'll be attacked for infringing on free speech, supporting a particular political agenda, etc... Either way, you're pissing customers off.

    But all I feel is schadenfreude. They got themselves into this mess by imposing editorial control over the iPhone in the first place. They made their bed, now they get to lie in it.

  • Re:Free speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:58PM (#35545066) Journal

    I would normally agree with you quite vehemently, but Apple has already taken it upon themselves to act as 'moral guide' by denying pornographic apps. In doing so, they are no longer defending all freedom of expression, and thus can't legitimately claim to be taking a stand for free speech in allowing this.

  • Re:Oh come on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:03PM (#35545128)

    So... an app designed to turn black people white and de-black-ify their speech and appearance would just be good natured fun too? Just curious.

    Homosexuality is not a choice and is not a disease. It can no more be 'cured' than heterosexuality, or race, or eye color (you can put in colored contacts -- just like you can go into the closet -- but it doesn't change the underlying reality of your eye color -- or sexuality).

    The app is ignorant and bigoted and offensive, as well as pushing an agenda based on hatered and lies. That honestly sounds like 'good natured fun' to you? Really?

    I agree with you that the app is absurd. But I don't find it particularly hilarious, especially knowing the number of people damaged and even driven to suicide by anti-gay "ex-gay" programs. There's a real human cost here, and I just can't laugh at that.

  • Re:Censor or not? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:06PM (#35545148) Journal

    It was wrong to censor the Mark Fiore app, it is wrong to deny porn apps, but since that's the path Apple have chosen to take, I'd also expect them to censor an app which implies someone's sexuality is a thing which can or should be 'cured'.

    Apple should be supporting free speech, and if that were the case I would say that while I find the opinions of the app developer extremely unpleasant, I support their right to speak. But Apple aren't supporting free speech in general - if the conservative groups get censorship of content they find offensive, then the gay right groups damn well deserve the same treatment. By far the preferable option is to defend that which I despise just as strongly as that which I support, but the horse already bolted there.

  • by click2005 (921437) * on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:06PM (#35545154)

    The religious bigotry industry is much much bigger than the pro-gay or porn industry.

  • lol (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:07PM (#35545158)

    It's funny to read the same people decry Apples appstore censorship appeal to Steve Jobs to remove the app on the basis.

    Free Speech hurts doesn't it?

  • Re:Censor or not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:14PM (#35545230)

    I'd also expect them to censor an app which implies someone's sexuality is a thing which can or should be 'cured'.

    Why? What if a guy wants to change? Shouldn't he be free to try? Or should other people decide "The Right Choice" for him?

    And maybe he can't be "cured", but maybe he can have a life that is closer to his preference. You'd deny him the opportunity to try?

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:16PM (#35545250)

    Isn't deciding what to sell (and what not to sell) something that every retailer does on a daily basis?

    Should every store that does not sell everything be expecting a law suit?

  • Re:Oh come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:28PM (#35545370)

    The app is ignorant and bigoted and offensive, as well as pushing an agenda based on hatered and lies. That honestly sounds like 'good natured fun' to you? Really? I agree with you that the app is absurd. But I don't find it particularly hilarious, especially knowing the number of people damaged and even driven to suicide by anti-gay "ex-gay" programs. There's a real human cost here, and I just can't laugh at that.

    Then don't download the app. Neither you nor anyone else has the right to decide what speech is damaging. The human cost for the suppression of free speech is far far greater than anything this app could possible do.

    If this country oppressed free speech, then slavery may not have ended, Jim Crow may not have been defeated, and homosexuality may still have remained in the DSM as a mental disorder. At the time, speech proposing the end of any of those items was considered ignorant, offensive, and pushing an agenda based on lies.

    Moralities change in this country, and what is considered offensive, dangerous, and disgusting evolve and change. But through it all, we retain the right to speech and that is--more than anything else--what allows us to evolve as a society. It is the thin layer separating us as a free society from an oppressed one where some self-imposed leader decides what is right and what is wrong.

  • Re:Censor or not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:34PM (#35545412) Journal

    The very concept flies in the face of generally accepted science - consider the backlash you would (rightly) get if we were talking about race rather than sexuality, for example. That said, I support people's right to do and say whatever the hell they like, however stupid and potentially psychologically harmful, as long as it doesn't directly infringe on the rights and freedoms of others, but Apple are the ones who declared themselves moral arbiters here, and that changes this situation drastically.

    By rejecting apps they consider objectionable, they tacitly provide some level of endorsement to apps which are accepted; the have lost the right to claim that they disagree with anything that is said, because they have already taken steps to censor apps they disagree with, thus it is reasonable to deduce that if it is not censored, they do not disagree with it. By allowing this app into their curated "family friendly" store, they are declaring that the concept of homosexuality as a 'disease to be cured' is acceptable to them.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:49PM (#35545560) Homepage

    If you cross-examine any of the "success" stories that Exodus International produces, you'll find that they haven't lost the "temptation" (i.e. homosexual attraction), they've only learned not to act on it, and maybe they now go through the motions of heterosexual intercourse without really enjoying it much. Which is very much like "curing" left-handedness by training someone not to use their left hand, to the point that they can write legibly (but clumsily) with their right hand.

    And those are the "successes". Interview the countless ex-ex-gays who've "relapsed" after their Exodus conditioning fails (which is most of them), and you'll find that nearly all of these "straight" men were thinking of men during intercourse/masturbation, and most were sneaking off for anonymous bathroom and rest-area sex all along. The "cure" actually produces worse behavior than the "disease".

    It takes a massive dose of wishful thinking and denial of reality for anyone (in the program or not) to believe that any "gay cure" program actually does what it says in the trifold brochure.

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:04PM (#35545684)

    Sometimes there's a fine line between "bashing" and "detracting" but it's there. An app that encourages gay people to not be gay is hardly bashing, even if you don't approve of the underlying assumptions.

  • by mean pun (717227) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:07PM (#35545718)

    The "I can't help it" excuse is no more valid for homosexuality than for alcoholism. There are plenty of people for both issues who admit problems and consciously struggle against it.

    But there is no rational reason to consider homosexuality as a problem, whereas there are plenty of good reasons to consider alcoholism, violence, and some forms of pedophilia as a problem. Homosexuality doesn't harm anybody, while the others actively harm the person itself and/or other people. For the same reason bigotry is also a problem, but unfortunately very few people admit the problem and consciously struggle against it.

  • by Quila (201335) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:32PM (#35545946)

    Then it can be "corrected" for eventually, the genetic anomaly eliminated.

    That's why a lot of gays don't subscribe to the "born that way" theory.

    Heterosexuality is natural, propagation of the species and all. Other choices, including asexuality, aren't natural. But then many things we do out of choice aren't natural, so homosexuality isn't special in any regard on that front.

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:41PM (#35546032)

    An app that encourages gay people to not be gay is hardly bashing, even if you don't approve of the underlying assumptions.

    You mean an app based on the idea that homosexuality is immoral, and that such people need to be "fixed" is not gay bashing??

    I'll also quote the summary prior to my response:

    A petition has been launched by Truth Wins Out, which describes itself as a non-profit organisation that fights anti-gay religious extremism on the change.org website, asking Steve Jobs to intervene to remove the app.

    What you and Truth Wins Out seem to desire is censorship. I really don't understand that, at all.

    It's really simple. If a homosexual person does not feel that homosexuality is wrong and does not view it as a problem that needs to be fixed, his or her option is ridiculously easy and requires zero effort: don't purchase/download this app.

    If a homosexual person does believe, for religious reasons, that homosexuality is wrong, why would you stop them from downloading this app by having it censored and removed from the App Store? Is this not a personal decision for that person to make? Do they not have the right to practice the religion of their choice? Or must they obtain your approval first?

    How does the presence of this app prevent someone from living the lifestyle of their choice? Simple answer: it doesn't. The effort to censor this app is far worse than anything the censors would find wrong with it. It's also an insult to the homosexual people you purport to protect. You're basically suggesting that their sexual orientation is so flimsy and non-genuine that it would be threatened by the mere option of downloading this app.

    Sadly, to many people "freedom" means "the freedom to do what I would approve of". I reject this notion. So long as we are talking about consenting adults, I believe people should be free to do whatever they like. It doesn't matter whether I would do the same, whether I approve of the practice, whether I endorse and support it. Anything else is just a thinly-veiled desire to control other people and force them to be like yourself. What a cowardly and pathetic desire.

  • by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:51PM (#35546146) Homepage

    An app that encourages gay people to not be gay is hardly bashing, even if you don't approve of the underlying assumptions.

    You mean an app based on the idea that homosexuality is immoral, and that such people need to be "fixed" is not gay bashing??

    Would you be equally against someone releasing an app to try and stop people from smoking?

    Either everyone is entitled to their beliefs and practices as long as they are not harming other people, or they aren't--at least that's how it's supposed to be in America.

    If I stand here and say "I think homosexuality is wrong", does it harm you? No. To (probably poorly) quote Jefferson: It neither picks your pocket or breaks your leg.

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackstraw (262471) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:53PM (#35546168)

    Considering "Jane" used to be "John" http://zagria.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html [blogspot.com] . Sexier pic: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jane-fae [guardian.co.uk]

    Someone erroneously posted below that homosexuality is a preference. Its not. I had a friend who was a male married to a female with 2 kids and he was homosexual. AFAIK they had no plans for divorce. I work with a m2f transgender, and I've known many male and female homosexuals and bisexuals. Honestly, I can't understand it fully, but I just look at it as gender being a bimodal distribution that has overlap between the modes. Personally, I think it takes balls to go m2f and in no way be fooling anybody.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:05PM (#35546284)

    If you're going to quote Romans at least put it in context. Paul says that the wages of sin is death. In other words, no one who has sinned can ever be worthy of a perfectly just god. That's the entire reason for sacrificial atonement in the old testament. That's the entire reason Jesus was sent to earth to die, so that the law of the old testament could be fulfilled once and for all. Paul is listing out sins in those verses. Let me list a few others: lying, sloth, lust, anger. God doesn't see any of these as any worse than another. Each and every one carries a sentence of death. But Jesus was crucified as the perfect sacrifice. Perfect in life, he is the only one who doesn't deserve to die for his sins. Since he was killed as a sacrifice for us, we can be forgiven for our sins and are no longer sentenced to death. This is hardly a call to kill people who sin.

    There are some other verses you should consider (oddly enough, also from Romans) "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord." Romans 12:19, NIV

    If you want to bash Christianity, it's your right, but you should at least learn what mainstream Christian's believe (hint: the majority of /.ers seem to have a very poor caricature of Christianity in their heads, and seldom if ever actually know what Christians are saying or doing)

  • by pipelayerification (1707222) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:13PM (#35546380)
    I've met a few vegetarians that thought I could be cured of liking steaks if only I tried a little harder.
  • by Rei (128717) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:03PM (#35546764) Homepage

    FYI: St. Thomas Aquinas felt that that passage was about women having non-vaginal intercourse.

    And any way, you might notice that even the homosexuality among men (and among women, if you disagree with Aquinas) is listed as an *effect* of God's wrath, not a cause. And lastly, this is the one prominent person in the NT who never personally knew Jesus who's talking anyway. Jesus, the guy who told the parable of the Good Samaritan, who hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other social outcasts, who said judge not lest ye be judged, the guy that "whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (notice the lack of conditions there).

    "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. " -- Galatians 3:28.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:32PM (#35546976)

    What do the particular details of your bullshit idiocy matter? Specific quotes from a piece of text aren't very relevant when the fundamental problem with the whole thing is IT'S ALL FUCKING IMAGINARY.

    I mean, seriously, believe whatever the hell you want to believe. That's your right. But I have no intellectual obligation to know your crazy religious bullshit intimately and exhaustively to justify not believing in your crazy shit. I don't need to know every lyric to every fucking Justin Bieber song to know that I don't give a fuck about Justin Bieber. The only people who care about pedantic religious bullshit are pedantic religious bullshitters.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:37PM (#35547006) Homepage Journal
    In my town we have several so-called christian churches that tell families if they give money god will bless them.
    How dare they? Everyone knows pastors are supposed to work for free, same as game programmers and rock musicians.
    I believe that we should give money to the Church, not for the pastor's sake, but because the Church is chartered by the government (via tax-free status) to be charitable to the poor and otherwise needy, and that is what the Church is supposed to do. If they don't then the government will do it, and the government traditionally does a horrible job of administering help to the needy.
  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:08PM (#35547174)
    No, I think it's just that since sane Christians are rarely talked about, the insane ones are the ones hogging the average Slashdotter's perception of active Christians. It's really like with regular people and things like nuclear power. You don't hear about when a power plant works exactly as advertised but every one that doesn't gets a lot of media attention. Since images of failing, dirty and/or dangerous NPPs dominate the public's perception it's hard to blame the public for thinking that NPPs are inherently dangerous, dirty and constantly on the verge of failing.

    Since the numbers of stories about sane believers and batshit ones aren't even remotely proportional to the number of people in each group it can be hard to get a proper sense of scale. In fact, this cuts both ways: Because sane Christians aren't as news-worthy we don't talk about them as much (in the context of their religious beliefs), which might give the impression that Slashdot has a more negative view of Christianity as a whole than it actually has.
  • Re:Walled Gardens (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:09PM (#35547182) Homepage Journal

    Is it remotely possible that what goes on in the Premier App Store of the country then becomes a microcosm of what the country "decides it is thinking"? I'm not good enough at the math to do this next bit, but as a fast & rough theory, we're starting to get a Walled Garden set of laws.

    Spot on. But it's important to remember that we're seeing a trivialization of government, despite the ongoing claims of government being "too big". There's an effort to make it meaningless, to put government itself behind the "walled garden" so that corporatists can do as they please. It's why I'm very leery of the "government is the problem" crowd, because throughout our history, if government has been a problem, it's been our problem. But the effort to destroy our institutions is coming from a level above governments. Destroy Social Security so all the enormous amounts of money it collects goes to the transnational banks. Destroy Medicare so the transnational insurance companies can get all that money. Destroy education and the legal system so the big corporations involved in "privatizing" schools, and prisons can collect all the money. There's a law in Michigan being passed by their GOP government to allow the governor to take any municipal government, any town, any county and just hand it over to "private industry" (which just happens to be the governor's buddies). There will still be taxes collected, but it will go into the hands of people beyond the control of citizens. After all, if you objected to say, Haliburton, how would you go about using the "free market" to bring them in line? How do you vote Haliburton or Bank of America or Goldman Sachs out of power?None of us are their customers.

    TaoPhoenix, you're right on the mark with your "fast and rough theory". And the best we can hope for is that the "deep social pressure" overflows with enough force to disrupt their plans.

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig (1056110) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:19PM (#35547232)

    Homosex is as natural as heterosex in that it is widely seen across species as a bonding behavior, but is condemned by religious morons because they don't allow pleasure that does not directly result in reproduction.

    It looks that way in the West, but hostility to homosexuality is common in socially conservative atheist cultures such as China too. It looks more as if cultural hostility to homosexuality leads to the religious taboo rather than the other way around. Which is what you'd expect if religion is invented to support prejudices. Don't blame religion for the prejudice, blame the prejudice for (that bit of) religion.

  • by RoFLKOPTr (1294290) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:45PM (#35547366)

    So would a god bashing app be allowed?

    I would imagine so. Frankly, people should be applauding the fact that Apple has way loosened up on their editorial stance of the App Store and have started letting things in that are more risque and potentially offensive. It's not like they automatically install apps to your phone, you still have to go out and download it yourself. And this is certainly not an app that you will find in an Apple commercial (although I think that would be hilarious), but that doesn't mean they should have rejected it.

    Freedom of speech goes in every direction, people. I know many of you think that freedom of speech should only count for what YOU think and what YOU have to say, but it doesn't. Sorry.

    (I completely respect the gay community and disagree with the 'Gay Cure' app, but censorship of any kind is an evil thing that only leads to more censorship. Freedom for all is more important than emotional comfort for some.)

  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @12:05AM (#35547454) Homepage Journal

    There are 2.1 billion "Christians" on the planet.

    Some are Mormons who believe that if they are married in a Mormon temple, they can enter the third level of heaven and become God themselves, creating planets of billions of worshipers.

    Some are Catholics, and believe in intercessory prayer, where you can't pray directly to God, even though that contradicts the entire Bible. You are dependent wholly on the Church still. You get forgiveness through the Church (not God) and must confess sins to a priest.

    Some are Christian Scientists who believe 95% of the Bible is a lie, and that we don't really exist. Sin is going to a hospital, because it is believing the lie that physical reality is real.

    Some are the Westboro Baptist Church, who ignore 99% of the Bible, and focus largely on 1 verse which is recorded only for historical purposes, which was a law the Jews made for themselves (as opposed to a commandment from God). But frankly, they believe it is their duty to celebrate the death of innocent people because God wants everyone to die for tolerating homosexuality. Every American in particular really needs to die, except for Westboro Baptist Church.

    Some, like Trinity Broadcasting believe in bilking innocent people out money. Tons of televangelists seem to believe that you can tell people that you will die unless people give you millions, because God commanded it. And those millions better go into your pocket directly.

    And some Christians believe in peace, forgiveness, tolerance, decency, trying to follow Christ's example, and non-judgementalism.

    Lumping all 2.1 billion Christians on the earth in one bucket isn't easy.

  • Re:Free speech (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Sunday March 20, 2011 @04:25AM (#35548456)

    Blocking stuff based on a maturity rating is a heck of a lot different than blocking stuff based n whether you agree with it or not.

    I suppose the FCC might as well start blocking shows that it finds "subversive"?

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @05:12AM (#35548602)

    That's not how personal preferences are formed. You don't have a genetic program that determines who you will have sex with. If there were a gay gene, they'd have found it by now. Sex is a creative process, and the people taking part in it decide how it will happen. Saying you don't choose to be gay is like saying you don't choose to be an engineer. I happen to be an engineer, but I don't believe that I had to be one, or that I could not put down my computer and pick a paintbrush or a hammer tomorrow if I wanted to.

    Human development is a process of growth and exploration. It's not a deterministic process of like following a flow chart to your destination. People self-select who they are and who they will become. It is an amazing process that is shrouded in mystery. Telling someone that they are who they are, and they can't choose is as bad as telling them that it's wrong to be who they are because the did have a choice. Either is dis-empowering and unloving. Ultimately, you are responsible for who you are and who you will become. Where these Christian nut-jobs get screwed up they think it's their job to take that responsibility from the ones who rightly have it.

    This app is misguided, but it's completely voluntary. If it's another step in people learning about who they are and taking the next step, I'm all for it, no matter how misguided it is.

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Sunday March 20, 2011 @05:32AM (#35548656)

    Someone erroneously posted below that homosexuality is a preference. Its not.

    (This is in no way an ad hominem.)

    Even if it were , it's irrelevant. A person (and that includes faux persons like corporations) has no more right to discriminate against you because of your choice of bedmate(s) as they do because of your choice of cheese, or beer.

    Whether or not sexuality is choice is utterly irrelevant to anything. It has no meaningful impact on someone's ability to live their life, unless their purpose is discriminatory to start with.

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