Many would agree that if a product is “dangerous” it should be carefully monitored, or even pulled from sales entirely — but it all depends on what “dangerous” means.
According to an organization named “Truth Wins Out,” biblical teachings on homosexuality are too “dangerous” for the public marketplace of ideas.
The BBC reported Monday that Apple has heard the pleas of the group and removed an app produced by Living Hope Ministries from its app store. Google and Amazon are being encouraged by activists to follow suit.
A download of the app reveals that its contents are essentially the same as what can be found on the Texas-based ministry’s website. The ministry describes itself as a “Christian ministry focused on sexual wholeness.”
It has Bible-based teachings for various groups, including youth, men, women, and spouses.
And gay rights groups have no use for that, of course.
Living Hope Ministries is a religious nonprofit that says it helps people “seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus… https://t.co/aWZPDm2aZk
— Gay & Lesbian Alliance of North TX (@galanorthtx) December 22, 2018
An article found on the Living Hope Ministries website titled “How Do I Help My Gay Friend?” addresses the ministry’s stance on how Christians can help their gay friends. It emphasizes a focus on Jesus and that all humans are sinners in need of salvation.
“Whether or not she feels attracted to her gender or the opposite gender is not what determines the eternal state of her soul,” the article states. “Salvation is in Christ alone. We must speak the gospel to our gay identified friend with truth and grace so that she, like all of us, might know she is a sinner in desperate need of a Savior.”
According to a news release from Truth Wins Out, the information found in the app “specifically targets LGBT youth with toxic messages that portrays homosexuality as an addiction and says that LGBT people are sick, sinful, and broken. The app claims it can help them to essentially pray away the gay.”
The release goes on to argue that attempts to change gay individuals into heterosexuals can be ineffective and lead the gay individuals to experience depression and “self-destructive behavior” that can include suicide.
The BBC reported that Truth Wins Out stated, “Google and Amazon [must] immediately stop selling and promoting this app, which dehumanises LGBT people.” In response, both Google and Amazon are looking into the claims, with Google saying the app will be removed if it is found to be in violation of its “ban on content that incites hatred.”
Living Hope Ministries not only disputes the claim that it is a “hate organization,” but will fight Apple‘s decision. The app had been available through Apple for several years prior to its removal.
The ministry’s executive director, Ricky Chelette told NBC News that the app works like a church.
“We help people understand who they are in Christ. We only help those individuals who are seeking us,” he said.
He added that the claims made against the ministry and app are false, explaining first and foremost that no conversion therapy is promoted with the app’s messaging.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the advocacy group doesn’t know what we do and is assuming that we’re some hate organization,” he said.
“We are not. We love gay-identified individuals.”
Chelette also said he had experienced same-sex attraction in the 1980s and “had an experience with Christ that transformed his life.”
He explained that the app was about giving “help (to) folks who are conflicted with their faith and feelings. We have been doing that for a very long time.”
This removal by Apple opens the door for more apps to be removed on similar grounds. Any religious app that does not embrace or condone homosexuality could be at risk, including those that simply provide scriptures.
Both Christianity and Islam teach that homosexuality, along with many other things, are sinful.
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