Apple has pulled a religious app allegedly portraying being gay as an "addiction," "sickness," and "sin" from the app store after a national LGBT-rights organization petitioned for its removal, shortly followed by Amazon.
“We thank Apple for exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people,” Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen wrote in a statement addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Truth Wins Out, which says it fights “anti-gay religious extremism,” launched the petition urging Apple to remove the app, titled “Living Hope Ministries,” by the same-name nonprofit that says it serves “those who are seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,” according to NBC News.
The group is a "discipleship ministry" and "very much like a church," Living Hope Ministries Executive Director Ricky Chellete told NBC.
“LHM proclaims a Christ-centered, Biblical worldview of sexual expression rooted in one man and one woman in a committed, monogamous, heterosexual marriage for life. Anything less than this ideal, falls short of God’s best for humanity,” the official website states.
"We help people understand who they are in Christ," Chellete went on to say. "We only help those individuals who are seeking us."
The petition had 356 signatories, and Truth Wins Out said it will seek to have the Living Hope Ministries app removed from other platforms that still host it, including Google Play.
Chelette said he was not informed in advance that Apple would remove the app, and that he plans to challenge Apple’s decision.
"I think it’s unfortunate that [Truth Wins Out] doesn’t know what we do and is assuming that we’re some hate organization. We are not," Chelette said. "We love gay-identified individuals."
Chellete also said the ministry does not believe its message promotes conversion therapy.
"We try to help folks who are conflicted with their faith and feelings," he said, adding that he himself was attracted to men in the 1980s and had an experience with Christ that transformed his life. "We have been doing that for a very long time."