Christian group has plea ignored by Apple, begins petition to reinstate app

Jeff Winkler Contributor
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The Christian organization that had its iPhone app removed from Apple’s App Store thanks to gay rights activists is now utilizing the LGBT community’s banning strategy to get the app reinstated.

The Manhattan Declaration organization asks followers to sign a lengthy document, also called the Manhattan Declaration, that  “speaks in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty.” The Manhattan Declaration App, which had been available since October, asked readers to answer a “survey” before encouraging users to sign the petition and pass it on to virtual friends.

Gay rights activists, however, derided the declaration as “gay-hating” and “homo-hostile,” although no bigoted language can be found in the document. After circulating an online petition and delivering it to Apple, the company quietly took down the app late last week.

Now, after sending several letters (one of which is available to the public) to Apple requesting the app be reinstated and getting no response from the company, the Manhattan Declaration has begun its own petition drive.

“We’re asking people to — in a very respectful, kind manner — e-mail [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs and ask that app be reinstated, or to call Apple itself,” Michelle Farmer, the Manhattan Declaration spokeswoman told The Daily Caller. “We’re also them to go to the Manhattan Declaration and to sign the petition.”

According to a statement Farmer released on Tuesday night, Apple representatives said the company took down the app because it was “offensive to large groups of people.”

That large group of people was little less than 8,000 gay rights activists who signed the original petition, according to

So if sheer numbers is all it takes to change Jobs’ mind, the Manhattan Declaration petition may not be a Hail Mary.

“We already have in excess of 478,000 people who have signed the Manhattan Declaration itself,” said Farmer, who didn’t want to speculate on how many might sign the new petition.

Farmer said the Manhattan Declaration is banking on the benevolence of Jobs in having the app reinstated. The groups only goal is to have the app back up and running so that like-minded Christian technophiles can enjoy the iPhone as well

“We’ve been told that Steve Jobs is very open-minded; that he does not like to try to squelch debate,” said Farmer. “He very much wants open debate of the issues, that’s all we ask for in allowing the app to stay on the site. We’re saying, if you don’t agree with it, then just don’t use it.”

Jobs does appear to be quite open minded. A cursory search of the official iPhone store found personalized apps to appeal to both men of cloth and men without clothes.

There’s the “Gay Scene Guide,” “GodXpression,” the “Gay Spanish Guide,” “God’s Word for Today,”GayCities” and even the Quran. The App Store also has some very suspect apps, including “Holistic Healing and Health Headline News,” “How to Plan a Party!“, and “Lick My Phone.”

There also appears to be a smorgasbord of gay apps not available on the official Apple site, including “Gaydar,” which describes itself as “One app. One profile. Six million men. From the privacy of your iPhone … get to know millions of gay, bi or curious guys.” And much like a Sunday church meal, it’s free.

Apple representatives did not respond to a request for comment by TheDC.

Despite the uphill battle, the Manhattan Declaration has no plans to go quietly into the night.

“We really think that once Apple sits back and takes a breath and really looks at this from a reasonable perspective that they’re going to reinstate it,” said Farmer. “We still have hopes that they’ll do that.”

So while gay rights groups may be saying, “not a chance in hell,” the Manhattan Declaration thinks it has a prayer.