An anti-homosexuality group is bragging that Apple approved its “gay cure” app for the iTunes store, and even rated the content for ages 4 and up. The app from Exodus International is described on iTunes as providing “access to current news, information, and resources from Exodus International.” Sounds harmless, right? Sure, until you learn that Exodus International is little more than cult-like group that rallies congregants around the idea of addressing “unwanted sexuality.” It claims it’s able to use “reparative therapy” to rid homosexuals of their desires.
Aside from the fact that former Exodus International chairman John Paulk was reportedly once photographed in a DC-area gay bar and that the intentions of the group are laughable and highly offensive, the app is also a joke. One of its touted features is “social media,” which according to its iTunes’ description includes podcasts and its Facebook page. And of course, it does include a way to donate to the cause.
So its content borders on insane and its presentation is laughable – so why does the app deserver a 4+ rating from Apple? The user feedback is critical, to say the least. “This is a hate-based initiative of the fanatical religious right intending to brainwash and emotionally destroy gay and lesbian people by coercing them to hate themselves based on their natural sexual orientation…I am outraged and disappointed that Apple would allow this hate group to operate on their iPhone and iPhone products,” writes one reviewer. Another takes issue with the app’s UI: “This app is little more than a glorified (yet still clunky) web browser to navigate around Exodus’ walled-garden of predictable anti-gay content.” One reviewer even asks if Apple’s next move is to approve a KKK-developed app.
Exodus has had some controversial scandals tied to its organization, including claims of kidnapping, abuse, and calling for the execution of homosexuals (all of which it has denied). But Apple is in a tricky position: The app’s content is anything but inflammatory, and instead is just a proclamation of beliefs in a poorly presented format. But Apple isn’t a moral judge by any means when it comes to religion and ethics – it is a judge when it comes to user applications. And this is a bad, hardly engaging one.