Like most of you know, especially if you are around me at all, a few weeks ago Exodus International, the largest Christian ministry which helps those affected by same-sex attractions, released an iPhone App on the iTunes store. Since the day it was released, controversy has surrounded it like crazy. Change.org then created a petition to get Apple to remove the app because it was “offensive” and “against Apple’s standards.” The app itself was cost-free and simply helped people navigate the resources of Exodus. Yet after 150,000 people signed the petition against the app, Apple removed it saying it was “offensive to a large group of customers.” Apparently when you have a different view than someone else it is counted as offensive.
As I have been taking time over the past week and a half since the Exodus App was removed to get Christians to write into Apple showing their disapprove the the app’s removal, I have found many Christians who do not understand the importance of the issue in their lives as believers. After all, this is an attack against Exodus not the Church. Right? Wrong! This is just one of many controversy which have been fired up by gay-rights groups such as Truth Wins Out and Change.org. In the past months, they have began pressuring Chic-fil-a because it affirms traditional marriage and has given some support to ministries like Exodus (mostly through food donations for events). Also at the beginning of this month, OWN presented an episode on the show ‘Our America’ with Lisa Ling talking about if it is possible to be gay and Christian. It showed both groups, those which affirm change as a Christian as well as those who believe you can live gay and Christian at the same time. It was a decently fair documentary, but to no surprise, many gay activists are calling for Oprah to fire Lisa Ling because of that fairness. Along with this, others are calling for things such as one blogger who said,
“The Oprah Winfrey Network should take Ling’s embarrassing segment off its website and not re-air it until factual inaccuracies are corrected.”
The persecution goes beyond this. The Exodus App was not the only app removed from iTunes this past year. The Manhattan Declaration App which affirms traditional marriage was removed last year for being ‘offensive to a large group’ as well. You see, ministries and people that are getting targeted are not just those who are fully directed towards helping the gay community like Exodus. The Manhattan Declaration and Chic-fil-a are simply Christian organizations and therefore hold to biblical truth. OWN is not Christian yet it is being targeted simply for being fair.
The targeting of anything that disagrees with gay activists is growing quickly. It could be possible we are moving towards an outlawing of making statements which called homosexuality a sin. If you think that it is not possible in America, just look at Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. All three have put some form of law against addressing homosexuality as a sin which result in fines or imprisonment.
While for others this may not be a big deal and others do not see how it is working against Christianity as a whole, I want to explain the personal side of all this to you. This issue targets the biggest section of my testimony. A testimony is one of the greatest weapons a Christian has against the devil which is probably why he is trying to flush it. After all Revelation 12:11 says,
“And they have conquered [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their loves even unto death.”
So even if this ends up going farther and my freedom to share my testimony is taken away, I won’t stop. Is not persecution part of true Christianity? Of course it is! So I am asking ALL Christians whether you deal with same-sex attractions or opposite-sex attractions, whether you are Protestant or Catholic, stand up behind our brothers and sisters in Christ who deal with hatred from the world because of their choice to leave the gay lifestyle and follow Christ. If Apple is worried about offending a large group, it would be hard to get bigger than the worldwide Church.
Also, when need to remember that as we deal with issues such as this that we do not take it out on the gay community. Love comes from God. Like all nonbelievers, they do not understand the beauty and grace of the gospel. We need to love them and remember that they are not our enemy. Even though many of them see the Church or ministries like Exodus as their “enemy,” it needs to be important for us not to view them the same way.
Some of you may be wondering how you can do anything about the situation around the removal of the iTunes Apps. There is a way you can do something really simple. Hopefully, there will be a petition soon to bring the apps back and I will post them as soon as I hear of them. But for now, please go to this site and submit a letter to Apple saying that you think these apps need to return to the iTunes store.