Apple under fire for offering free 'gay cure' app on iTunes
APPLE has come under fire for approving an 'app' that offers guidance on how homosexual people can be 'cured' and convert to heterosexuality.
The 'gay cure' application, designed to be used on Apple's hand-held devices such as the iPhone, was created by and named after Exodus International, a religious organisation that believes in teaching "freedom from homosexuality through prayer and practising conversion therapy".
The app is offered for free on iTunes, Apple's online shop, and was given a 4+ rating by the company, meaning it is not considered to contain objectionable content.
A description of the app on iTunes said: "With over 35 years of ministry experience, Exodus is committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality with grace and truth."
Gay activists quickly gathered more than 37,000 signatures for an online petition demanding that Apple drop the app from its online shop.
The petition on the website change.org said that the Christian group was using "scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions" of gay life, and promoting "the use of so-called 'reparative therapy' to 'change' the sexual orientation of their clients, despite the fact that this form of 'therapy' has been rejected by every major professional medical organisation".
Exodus recommends techniques such as abstinence, lessening of homosexual temptations, and strengthening homosexuals' sense of masculine or feminine identity. Its most prominent founders were gay men who claimed to have changed their 'lifestyle'.
It has, however, been beset by high-profile scandals and defections. In April of last year, Michael Bussee apologised for his role in starting Exodus and said he had never seen a leader or member permanently become heterosexual.
In the late 1990s, John Paulk, then chairman of Exodus, appeared on Oprah Winfrey's television show and made other high-profile appearances to publicise the campaign, but he was soon photographed in a gay bar in Washington and forced to resign. (© Daily Telegraph, London)