What is it about the Christian Right and technology? The early days of the Internet were dominated by that great Western double-act the Christians and the pornographers. And when Apple launched its App Store the Christians were right there to further the cause of their Cosmic Cash Machine. Rather disgracefully, the ex-gay thinking of the ominously named Exodus International made its way into the line-up on February 15. The app was called ‘gay cure’, and somehow it was listed with a 4+ rating. Really? The name of the app doesn’t exactly invite confusion. Apple withdrew it on March 22, after public pressure was exerted, but there has been no open acknowledgment of that.
The ex-gay movement, as any rational person would agree, is madder than a balloon. Its rhetoric smacks of what George Orwell coined as ‘doublethink’ in 1984: “to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies”. Sound familiar?
The ‘gay cure’ app followed the usual line about making a choice to renounce homosexuality, etc. ad infinitum. You see, it’s a choice, just like Justin Bieber said it was! The ex-gay proselytizers, moreover, view it a bad consumer choice, and instead promote a good consumer choice, their own Cosmic Cash Machine, the Lord. When the app was pulled the president of Exodus International spoke through – where else? – Twitter. “It’s official, the @ExodusInl App is no longer in the @AppStore. Incredibly disappointing. Watch out, it could happen to you. #freedom.” And there is the tag “freedom” to underline its doublethink.
The ex-gay movement is as totalitarian as Big Brother. It terrorises, intimidates, and uses shame to hide truth behind lies. It is prejudice wrapped up in bible rhetoric and delivered as if it is science. What is more, it employs the rhetoric of free speech to encourage the opposite. It is simply deplorable.
Taking a stand against this band of thugs wherever it rises is essential. Apple should openly apologise for its approval of the app and underline its general practices, which state: “Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected”.