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Christian Group Protests Removal of Religious Apple iPhone App

A Christian group that recently had its iPhone app pulled from Apple's App Store is asking the company to reconsider the decision.

According to the Daily Caller, Apple removed the "Manhattan Declaration" app late last week after a Change.org online petition called the app a "hate fest" and claimed it pushed "hateful and divisive language."

The Declaration, which was released in November 2009, "speaks in the defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty" and calls on Christians to "adhere firmly to their family convictions."

But the online petition warned Apple that "supporting homophobia and efforts to restrict choice is bad business."

The religious group denies claims that the Declaration espouses any hateful rhetoric. “We’re making the argument that if [Apple CEO Steve Jobs] would take a look at the Manhattan Declaration himself, he’d see it’s not written with any rancor. It’s written on a very even keel,” Manhattan Declaration spokeswoman Michelle Farmer told the Daily Caller. “It’s just appealing to things that people want to come together on, that millions of Americans agree on.”

The app itself includes a survey with four questions each worth 25 points:

1. Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman? Y or N

2. Do you believe in protecting life from the moment of conception? Y or N

3. Do you support same-sex relationships? Y or N

4. Do you support the right of choice regarding abortion? Y or N

After users take the survey, they can read the full declaration, sign it and pass it on to others. While the declaration itself calls homosexual and polyamorous relations “immoral conduct,” the section dealing with marriages simply calls the institution an “objective reality” according to the Christian philosophical tradition.

There is no language to suggest that homosexual or pro-choice advocates should be physically, emotionally or psychologically assaulted, despite accusations that the app is “anti-gay,” “homo-hostile” and “anti-women.”

“There’s no name calling, no offensive rhetoric,” Farmer says. “It restates firmly, without any kind of animosity toward anybody, the central moral teachings of the catholic, orthodox and Evangelical traditions.”

According to Apple's App Store regulations, applications "must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or material of any kind... or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."  But the company has come under fire in the past for removing a number of apps, including innocuous items like "Freedom Time," a countdown of the final days of the George W. Bush administration.

The Manhattan Declaration reached out directly to Jobs late on Monday and have yet to hear back any word from Apple.

One last thing…
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