Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Apple Censors Historical Christianity as Hate Speech

Apple has such a tightly woven and well designed suite of products. I've seriously considered getting one or more of their products recently, but one thing always holds me back. Apple has taken it upon themselves censor robust and intellectual expressions of historical Christianity as hate speech. Of course, they don't do this with all Christian apps, but they have done so with the Manhattan Declaration app. Honestly, I figured when this happened that Apple would get egg on their face and back off. However, it's been over half a year and Apple doesn't seem to be backing off. Further, they seem to be completely recalcitrant to rational efforts of persuasion. And thus my quandry. I really like Apple products, but I refuse to purchase from a company that labels historical Christianity as hate speech and censors the free, robust and respectful expression of that faith. It bothers me that a company like Apple can so freely censor peoples' respectful expression of faith and continue their march on to ever greater profits. It bothers me more that the media would be running nonstop coverage of a similar group of liberals had put together a controversial app, but journalists ignore censorship when the people being censored are their political and religious enemies, and it is Steve Jobs doing the censoring.


Kevin said...

Given the inconsistency in Apple's censorship, perhaps it is predominantly the result of petitions by activists rather than an ingrained anti-christianity?

I'd imagine that the App itself isn't too essential since it can probably all be done through the web browser on the phone, but this censorship does highlight Apple's controlling nature.

I'd like Apple's policy to allow free and open expression (and devices), too. I also think that would be a business win for them since they could disclaim liability for offending people and appeal to everyone. Still, I appreciate that it is Apple censoring rather than the government since we can then choose to purchase their competitor's products, as you are doing. Luckily, they are not a monopoly. That part, at least, is working as it should.

Is Apple liable for the content or effects of the apps it sells? I would not think so but the more control they exert, perhaps they become liable.

Dave said...

What can we say about our past? Modern Germans can't take the burden of 1933 misjudged elections, modern British aren't liable for it's cruel empire, and America - is it going to stand trial for 4 million Vietnamese in it's ridiculous war on communism? No...but we realise that the things done in the past are not the beliefs we hold valuable today. The Catholic church is guilty of 5 million murders in the Spanish Inquisition, Catholics and Christians backed Hitler and prior to the modern era Christians were often active in the murder of jews and Muslims. You make Historical Christianity seem like a pillar of our lives, but isn't that part of another era, and another way of thinking? The Klu Klux Klan is a christian organisation, maybe it's time to break with the past?

Douglas said...

Wow, Dave. 5 million deaths in Spain? Over what time period? You make it sound like the Spanish Inquisition rivaled the bubonic plague in its death toll. I would suggest picking up an actual history text instead of taking your cues from anti-Catholic bigots. Being off by so many orders of magnitude really cuts into one's credibility.

Douglas said...


You are correct that the app is not essential to signing the declaration. For that matter, is any app truly essential to an organization's mission?

How ingrained this censorship is remains an open question. Certainly, Apple has allowed plenty of religious apps through the gate. They would never censor all Christian apps. It is only when Christianity contradicts the mores and attitudes of our elites that there is really potential for censorship. Not being an Apple afficionado, I don't know how rare or common this is. However, to persist in outlawing this app which over half a million people signed to satisfy the objections of a few thousand petitioners leads me to think that when it comes to the culture wars, and homosexual marriage in particular, that Apple has a company policy that they are willing to enforce if they think they can get away with it. I doubt they would censor the same app if Focus on the Family put it out, because Focus has millions of listeners and a reputation as an organization with beltway influence. However, app put out by some religious leaders whose names the average atheist wouldn't recognize seems to be fair game. I would love to hear examples to the contrary. Does the National Organization for Marriage have an app that has survived Apples censorship process? I don't know if this was an isolated incident or if it portends further censorship in the future. Given Apple's unwillingness to reconsider their censorship decision and the lack of evidence to the contrary, I am left believing that company policy at Apple is that historical Christian doctrine is officially condemned as hate speech.

Douglas said...

I've been looking for other pro-traditional marriage apps. All I could find was this.

Kevin said...

I've been looking for a list of all petitions to Apple for the removal of apps, which would tell us if Apple is being at all consistent. Wouldn't it be great if reporters actually reported that sort of thing?

I haven't found it, but it seems that Exodus got 140k against it. Manhattan got 7k against, and more recently, 65k for.

I think you're right that that Apple supports LGBT, so I wouldn't be surprised if there is spillover. But even if that weren't the case, I think it is a shame that those who are overly sensitive, intolerant, and outspoken dictate the market and our culture.