An anti-gay app by a religious group has been removed by Apple from its App Store following an online petition. The now-defunct app, which was created by a religious group Living Hope Ministries, drew flak for its "pray away the gay" preaching. But it was after Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organisation, launched a petition to get the app removed from App Store that Apple acted.
While thanking Apple's swift action in the matter, Truth Wins Out pointed out that the app "Living Hope Ministries" continues to be available on Google Play Store and Amazon App Store. The non-profit has reached out to Google and Amazon to follow Apple's path in removing the anti-gay app.
"Every minute this heinous product is available on these platforms, the potential exists for it to harm LGBT youth," Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen, said in a Change.org petition. "We demand that Google and Amazon immediately stop selling and promoting this app, which dehumanizes LGBT people."
In case, Google and Amazon fail to remove the app that hurts the sentiments of LGBT community, Truth Wins Out will launch a new petition. The original petition addressed to Apple had received 350 signatures before the iPhone-maker removed the app. It remains to be seen if Google and Amazon will do the same.
In one of the screenshots shared in the petition, the app's description read, "We disciple young adults who are actively seeking Christian support as they pursue Christ and His design for sexuality." The app south lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two-spirit, asexual (LGBTQ) youth "to change from gay-to-straight through prayer and therapy" and described homosexuality as "sickness," "addiction," and "sin."
Upon the removal of the app, Living Hope Ministries executive director Ricky Chelette told NBC News that "We only help those individuals who are seeking us." Chelette also claimed that the organisation is not a hate group and that "discipleship ministry" and "very much like a church."
"I think it's unfortunate that the advocacy group doesn't know what we do and is assuming that we're some hate organization. We are not," Chelette said. "We love gay-identified individuals."
Challete, who claimed to have been attracted to men in the 1980s and later had an experience with Christ that transformed his life, said the ministry will challenge Apple's decision. The app was reportedly developed three years ago, but it is unclear when it made it to the official app stores, such as App Store.
"We try to help folks who are conflicted with their faith and feelings. We have been doing that for a very long time," Challete said.