Christian Leaders Protest Apple's Removal of 'Anti-Gay' App

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It's been said that Apple products are instruments of the divine, but it seems that some religious leaders think the tech company is on the wrong side of God on at least one issue -- an iPhone application opposing gay marriage.

After Apple removed the controversial application from its iTunes app store, a group of Christian leaders sent a letter to the company protesting the decision.

The application, called Manhattan Declaration, was a "call of Christian Conscience" that advocated "the sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty," according to its website.

In a letter sent to Apple CEO Steve Jobs earlier this week, the religious leaders said they were disappointed to learn that the company stopped selling the application, which included the text of the "Manhattan Declaration."

"We do not know exactly why the app was pulled, as we have yet to receive any explanation from Apple, but we assume that it was the result of pressure brought to bear by some who, for blatantly ideologically partisan reasons, claim that the Manhattan Declaration is bigoted, or otherwise offensive," they said. "We hope that you will see how wrong it would be to let one side shut down the opposing side in a debate by slandering their opponents with prejudicial labels such as "bigot" or "homophobe."

The letter was signed by Charles Colson, former aide to President Richard Nixon and head of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Dr. Robert George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, and Dr. Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School

The three leaders urged Apple to reinstate the application and are calling on their own supporters to e-mail Apple and sign a petition. According to the Manhattan Declaration website, more than 16,000 people have already signed their names in support.

In a statement, Apple said, "We removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people."

The iPhone application initially disappeared from the app store in late November after more than 7,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging Apple to delete it.

Calling it "anti-gay" and "anti-choice," the petition questioned Apple's decision to approve the application and deem it free of "objectionable content."

"Want to join the hate fest? There's an app for that!" Change.org said on its site. "Apple needs to hear from concerned people now! Let's send a strong message to Apple that supporting homophobia and efforts to restrict choice is bad business."

According to the Manhattan Declaration website, the declaration calls on Christians to "resist sexual immorality."

"We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct," it says.

This application is hardly the first to have stirred debate. Here are a few other iPhone applications that were too controversial for Apple's App store.

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The application, which claimed to help men "score" with women, was launched to help the company promote its new AMP Energy drink.

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