- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2011

There was a time in the history of the homosexual movement when their demand was for “tolerance.” That time has passed.

Now, homosexual activists have completely reversed themselves, and routinely demand an aggressive intolerance - for any viewpoints that disagree with theirs, that is. And what’s shocking is that in many cases, large organizations are bowing to such demands.

The latest example is - for the second time in four months - computer giant Apple caving to pressure from homosexual activists and removing an application with pro-family content from its list of approved apps for the iPhone. Exodus International, a leading umbrella group for Christian ex-gay ministries that help people find “freedom from homosexuality,” had its app removed on the grounds that it was “offensive to large groups of people,” an Apple spokesman declared. This was despite the fact that it was originally given a “4-plus” rating from Apple, meaning that it contained no objectionable material.

In November, Apple took similar action against an app created by the Manhattan Declaration, which is a statement of conscience in defense of life, marriage and religious freedom.

In both cases, Apple was pressured to act through campaigns mounted on the Change.org website, which helps to mobilize petition drives in support of various liberal causes.

What is ironic and chilling about the attacks upon the Manhattan Declaration and Exodus - and Apple’s quick capitulation to them - is that this document and organization, respectively, are notable not for the extremism of their rhetoric, but for the mildness of it.

The Manhattan Declaration is a long, thoughtful, highly intellectual statement on important cultural issues. Yet Change.org editor Michael Jones accused the Manhattan Declaration of reducing homosexuals to “little more than deviant cretins.” What it actually says is that “we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity.” Yes, the Declaration says those who succumb to homosexual desires are “sinners,” but adds, “We, no less than they, are sinners who have fallen short of God’s intention for our lives.”

And Exodus International has in recent years bent over backward to express Christian love in their language and avoid exaggeration in their claims. Those attacking Exodus sarcastically referred to the “gay cure” app, language which was uncritically repeated by the mainstream media. Yet Exodus never uses the word “cure,” while their comments on “healing” are primarily spiritual in nature (“The key outcome [is] … a growing capacity to turn away from temptations, [and] a reconciling of one’s identity with Jesus Christ.”).

The attack on Exodus was led by Wayne Besen, founder of an organization he calls “Truth Wins Out.” Mr. Besen has only contempt for the many people who have overcome same-sex attractions and abandoned the homosexual lifestyle and he seeks to deny people with unwanted same-sex attractions even the option of seeking change. Several years ago, he trespassed on private property at Boston’s Park Street Church (namely, the historic cemetery in which Samuel Adams is buried) and yelled on a bullhorn through the church windows in an effort to disrupt a pro-family conference on homosexuality called “Love Won Out.” He is an odd one to be accusing anyone, as he did Exodus, of “malice.”

Today’s politically correct America would have seemed like a paradise to the homosexual activists of a quarter-century ago but today’s activists have become frustrated with the pace of change. Since neither research, persuasion nor politics have been effective in implementing the full homosexual agenda, which seeks unqualified celebration and subsidization of homosexual con- duct in every realm of society, some in the homosexual movement have turned to brute force, using censorship to trample on freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Apple’s double standard here is particularly striking. While the Manhattan Declaration and Exodus are by no means the only apps that the company has dropped over the years, they still offer many others that are undoubtedly “offensive to large groups of people,” including “Grindr” (which facilitates homosexual male hookups) and half a dozen advertising “sex positions.”

Supporting the natural definition of marriage as the union of male and female (as 45 of the 50 states do) is not “hate,” and supporting the personal freedom and autonomy of those who seek sexual orientation change “demonizes” no one. There can be legitimate debate about these issues - but Apple, as one of the gatekeepers of today’s information technology, should be doing everything it can to facilitate that debate, not stifle it.

Peter Sprigg is a fellow at the Family Research Council.