Christianity,  Culture

Chuck Colson on the App Flap

On Tuesday, I noted that Apple removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the iTunes Store after complaints from gay activists. Yesterday, Apple explained that they removed the app because it was “offensive to large groups of people.” Chuck Colson, Robert George and Timothy George have been trying to reach Steve Jobs to request him to reverse this decision, but so far haven’t been able to contact him. So they have started an online petition that you can sign if you would like to see the app restored.

Today, Chuck Colson pens an editorial in which he responds to the charge that the Manhattan Declaration is “anti-gay” and “hate speech.” He writes:

“Some in the gay community aren’t angry at the signers of the Manhattan Declaration because we hate them—we don’t! I’ve cradled many prisoners dying of AIDS in my arms. They’re angry at us because we disagree with them. But civil, open discourse is what keeps our society free. We can air our disagreements in public. That’s what democracy is all about. And it’s tragic that a leading culture-shaper like Apple would suppress that kind of discussion.”

Sign the petition here.


  • Joe Blackmon

    The fact is, gay people and the pretend christians who support homosexuality as not being a sin have a hearing problem that no hearing aid will ever fix.

    We (Christians) say “Homosexuality is a sin. But God will forgive any sinner of any sin if they repent of their sins and trust in Christ’s death on the cross as payment for their sins and that He rose 3 days later”. Simple, plain, and in English, no less.

    They hear “We hate you. We hate you. We HATE you” and they will tell you that is what you said and believe in their heart that what they’re telling you is in fact what you said.

  • Christiane

    Hi JOE,

    I understand your words. The thing that doesn’t get understood is the ‘spirit’. That is where Christian people are letting gay people down: somehow, some way, the spirit of Christ is not ‘getting through’.

    I just read another comment where the person probably meant to say ‘anti LGBT agendas’, but said ‘anti-LGBT’.

    I’m not sure HOW it can be done, but Christians need to honestly be able to state their case;
    and have it understood as ‘caring and compassionate’.

    I suspect groups like the Westboro people have poisoned the well. Can Christians find a way to reach out that doesn’t mimic a ‘milder’ form of Westboro;
    and does instead powerfully reflect the heart of Christ?

    I think they can.
    Then they will be heard by those who need Him.

    Right now, honestly, I think the ‘dialogue’ in all ‘preaching to the choir’, self-reinforcing an attitude that can easily be perceived as contemptuous, rejecting, self-righteous, and judgmental.
    When Christ is present in the language of Christian people, then His Spirit will not be misunderstood.

  • Christiane

    Well, Joe, if no one tries to change the tone of the dialogue,
    then everyone must be happy with the way things are now.

    But is it Will of Christ not to try ?

  • Derek

    I’m sure that our tone is not helpful at times. Nevertheless, the tone of the MD was very careful and one would be very hard pressed to find any tone (in it) that betrays Christ. So then why is it deemed more offensive than misogynist content from Emimem, to name just one example? Joe’s right. While tone is important, it isn’t the defining or crucial factor here. The subject and the content is.

  • Christiane

    Maybe the word ‘tone’ is not the correct word to use in this case.

    Content is extremely important.
    So is the ‘spirit’ in which it is written.

    If the authors and supporters of the MD are peaceful that they have represented the spirit of Christ in their work, then there is no more to be done by those individuals. And once someone’s name is signed onto the document, they ‘own it’, and I am assuming they are proud to do it.

    Truth is a great many people in the popular culture are interpreting as ‘hate-speech’ anything that remotely resembles what the Christian far-right conservatives (emphasis on ‘far-right’ here) are stating.
    Joe is right about that.
    Many people in the mainstream are now coming out in support of LGBT people, whom they see as victims of persecution in our society by homophobes. That support is increasing.

    So is the line drawn in the sand?
    Or is their anyone who is willing to find a way to breach the divide?
    And to do it in a way that is RESPECTFUL of all concerned ?

    I ask, because it needs to be asked. Christians don’t back away from difficult encounters, hiding behind our smugness, and stridency, and hubris. The defensiveness of that self-righteous posture reeks of our OWN discomfort with the LGBT community.

    Maybe only SOME Christians have been given the grace to get past that personal ‘discomfort’ enough to be effective as Christian ministers to LGBT people. (?)
    After all, not everyone in the Body of Christ has been given the same gifts to share.

  • Chris Whisonant

    Sadly if you search the app store for LGBT you will find over 75 apps – many of which would probably offend more people than the Manhattan Declaration. It’s a double standard for sure.

  • Derek

    Joe, as I said in #4, tone is important. Romans 12:18 also says this: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

    Let people be offended with the message if they will. I am afraid that Christiane is so accommodating that she forgets that truth does matter and I would say to her that Christians cannot be silent just because we’ve made mistakes in our communication or because a topic is “too hot”. But we must keep a careful watch on our attitude and tone.

  • Donald Johnson

    I see it as a question of how paternal do you want your mobile carrier to be. If you do not want “Daddy Apple” to decide things for you, make a purchase decision elsewhere where such paternalism (even potential paternalism) does not exist by design. Cast your economic vote.

  • Nate

    The whole notion of hate speech works against the 1st ammendment. If we truly believe in the right of free speech then the notion of hate speech as a crime is ridiculous. We are discussing the attitude and tone of statements that Christians make toward LBGT folks and their recoil at how the message of the gospel is delivered, because we offend their lifestyle.

    What I find absolutely oxymoronic is that (TV, movies, newspapers, columnists, and everyday citizens) walk around using the Lord Jesus and God as curse words (both in private speech and public) and there is no outcry that hate speech is occurring. BTW this has been going on probably since the founding of the country.

    Yet, you don’t hear agnostics, LBGT folks, and others concerned that their message is hurtful towards a group of people. Let’s not even get into Art (or what some call Art).

  • Nathan

    What I don’t like in Chuck Colson’s statement above is that he equated the gay community with convicts dying of AIDS.

    I don’t hate Christians, I’ve cradled many prisoners dying of AIDS in my arms.

    Sounds kind of funny when you replace the group, doesn’t it?

  • Charlton Connett


    It only sounds funny when you replace group because there is not a higher prevalence of AIDS among Christians. However, there is a higher prevalence of AIDS among homosexuals. The connection to AIDS seems pretty evident.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.