Who decides who's a hater?

I don't understand organizations' rush to build iPhone apps when Android is clearly the better option. Before I anger the Apple enthusiasts (including my colleagues here), let me quickly move to an interesting story about how the iTunes store removed a Manhattan Declaration application. Change.org garnered 7,700 signers asking Apple to remove the "anti-gay and anti-choice" app. At the time of this post, about 24,000 people have signed the petition to restore the app.

You might remember the Manhattan Declaration from last Thanksgiving time, when Charles Colson, Timothy George and Robert George released an document suggesting that the 478,822 signatories have an obligation to defend "sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion."

So far, it appears that mostly tech, conservative, Christian and gay publications are posting stories. Few mainstream outlets have chosen to cover it (though Religion News Service plans to publish a story later today, so we might see more coverage on mainstream websites). ABC was one of the few outlets to cover the dispute as an excuse to round up several of the rejected apps in the past few months.

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.

On one hand, Apple's move is not terribly surprising, since the company keeps pretty tight control over its store. Dan Gilgoff spoke with an Apple spokesperson for CNN.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company had removed the app, which was called the Manhattan Declaration after the document it was meant to promote, from Apple's online iTunes and iPhone stores.

...Kerris said that Apple had heard from "large groups of people" about the app but declined to answer questions about who complained about the app and about which part or parts were deemed offensive, saying "I'd rather not got into further detail."

...Asked whether Apple had any plans to reinstate the app, Kerris said Wednesday that she had "no further comment."

This also ties into a story from Thanksgiving week that was slightly overlooked. The Washington Post has more details about the latest designated "hate groups":

The Southern Poverty Law Center this week labeled as "hate groups" several political and religious organizations that campaign against same-sex marriage and, the center says, engage in "repeated, groundless name-calling" against gays and lesbians.

Included on the list released by the civil rights organization is the Family Research Council, a prominent and politically influential group of social conservatives. The report by the law center, which has spent four decades tracking extremist groups and hate speech, accuses the council and a dozen other groups of putting out "demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities."

All of this raises interesting questions over who decides who is inappropriate, especially when a discussion over rights might clash with a discussion over beliefs.

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