Religious app removed by Apple after conversion therapy claims
An app by a religious organisation Living Hope Ministries has been removed from the Apple Store after a petition called for its removal and claimed it was promoting conversion therapy.
The petition also said the app was “outrageously offensive” and “dangerous.”
A US organisation that fights “antigay lies and the ex-gay myth” called Truth Wins Out started the petition.
Meanwhile, the removed religious app was owned by Arlington-based religious group Living Hope Ministries, and the organisation’s executive director said he would be asking them to restore the app, according to DallasNews.com.
Truth Wins Out claimed in the petition that the app targeted young people who wanted to “change from gay-to-straight through prayer and therapy.”
They also claim that the app portrayed being gay as an “addiction”, a “sickness” and as a “sin.”
“We have no problem with an individual who is gay if that’s what they want to be… We don’t make any proclamations about fixing anyone.”
– Ricky Chelette, Living Hope Ministries
Living Hope Ministries exists to help people “seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ,” according to DallasNews.com.
LGBT+ organisation claims the app is ‘dangerous’
Truth Wins Out thanked Apple for swiftly removing the app from their store, and said the organisation behind it “stigmatises and demeans LGBT people.”
Ricky Chelette, the executive director of Living Hope Ministries, said that they do not call what they do “conversion therapy.”
He said that people seek out their organisation when there is a clash between their faith and sexual attractions.
Chelette added: “We have no problem with an individual who is gay if that’s what they want to be… We don’t make any proclamations about fixing anyone.”
What is conversion therapy?
UK LGBT+ charity Stonewall defines conversion therapy as “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity.
“It is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’.”
The charity also brands the practice as “unethical and harmful.”
All major counselling and psychotherapy bodies in the UK – as well as the NHS – have condemned conversion therapy.
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“[Conversion therapy] is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be ‘cured’.”
A 2009 survey of more than 1,300 mental health professionals in the UK found that over 200 had offered some form of conversion therapy.
The practice is only banned in three countries, despite numerous health organisations condemning conversion therapy.
In Canada, 70,000 people have recently signed petitions calling on the government to ban conversion therapy.
One petition has received 11,200 signatures, and the other – which was started by It Gets Better Canada – has 58,400, according to BBC News.