Several Christian leaders are angry that Apple Inc. yanked an iPhone/iPad software application containing the text of the Manhattan Declaration, a 4,700-word document that includes basic Christian teachings and Bible verses on marriage, life, and religious liberty, Baptist Press reports. Apple’s rejection signals a growing societal intolerance of orthodox Christianity that “reflects hostility toward Christian beliefs,” according to those signing an objection letter to Apple, including Richard Land, James Dobson, Charles Colson, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and Timothy Dolan.
Nearly 500,000 Christians signed the original submission to Apple in 2009, including representatives from many major Protestant denominations, Catholic bishops, and leaders of the Orthodox Church. Apple pulled the free app from its online store in November, saying it “violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people” because it opposes gay marriage, abortion, and embryonic stem-cell research.
The letter objecting to Apple’s action says the declaration “simply reaffirms the moral teachings of our Christian faith on the sanctity of human life, marriage and sexual morality, and religious freedom and the rights of conscience.”
“It is difficult to see how this is anything other than a statement of animus by a major American corporation against the beliefs of millions of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox citizens,” a statement on the Manhattan Declaration website said.
Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote in a Baptist Press column: “The positions espoused in the Manhattan Declaration are based on biblical Christianity and affirmed by nearly half a million Christians representing dozens of denominations.
“The declaration does not promote hate or homophobia. Instead, the declaration proclaims that all human beings are loved by God and are worthy of respect.”
Christian conservatives who support the Manhattan Declaration say they will resubmit the app to Apple’s App Review Board after Jan. 1.