Apple Faces Morality Squad

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs is never featured in his own ads. So what’s he doing in the spot above?

The text on the YouTube video offers a cryptic call to arms, but no explanation: “Tell Steve Jobs not to promote censorship: steve@apple.com www.NationForMarriage.org” — the website for the National Organization for Marriage.

The conservative group released a press release this week chastising Jobs over an iPhone app, “the Manhattan Declaration,” that has nothing to do with the Empire State’s I Love NY campaign and everything to do with the gay marriage debate in America.[more]

The app in question was approved and then pulled from the iTunes store, prompting the ire of NOW and this statement:

“The National Organization for Marriage today launched a nationwide video comparing Steve Jobs to “Big Brother” as a result of Apple’s decision to remove an app in support of traditional marriage and pro-life from the iTunes store. The app was created by the Manhattan Declaration, an organization of Christians who support traditional marriage, life and religious liberty. The video, found here, called “The Iconic Steve Jobs” will be emailed to Christians across the country, including NOM’s own 800,000 supporters, as well as be widely distributed through social media.

“Steve Jobs built his reputation as an iconic marketer in the famous 1984 commercial for the MacIntosh computer in which Apple promises to take on ‘Big Brother’” said Brian Brown, president of NOM. “Jobs has made billions taking on ‘Big Brother’ yet the irony is that in refusing to allow citizens to support pro-life and traditional marriage positions he’s become the very ‘Big Brother’ he has decried.”

The Manhattan Declaration has been signed by nearly 500,000 Christians who pledge their support for pro-life, traditional marriage and religious liberty. Launched in Manhattan in November 2009, the Declaration – called “A Call of Christian Conscience” – enjoys the support of prominent Christian clergy, ministers and scholars. The app was developed to facilitate other Christians to sign the Declaration. The app was approved by Apple reviewers and rated 4 plus, certifying that it contains no offensive content. Despite this, Apple pulled the app from the iTunes store when gay marriage advocates mounted an online petition. An Apple spokesperson defended the action saying that the Christian app was “offensive to large groups of people.”

“Apple happily allows all kinds of apps for pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage groups, yet when Christians develop an app to support traditional marriage and life, it is called offensive and is pulled from the iTunes store,” Brown said. “What is offensive is that Steve Jobs has targeted Christians for discrimination and religious bigotry, censoring our basic right to speech. Steve Jobs has become Big Brother and we call on Christians across America to contact Jobs to express their outrage at his unfair, discriminatory decision. Apple should immediately restore the Manhattan Declaration app and apologize to all Christians for their actions.”

NOM is also responding to critics on its blog while GLAAD is busy lobbying Apple to reject the revised app.

As Gawker’s Ryan Tate points out, “Now every time Apple approves an app, it implies moral endorsement of the content of that app.”

In short: Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

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