Church head: "Gay cure" iPhone app not offensive

Alan Chambers Exodus International

Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International
Exodus International

Hit "publish" and fame could come knocking - whether you want it or not. Just ask Alan Chambers, who heads Exodus International, a global Christian ministry. Both he and his organization, now find themselves at the epicenter of a cyber-controversy after sponsoring an iPhone application aimed at helping "those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to live a life congruent with biblical teaching." Since then, more than 150,000 people have signed their names to an online petition urging Apple to pull the app because it violates the company's prohibitions against objectionable content. Last night, Apple did just that and pulled the app. CBSNews.com spoke with Chambers from his offices in Orlando, Fla. to get his follow-up reaction.

Q: You put out a tweet and a press release about Apple's decision. Has Apple yet been in touch with you about pulling the app?

Chambers: Apple has not been in touch directly, but they did contact the developer that created our app.

Q:You're right now at the center of a controversy. Did you expect the blow-back that accompanied the posting of your app?

Chambers: We did expect this would be big issue for lot of people. It's something we live with on a daily basis. When we created the app and it went live, after a couple of weeks we knew it would generate this kind of a firestorm.

Q: What was the genesis of the idea behind developing the app?

Chambers: The app, like anyone else creating app for business or organization, was simply an iPhone-enabled link to our website. It was something that offered a little bit of information that our website has to offer - for example, about being opposed to bullying or our calendar of events. The way it's being touted by groups opposed to us in no way or shape represents how our organization conducts our business.

Chambers: We're being portrayed as group of people making judgments on peoples' lives whereas I and thousands of others like me, who experienced same-sex attraction, are trying to live out our lives through the filter of our faith, not through the filter of our sexuality. We live in a free and tolerant society and more power to someone who makes a choice about how to live their life.

Q: How long did it take to develop the app?

Chambers: It was a relatively short process, maybe a month. It wasn't extensive.

Q: And it went live on Feb. 15?

Chambers: Yes. We announced it on March 8.

Q: How many downloads have there been since then?

Chambers: After we started promoting it on March 8, we got 16,000 downloads. As far as our rating on iTunes went, we only had 500 negative ratings.

Q: How are you feeling just about now?

Chambers: I feel good. I woke up in America, in a free and tolerant society. It's a good place to live. I hope that Apple will realize that they've disappointed with their decision and are ignoring a large number of people who are in their customer base.

Q: What about the critics? Can you understand why they find the app offensive?

Chambers: I can understand people having an opinion about something. What I can't understand is why they would find it offensive. The way it's been touted and the scare tactics used by the other side - if that's what it was all about, I would have signed (the petition) too. But it's not true what's being reported. We all have a choice about how to live our lives and govern ourselves.

  • Charles Cooper On Twitter»

    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

Popular

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download