Apple pull "gay cure" app Setting Captives Free, but app is still available on Android

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setting-captives-free.jpgApple have pulled an app from their App Store for iPhone and iPad that claimed it could “cure homosexuality” after thousands of users protested against it.

The Setting Captives Free app, which promised to free users from the “bondage of homsexuality”, caused enough upset to lead 55,000 people to sign a petition against it, set up by the All Out pressure group, branding the app harmful.

The All Out group stated that the app’s 60-day course could cause “terrible harm to lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people, or anyone forced to try to change who they are or who they love.”

The app’s creators on the other hand believed the app could add used looking to find “freedom from habitual sins”, helping “help people just like you escape impurity, over-eating, substance abuse, gambling, smoking, and more.”

Following the outrage, Apple have now pulled the app from the App Store for violating the company’s developer guidelines, which do not allow “the promotion of hatred toward groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity”.

What was not addressed, however, was how the app got onto the App Store in the first place, given Apple’s strict App Store approval process.

The app also remains on sale through Google’s Google Play store for Android, despite criticism from app reviewers on the platform.

It’s not the first time Google’s app store has courted controversy, after it came to light that Google were claiming a cut of the profits from sales of a “Racist Jokes” app.

Gerald Lynch

18 comments

  • I have used SCF myself, and they do not preach hate or claim to have a “cure”. They are simply offering to come alongside those who are struggling to be free of certain issues (mine is porn), and offer Christian teaching that can lead to freedom. They are not judgmental. They are simply Christian. I was assigned a great mentor who did not judge me, but cared about me and challenged me to continue the fight. He told me of his own struggles and was very genuine. I had tried many other approaches and struggled for years, but SCF actually prompted me to look at my motives and change my whole view of life. I am now actually seeing success. I wish this recourse would be available for all those who would want it. Luckily all the courses are offered for free on their website. So, not then end of the world. Anyway, be careful when you judge other for judging others.

  • I have used SCF myself, and they do not preach hate or claim to have a “cure”. They are simply offering to come alongside those who are struggling to be free of certain issues (mine is porn), and offer Christian teaching that can lead to freedom. They are not judgmental. They are simply Christian. I was assigned a great mentor who did not judge me, but cared about me and challenged me to continue the fight. He told me of his own struggles and was very genuine. I had tried many other approaches and struggled for years, but SCF actually prompted me to look at my motives and change my whole view of life. I am now actually seeing success. I wish this recourse would be available for all those who would want it. Luckily all the courses are offered for free on their website. So, not then end of the world. Anyway, be careful when you judge other for judging others.

  • I have used the SCF website (not the app) and they do not promote hatred toward these groups. They practice Christianity. Christianity is not a religion of hate. God loves people even when they have done horrible things against Him. He commands His people to do the same. The Bible shows us that homosexuality is just one of several sins that God hates. He also hates pride, lying, theft, etc. He doesn’t hate the people who do these things….He hates the acts themselves. I don’t know how He is so patient and kind. His law basically says that all sin is worthy of death. He gave Jesus to be the One to die once and for all. Then Jesus rose from the dead. Why do you think so many people have protested? They are convicted by their own wrongdoing and judged as guilty. There are plenty of other Christian apps on Apple and Kindle books, etc that have the very words from God that condemn these acts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they want to get those taken down too.

  • I have used the SCF website (not the app) and they do not promote hatred toward these groups. They practice Christianity. Christianity is not a religion of hate. God loves people even when they have done horrible things against Him. He commands His people to do the same. The Bible shows us that homosexuality is just one of several sins that God hates. He also hates pride, lying, theft, etc. He doesn't hate the people who do these things….He hates the acts themselves. I don't know how He is so patient and kind. His law basically says that all sin is worthy of death. He gave Jesus to be the One to die once and for all. Then Jesus rose from the dead. Why do you think so many people have protested? They are convicted by their own wrongdoing and judged as guilty. There are plenty of other Christian apps on Apple and Kindle books, etc that have the very words from God that condemn these acts. I wouldn't be surprised if they want to get those taken down too.

  • So playing violent games on an app isn’t a ‘hate’ building exercise?
    I know a lot of people who have major issues with managing personal anger and they all love playing violent video games. Yet an app that supports people that are looking for a way to help to see a desire they have from another point of view is ‘hate’ based. It’s ridiculous.
    No one changes by being forced to read something. You’ll probably find that most people that have ever changed an opinion in a lasting way has changed because they were searching of their own interest. And If that is the case, why take away access to anything that offers another point of view. I have seen the material on the website for myself and it doesn’t load anyone up with guilt. It actually has a lot of personal stories of people that have struggled with feelings of guilt and how they personally found relief from those feelings. How is that harmful or hateful?

  • So playing violent games on an app isn't a 'hate' building exercise?I know a lot of people who have major issues with managing personal anger and they all love playing violent video games. Yet an app that supports people that are looking for a way to help to see a desire they have from another point of view is 'hate' based. It's ridiculous.No one changes by being forced to read something. You'll probably find that most people that have ever changed an opinion in a lasting way has changed because they were searching of their own interest. And If that is the case, why take away access to anything that offers another point of view. I have seen the material on the website for myself and it doesn't load anyone up with guilt. It actually has a lot of personal stories of people that have struggled with feelings of guilt and how they personally found relief from those feelings. How is that harmful or hateful?

  • OK- SO you disagree with a religious app and you can justify censoring it based on peoples free choice to use an app to get away from “habitual sin”? The so called “tolerant” gay lobby is very intolerant here. if you don’t like it, then don’t download the app! But why remove it?

  • OK- SO you disagree with a religious app and you can justify censoring it based on peoples free choice to use an app to get away from “habitual sin”? The so called “tolerant” gay lobby is very intolerant here. if you don't like it, then don't download the app! But why remove it?

  • It’s a crime in California, New Jersey, all of Canada, and most of Europe to offer this app to children. What will happen is this: Some fundamentalist parent will download this app for their gay child and force him or her to use it. Every major medical association in the free world say that this type of “therapy” carries a grave risk of self-harm and suicide for at-risk individuals, especially children.

  • This is ridiculous. I have used SCF and have recommended it for others who are trying to deal with any variety of issues. There is so much hate-mongering and misrepresentation here:

    1) Nowhere does the app or website claim to “cure” homosexuality. It offers help to Christians to find freedom from giving in to temptation – all sorts of temptation. Yes, the majority of Christians understand homosexual activity to be sin (spoiler alert!). Christians (and nearly all other religions) do not believe that we are slaves to our passions and desires, no matter how deeply rooted they are. “Freedom” is this case, then, is not to “cure” homosexuality, but to help those who wish not to engage in homosexual activity resources to help them do so.

    2) From the “All Out” site: “It’s almost funny that anyone thinks an app can ‘cure’ someone from being gay.” No one thinks an app can do that; SCF also would agree they can not. They are saying that in Christ a Christian can say no to temptation and teach basic principles of the Christian faith applied to any number of sin issues.

    I hate that this issue is always so political. I wish people could see that Christians do not hate homosexuals. There are young men in my church, whom I love as brothers in Christ, who are have struggled with their sexual orientation. They have come to the personal conviction that while their orientation is not something to be cured, it is something that would be sinful for them to act on. Therefore, they are using their singleness as a special testimony to the Lord in a culture that idolizes relationships. They are not repressing their desires for the sake of repression, but desire something greater and therefore limit some desires for the sake of other desires – something that every mature person must do at times in their life.

    Christians are painted with a broad stroke as bigots, yet actually have very nuanced views of personal identity, the nature of desires, and personal moral transformation that a 30-second sound bite can not do justice. The real bigotry and hatred seems to come from people who would wish to censure without understanding.

  • It's a crime in California, New Jersey, all of Canada, and most of Europe to offer this app to children. What will happen is this: Some fundamentalist parent will download this app for their gay child and force him or her to use it. Every major medical association in the free world say that this type of “therapy” carries a grave risk of self-harm and suicide for at-risk individuals, especially children.

    • Nobody's being forced to download this app. Just calm down, the first amendment would actually protect this, and calling for its removal is nothing but bigoted and childish in its own way. There is no evidence that this app harms anyone, these associations that you're referring to have only concluded such to specific forms of conversion therapy. Do your research before pretending you actually know what you're talking about.

  • This is ridiculous. I have used SCF and have recommended it for others who are trying to deal with any variety of issues. There is so much hate-mongering and misrepresentation here:

    1) Nowhere does the app or website claim to “cure” homosexuality. It offers help to Christians to find freedom from giving in to temptation – all sorts of temptation. Yes, the majority of Christians understand homosexual activity to be sin (spoiler alert!). Christians (and nearly all other religions) do not believe that we are slaves to our passions and desires, no matter how deeply rooted they are. “Freedom” is this case, then, is not to “cure” homosexuality, but to help those who wish not to engage in homosexual activity resources to help them do so.

    2) From the “All Out” site: “It’s almost funny that anyone thinks an app can ‘cure’ someone from being gay.” No one thinks an app can do that; SCF also would agree they can not. They are saying that in Christ a Christian can say no to temptation and teach basic principles of the Christian faith applied to any number of sin issues.

    I hate that this issue is always so political. I wish people could see that Christians do not hate homosexuals. There are young men in my church, whom I love as brothers in Christ, who are have struggled with their sexual orientation. They have come to the personal conviction that while their orientation is not something to be cured, it is something that would be sinful for them to act on. Therefore, they are using their singleness as a special testimony to the Lord in a culture that idolizes relationships. They are not repressing their desires for the sake of repression, but desire something greater and therefore limit some desires for the sake of other desires – something that every mature person must do at times in their life.

    Christians are painted with a broad stroke as bigots, yet actually have very nuanced views of personal identity, the nature of desires, and personal moral transformation that a 30-second sound bite can not do justice. The real bigotry and hatred seems to come from people who would wish to censure without understanding.

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