03 October 2011

Anti-Christian Censorship & New Media

According to Fr. John Flynn, LC, the biggest offenders are Apple and Google, although Facebook has been guilty of anti-religious bigotry as well.

[T]he only apps that Apple has blocked due to the views expressed in them are ones that reflect Christian views, according to the report.

In November of 2010, Apple revoked its approval of the Manhattan Declaration App. This declaration was a statement of Christian beliefs about marriage, the sanctity of life and religious liberty. The reason given was that one of the points in the declaration was that homosexual conduct is immoral and this, in Apple's view, was offensive.

Later, in March 2011, Apple also censored the app for Exodus International, a Christian ministry that helps people to leave the homosexual lifestyle. Once again Apple declared that this was offensive and violated its guidelines.

Then, in July 2011, Apple pulled iTunes out of the Christian Values Network, a portal that contributes funds to charities. The report said that this action was caused by complaints that some of the charities had policies critical of homosexual rights initiatives.

[Apple's] guidelines on religion define [that] content should be prohibited if it is "offensive, mean-spirited" or if it contains material that has "abuse," or is "inappropriate" or "unacceptable." Using such fuzzy terms means that Apple has very wide discretion to determine which religious ideas they prefer and which they will censor, the report pointed out.

There is no doubt, the report concluded, that Apple's policies on religious content would be found "extraordinarily wanting" if they were matched up against the standards for free speech that the Supreme Court has established under the First Amendment.


Turning to Google the report noted that it refused to place a Christian pro-life advertisement from the Christian Institute on its search engine. The ad was refused on the grounds that Google's "policy did not permit the advertisement of Web sites that contain abortion and religion-related content."

The Christian Institute then took Google to court and as a result the ad was allowed and Google changed its policy to allow ads on abortion from religious groups so long as they are framed in a factual way.

Google's policy is still, however, to block any ad on abortion that contains the phrase "abortion is murder," as this is deemed to be "gruesome."

Another problem outlined by the report related to Google's guidelines for its Web tools available for non-profit groups. The free or discounted use of these tools is not allowed for churches, faith groups, or organizations that take religion or sexual orientation into account in hiring employees. According to the report Christian churches who have applied to Google for non-profit status are being rejected.
You can read the rest of the article here.