On being fair and balanced

NOM’s Brian Brown is mad. Apple decided to remove an application described by Brown as an app that “would help Christians sign the Manhattan Declaration.” Censorship! Big Brother! OMG!

What’s offensive is the action of Steve Jobs. Jobs allows applications in support of gay marriage and abortion. Planned Parenthood has an app, so do several gay marriage groups. There’s an app to sign petitions to repeal Proposition 8 in California. And there is even an app coming to allow gay marriage backers to “report” priests and pastors who preach about the sanctity of marriage!

But Apple said no to the Manhattan Declaration. If we were talking about a public forum (the lawn of the Leesburg Courthouse, for example), Brown might have a legitimate complaint. Viewpoints cannot lawfully be censored by the government just because they’re offensive. But Apple is not the government. It’s a commercial enterprise that gets to determine what products it will make available in its iTunes store; the concept of censorship doesn’t apply here.

Beyond that, Brown really believes he has discovered some sort of insidious double standard at work. Apple allows other apps that promote a viewpoint, so why not his? What is offensive about wanting to “preserve marriage”? Manhattan Declaration creator Chuck Colson “insists that the declaration contains no offensive or inflammatory language and does not promote hate or homophobia.” And here’s a representative passage that proves the intention of the document is “love (not ‘animus’)”:

We acknowledge that there are those who are disposed towards homosexual and polyamorous conduct and relationships, just as there are those who are disposed towards other forms of immoral conduct. We have compassion for those so disposed; we respect them as human beings possessing profound, inherent, and equal dignity; and we pay tribute to the men and women who strive, often with little assistance, to resist the temptation to yield to desires that they, no less than we, regard as wayward…

This paragraph goes on and on, driving home the same point several times. That point is the presumption that GLBT people are inherently broken and inferior. That if we live comfortably as who we are, our lives are defined as “immoral conduct.” The authors don’t bother trying to explain how “profound, inherent, and equal dignity,” let alone our full participation in civil society, could possibly coexist with this situation, and they may actually have no understanding of why this is offensive “to large groups of people.”

Apple is simply making a distinction between applications that promote fear and hatred of minority groups and those that counter the promotion of fear and hatred of minority groups. Because those are two very different things.

Brian doesn’t think that’s fair and balanced. In his topsy-turvy world, pro-hate apps and anti-hate apps should be treated as equivalent, and that makes him really pro-equality. It’s enough to make your head hurt.

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3 Responses to On being fair and balanced

  1. Henry Hale says:

    This is an excellent article explaining the difference between tolerance and hate and the ways that the two do not counter each other in the “fair and balanced” arena. Hate should never be accepted as a counter to anything, much the issues it’s being applied here. Congratulations to Apple for not allowing “hate” to penetrate its App Store.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Chuck Colson believes that “Christians” should have their own schools and should write their own text books. Maybe he can muster the talent to create a Christian mobile phone. If not, he can shop around for another host (e.g. Android) as any good capitalist would do. That’s what CNET suggests.

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