Google is refusing to remove an application that activists believe promotes the idea that homosexuality is both a sin and susceptible to change.
The Living Hope Ministries is essentially a conversion therapy app, according to LGBTQ rights groups that are urging Google to ding the project. The app, which has already been removed by Apple and Amazon, offers young people and parents articles and testimonials.
Nearly 140,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org pushing the company to make a move. Supporters of the app argue, meanwhile, that the project neither supports nor practices conversion therapy, a type of therapy designed to turn gay people into heterosexuals. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association oppose such practices.
“We are hopeful that technology companies recognize the harm of apps that promote conversion therapy. The Trevor Project hears from conversion therapy survivors in crisis every day, and we remain committed to ending the harmful practice in every state because we know it contributes to an increased risk of suicidal behavior among LGBTQ youth,” Trevor Project CEO Amit Paley told Axios Wednesday.
Supporters of the app claim it allows gay men and women to square their homosexuality with orthodox Christianity. Pressure on Google will likely intensify as activists press the issue. The company has gotten hit in the past for offering controversial apps, including one in 2018 allowing citizens to report what they consider instances of blasphemy to the Indonesian government.
The so-called Smart Pakem app was created through the Google Play platform and allows users to report “deviant” religious ideas directly to Indonesian authorities. The country’s anti-blasphemy laws target “those who disgrace a religion” or who otherwise express “hostility” to religion.
Google could also receive internal pressure.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported March 18 that the company banned a video explaining Christian teaching on same-sex marriage from advertising on YouTube in 2018 after employees pushed and prodded for the ban. The video was flagged in June 2018 in an internal listserv run by Google’s human resources department, according to communications and other internal documents.
Google has not yet responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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