I was disappointed to read this week that Apple has removed from its App Store an application developed by Exodus International aimed at people seeking to overcome same-sex attraction. It’s no surprise that many people find such an application distasteful – 150,000 people are reported to have signed a petition to Apple to have it removed. But if in fact we live in a free society (yes a bold assumption, I know), then surely people are free to question the morality of their own attitudes and actions, and even their own sexual preferences. And if that is so, then surely a group like Exodus should be free to express their views about this question as well.
The issue that concerns me here is not whether their views are correct – you may or may not agree with their opinions about homosexuality. I also don’t question Apple’s right to remove the application. They are a private business. They own the App Store. They can do whatever they want with it consistent with the law. But I think it is sad that they feel a need to make a moral judgment themselves about the opinions of others and demonstrate that they are unwilling for their ecosystem to be a platform for a free exchange of ideas.
This is hardly news of course. Apple have always been about closed, controlled systems and it is one of the main reasons that I doubt I will ever buy one of their products. The beauty of the web is that it is indeed more or less open, and as such supports, not undermines, the freedom of individuals to examine as many different point of view as possible, to learn from as many different sources as possible, and to form whatever opinions they alone choose.