Weeks after Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft removed an app promoting anti-gay conversion therapy from their respective app stores, it remains active in the Google Play store.
The free Living Hope Ministries app refers to LGBTQ people as “sexually broken” and suffering from “gender confusion,” according to a petition calling for its removal.
The Christian app offers to help gays to become straight through prayer and religious therapy. It also links back to the group’s website, which contains articles and testimonials about turning away from homosexuality targeted specifically at “youth/young adults,” as well as for adult men and women.
LGBTQ advocacy group Truth Wins Out first drew attention to the app, which had already been available for several years, back in December. Apple was the first to remove it, and the others followed.
“By any standard, the app is awful. It brazenly compares homosexuality to an addiction. It casually trashes LGBT people as living ‘destructive lifestyles,” the current petition reads. “Every moment that this app remains at Google’s online store, vulnerable LGBT teenagers can download it, so time is of the essence.”
Living Hope Ministries, of course, counters that TWO’s claims are “inaccurate” and they are simply a “discipleship ministry that holds to a traditional, orthodox understanding of Scripture.”
“We help people understand who they are in Christ,” said executive director Ricky Chelette.
Bans on conversion therapy have been on the rise, with New York being the latest to forbid the discriminatory and damaging practice.
And Google’s own policy disallows apps that “incite hatred against individuals or groups” based on a number of criteria, including sexual orientation and gender.
So why haven't they removed the app?
“We are hoping this is simply an oversight from a very large company, rather than an objectionable policy decision that would warrant further action," said TWO executive director Wayne Bessen.