Saunders: Making gay people straight? We don’t need an app for that

bsaunders@newsobserver.comJune 2, 2013 

In the interest of full disclosure, let me confess that prior to a few days ago, I wouldn’t have known an app if one had fallen out of the sky and splash-landed into my morning bowl of Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries.

Like you, I’ve heard people casually proclaiming “There’s an app” for this or “there’s an app” for that – I’d even toss out the phrase myself – but danged if I knew what one was.

When someone told me that there’s an app raising ire because critics say it claims to “cure” people of homosexuality, though, I figured I’d look into it. Turns out app is short for application, and it is some program that can be downloaded to your smartphone.

The “gay no more” app – my term, not theirs – that is causing consternation is offered by Setting Captives Free, a nondenominational ministry, and was available in Apple and Google stores until Apple pulled it from its store late last week.

All Out protest

Was that move prompted by pressure from a group called All Out, which started a petition drive to protest the app’s being offered by the two global icons?

“We believe so,” said Joe Mirabella, a spokesman for All Out. When I spoke with him Friday, he said, “It appears that the app had been in the store for several weeks, and 24 hours after we launched the campaign, the app was removed. We’re continuing to ask our friends at Google to reconsider” its decision to carry the app.

Visit its website,, and you’ll see that the app promises not to cure but “to help people just like you escape impurity, over-eating, substance abuse, gambling, smoking and more.”

The app’s claim

Found on the app, Mirabella said, is this: “Despite what you may have heard elsewhere, you do not have a ‘homosexual gene,’ nor were you born this way with no hope of freedom. You can be set free from the bondage of homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ and the cross!’”

If you believe its claims, gay men and women who apply the app can be tripping the light fantastic with members of the opposite sex after 60 days.

Its ad goes:

If your son does not like girls

Come and give our app a whirl.

If your daughter isn’t into boys

We’ll help her put down those Tonka toys.

Just kidding. But it might as well say that. The app isn’t harmless, Mirabella said. Some who have gone through gay or reparative therapy, he said “claim they felt personal harm and that the harm lingered.”

“The ultimate danger would be that they would kill themselves,” Mirabella said. “Several health organizations, like the American Psychiatric Association, have debunked these therapies.”

Really, though, you don’t need to be a shrink to imagine the psychic pain inflicted upon some already sexually conflicted young person who tries the app only to discover – as they likely will – that they are still gay. Or, as the case may be, straight.

Apps we really need

Besides, forget an app to stop people from being gay. As far as I can tell, they aren’t hurting anybody. There is, however, a need for apps to prevent behavior that should offend a civilized society.

For instance, how about an app to stop those grubby-fingered philistines who eat while standing in the buffet line at the Golden Corral, chewing and licking their gravy-stained fingers before grabbing the serving spoon and ladling on another heaping helping of sweet potato souffle?

Or how about one that zaps the mush-brained mouth-breathers who talk and text in the movie theater? I mean, one that really zaps ’em good.

Finally, couldn’t all humanity benefit from an app that stops people from wearing Crocs in public? As a fashion statement, it’s not working, yo.

Also not working is any app claiming to cure people from loving whom they want to love. There was, though – again, in the interest of full disclosure – a woman who, upon breaking up with me, thenceforth cast her lot with women.

That was probably just a coincidence, though. Right?

Claims to be able to free someone from “the bondage of homosexuality” strike sensible people as so much balderdash and snake oil. If, however, somebody can come up with an app to free me from this three-pack-a-day honey bun demon that’s got ahold of me – where do I sign? or 919-836-2811

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