Update, March 29, 2019 (12:26 PM EST): Sent in a statement to CNBC earlier today, Google said it has removed the Living Hope Ministries app from the Google Play Store.
Google had the following to say about the removal of the app:
After consulting with external advocacy groups, reviewing our policies and ensuring that we had a good understanding of the app and its relationship with conversion therapy, we decided to remove it from the Play Store in accordance with other app stores.
The removal comes after Google was confronted with pressure from other groups. Civil Rights Organization Human Rights Campaign has abandoned Google's annual Corporate Equality Index, which looks at how well companies are performing when it comes to supporting LGBT employees.
A petition from Change.org received just over 140,000 signatures prior to Google's announcement.
Original article, January 16, 2019 (11:44 AM EST): A controversial mobile application used as a tool for homosexual conversion has recently been removed from the Apple App Store and Amazon App Store. However, the app is still active in the Google Play Store and that does not fit well with the activist group that insisted on removal of the app.
The Living Hope Ministries app is a collection of audio and video recordings of Bible verses, devotionals and other Christian teachings. However, the establishment of Living Hope Ministries is primarily focused on gay conversion therapy, that is, trying to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual through psychological or spiritual interventions.
LGBT rights organization Truth Wins Out started petitions to remove the app from the various online stores. According to the app, the petitions helped the Apple & # 39; s and Amazon platform down Newsweek. However, the Play Store list is still active from the moment this article is published.
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, said Living Hope Ministries "is trying to plunder the LGBT youth with a fraudulent product. No one can change from gay to straight. They sell snake oil. & # 39;
According to multiple studies from prestigious organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and countless universities around the world, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and there is no way to "convert" someone from gay to heterosexual. In addition, gay conversion therapy is often described as cruel and associated with drug abuse and suicide.
There is no credible scientific evidence to support homosexuality is a mental disorder, nor that it can be cured & # 39 ;.
Ricky Chelette, the executive director of Living Hope Ministries, defends the application. "I assume that people who are gay-identified and happy don't look at our app first," he said. "There are a lot of pro-gay apps. We love gay-identified people, we're just here to help those who don't want to be gay."
Chelette points out that the app explicitly informs users that the advice it contains is not a substitute for medical care.
Living Hope Ministries describes itself as "a non-profit, non-denominational, 501 (c) 3 organization whose mission is to proclaim God's truth while traveling with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ . "
Google has yet to release a statement about the issue.
NEXT: Google shareholders file a lawsuit for issuing sexual misconduct