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Apple continues to decide what content is morally acceptable for its iPhone users, rejecting a Jesus-themed app titled "Me So Holy".  (Source: Benjamin Kahle)
Apple is happy to guide its users' moral decisions

Developer Benjamin Kahle wanted to give iPhone app fans their own personal Jesus with his new "Me So Holy" iPhone app (follow the link to see video of the app).  However, Mr. Kahle found out the hard way that Apple tightly controls what it content it considers moral enough for its iPhone customers.  Continuing the saga of rejected apps -- which include a South Park app and the "Baby Shaker" app -- the new Jesus-themed app has now become the latest Apple reject.

The "Me So Holy" app arguably gives users a humorous introduction to the world's religions.  It features various religious figures, including Jesus, and allows iPhone users to take their own picture, crop it, and put it in place of Jesus and company's faces.  Apple quickly rejected the app, informing Mr. Khale that it was "objectionable".

Apple wrote, "Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Mr. Khale protested the move and Apple's censorship, stating, "Our question is, is religion really to be placed in the same category as these violent apps? Sex, urine, and defecation don't seem to be off-limits, yet a totally non-violent, religion-based app is."

However, not even Mr. Khale's protest could save this app, which has headed straight to Apple rejection purgatory.  Perhaps not all is lost as Apple previously had rejected a profanity-containing app update from Nine Inch Nails' chief Trent Reznor, only to turn around and accept it.

Before "Me So Holy", Mr. Khale authored the app "Animalizer", which surprisingly is much less offensive than his current app.  "Animalizer" featured a similar theme -- users take their picture, crop it, and place it on various animal body.  Both apps also allow users to insert their own caption in cartoon-esque text blobs.

Aside from the disappointment of Mr. Khale, the story of "Me So Holy" serves to highlight Apple's unusual stand with the App store.  In a time when retail stores have become increasingly accepting of adult-themed material, and even Apple's own iTunes features a great deal of adult content, Apple has chosen the iPhone as the platform for its moral stand.  While at times contradictory, its rejections and policies send a clear message to users -- Apple will decide what content is moral enough for them.

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RE: Freedom of Speech?
By suppressex on 5/12/2009 1:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think a lot of people are disgruntled about the PRINCIPLE of the issue, since the PERCEPTION is that the process is somewhat arbitrary. At least right now, there is still no way to know for sure if Apple will reject your app until AFTER you put a great deal of effort (and maybe some money) into creating and submitting it. And of course this particular app is silly and pointless, however that is not the case for all of the apps rejected by Apple.

Having said that, I am in complete agreement with you that developing apps for the iPhone and submitting / profiting from them is a privilege and not a right.

Keep in mind that Apple also takes a cut of the profits from apps sold. If no one would sue, they would stand to make the most profit from having as many apps as possible in the app store. Rejecting apps only makes sense on the grounds that they stand to lose more than they gain by their inclusion in the app store. For those complaining about Apple's rejection policies, kindly direct some of your animosity toward the people who would sue or boycott Apple products over an app that "offended" them.

RE: Freedom of Speech?
By DSaba10 on 5/12/2009 4:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
Well first off let me thank you for a great response. You never know sometimes what you'll get. Let me apologize if I start rambling though!

In regards then to those that would sue, perhaps it's just a fine line to walk. I guess I would have to do a little more research on the whole thing. I've seen many articles of Apple rejecting apps that don't really do a whole lot. I guess what I don't know is if Apple provides any further detail aside from their usual blip about why an app was rejected. What is the process that these apps go through?

For this particular app, I could go either way. I am a Christian, but this doesn't really offend me. One could take it as "We are all created in God's image", so posting my face upon Jesus wouldn't be all that terrible. Me personally, I just wouldn't buy the thing. Though I tend to be a bit more liberal in my beliefs. I'm sure there are some others out there that would find it sacrilegious.

I've worked/volunteered in places of this sort before where ultimately it was my discretion as to what types of materials made it through to everyone there, but I made sure to spell out the rules, and only had minimal complaints.

I guess I just never understood the mentality of why someone would sue over one of these applications, hence my animosity against these types of articles.

RE: Freedom of Speech?
By tmouse on 5/13/2009 7:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'm certainly not an Apple fan but I think Apple believes (right or wrong) that these rejected apps would lead to lost sales or even entire lost markets. In the case of the recent turn arounds I'm sure the public outcry gave them the impression that the rejection would, in fact, lead to more losses so they reversed themselves. I do not believe Apple is promoting some form of moral guidance, just looking out for their own financial backsides. Obviously they will be wrong sometimes so I guess if enough people requested this app they could reverse the decision, but I doubt they will (I can see all Apple products being banned from countries with strong religious control like the middle east as an example). I just do not see a group at Apple talking about the moral values of an app, but I can see a group thinking would this P-off a significant market group? The animosity should be directed at Apple, anyone has a right to boycott anything that offends them, Apple is making a marketing decision here (would the revenue gained from their percentage of the app sales be balanced by potential loses in sales of other Apple products). As far as censorship fears go most companies know that, by and large, unless they get caught being slavers or something these cries will not really translate into many lost sales. Everyone knows they are "censoring" their catalogue and they can be viewed as hypocrites from profiting from similar or worse products they do sell, but that is having no real effect on I-pod sales.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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