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back to article Apple bashes 'gay cure' app

Apple appears to have bowed to pressure from gay rights groups, and withdrawn a controversial "gay cure" app sponsored by Exodus International, an evangelical Christian group claiming to be "the world’s largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality". This followed a battle between competing petitions, …

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not surprising

So much for the high quality and strict control.

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Ok as long as

They remove all the apps slanted the "other way".

That would be "even handed"

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@ShaggyDoggy

I think you miss the point.

If it is decided that being anti-gay is discriminatory it does not follow that being pro-gay is also discriminatory. In fact, unless it is explicitly discriminatory against those who are not gay then it is necessarily not discriminatory.

Any apps that are discriminatory should be banned for being so, and this should be evaluated in isolation. That would really be "even handed".

You don't like the gays? Don't have gay sex with any of them. Simple as that.

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Joke

Sorry, what?

Are you saying that they should only be half in e(a)rnest?

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Cure-all

I don't think there are any apps claiming to cure the disease of unwanted heterosexuality. Perhaps someone can write an app to cure bigotry instead.

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Pirate

apps for curing heterosexuality?

Sure, it's called "Marriage", and causes an almost immediate cessation of heterosexual activity...

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Pint

RE: Pirate Dave

That app didn't work for Elton John

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Nor did it work

For Freddie Mercury.

Nor even Butters' dad in South Park.

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Not discrimination?

I guess I'll never know as I can't download it anymore. The debate has been stifled and all thinking has been returned to the one true path.

That's the problem. It's extremely easy to become like the thing you fight.

Was the app inciting violence or hatred? Who knows? I can't imagine Apple would have had any hesitation in pulling the app if that was the case, so I suspect it wasn't.

How can an iphone app be discriminatory? Is there a testosterone-measuring sensor which shuts your phone down if you don't have enough? Does it use the camera to take a picture of you and hurls insults if you have are male and have a handbag? Perhaps the motion sensor detects limp-wristed holding and plays an mp3 which yells "kick my owner!"

Since the app/viewpoint has been censored, I can't engage these people any more to discuss their views and try to show them the error of their ways. So what if an iphone app is a load of bunkam? Is that any different from thousands of others? What did you expect your mobile phone to be able to do for you?

You don't like "gay cures"? Don't download their app.

I don't fear the app, I fear the mentality that had it pulled. This is democracy (mob rule) at its worst. It's the equivalent of winning a war. You haven't proved you are in the right, only that you had bigger guns.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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@P.Lee

Having seen the screenshots, I'm not sure I'd go with "discriminatory", but maybe I missed something since I'm heterosexual.

It struck me more as being hugely misleading and questionably dangerous (based on anecdotal evidence of the damage their therapy has had on people).

I don't disagree with Apple removing the app since it did give a "homosexuality must be cured" message, which I find pretty sickening; in the same way I'd be against a "homosexuality is better for you" message.

Being the provider of a public forum gives you the responsibility to not encourage/allow extreme views (IMHO).

I think the extremity of their message might be where the "discrimination" aspect is coming from; not so much direct discrimination but espousing discrimination of their lifestyle.

And if you want to know their viewpoint, go to their website. I doubt these guys want to be engaged in discussion.

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What double standard?

No double standard here - Apple has simply made another principled stand: the principle of maximising their money making. Like all their competitors, they're very consistent: say and do anything to make more money. Can't have enough of that "printed green stuff" (whoops that's out of date. OK how about "numbers in a database in a bank that are made up out of thin air").

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Headmaster

Title? "Dr." or "Mrs." to you.

Eh... "Apple" is a big corp, this is one minion making a stupid decision; as fast as a marketing person is approached, it's "obviously this gotta go". So the "keep" decision isn't really an "apple" decision, more a $10/h vetter's blooper.

So it's a bit stupid to say that "apple keep this for revenue maximization" --- actually, removing it maximizes as keeping it pisses off more people, with more disposable income. So they do maximize (no wonder their stock sells so high, eh?), as they should, coincidentally doing the right thing here, which is nice.

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Boffin

Legally Required

Uh, Apple is a publicly traded company. They are legally required to maximise proffits over all other considerations. The only thing they are allowed to consider is what a particular action will do to their bottom line. Anything a public company does (even things that are pro-social seemingly at the expense of immediat proffit) must be with the reasonable expectation of eventual financial gain. That it the way it was set up in our civilisation's laws.

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Re: Legally Required

Precisely! (Legal) lying, (legal) cheating, (legal) stealing, generally being a (law-abiding) nasty piece of work - all of it is *legally required* of our companies. Don't you love our civilization?

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That bunch of half-witted creationists don't control America after all

Great stuff.

@Shaggy Dog: you mean there are apps out there to cure heterosexuality?

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Wow!

You got downvoted!

Somebody thinks that America *is* controlled by a bunch of half-witted creationists.

Now there's a Happy Thought for Friday.

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half-witted creationists?

Isn't that like "wet water" or "DAT Tapes"?

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make me gay ?

> They remove all the apps slanted the "other way".

would possession of an Apple product make me half way there already ?

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Joke

Depends which half you want

If it's also the half that involves washing occasionally, looking after your appearance, and surviving on something other than a diet of pizza and lager, you may discover that this is the half that women find so strangely appealing about gay men.

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Grenade

is it over though?

I notice a quick Google for Exodus International takes me to their homepage where they are now running a big campaign stating that they are in the right. Calling for people to contact Apple and ask them to re-instate the app.

Exodus International are only different to Uganda in that (as far as I know) Exodus International are not currently pushing for the death penalty for homosexuals. Otherwise they are just as dangerous.

I long for the day when religions are happy to be who they are without worrying about "converting" other people to their religion.

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Unethical, immoral, medically dangerous app

I'd read somewhere that a leading psychologist or somesuch said that no trained, certified, or accredited medical professional could or would are use this so-called cure app to even HELP a confused individual. If the medical profession won't touch it, and if Apple would just frackin' do some due diligence to find a consensus from various nations and looks for 12 professionals (3-gay, 3-straight, 3 neutral, 3 non-disclosing) who weigh in, and if they still find the legal and professional fortitude to reject the app as it is or what it claims, then Apple should use THAT as the "primary reason" to reject that app.

Apple, get off your ass and use some of your money to seek and be guided by professionals, not just your own internal staff of gurus pulling levers and chanting runes! Obviously, someone IN Apple must have been swayed by EI to even resist or prolong a takedown of the app. The app has had vigorous opposition and clearly Apple has some uber chic, fashionable, well-spending gay clientel. I wouldn't e surprised if despite as smaller numerical percentage by sexual orientation, non-heteros (not just gay, but gay friendly, undecided, and swingers, and those who avow to never be held by titles or cateries) spend a proportionalely large amount of money. Pissing them off might not cost Apple TOO much money nor even outright defections, but it would engender or foment irritation that could grow to painful levels if more "gay-cure" like apps or religion gripped the iTunes store or any other Apple property. Religions should not drive technology and products sales. If churches what their own electronic gizmo, they should go to the mega churches and ask for an R&D budget. Watch how fast even the clergy, fellowships, and other flocks refuse to threaten Apple. They'll mostly or all be waiting for the next upgrade... FROM APPLE, not from "god". God is later, but Apple is HERE, NOW. And many worship Steve and Tim more than they do their diety of choice.

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FAIL

The Doctor has a point....

For that reason, it seems not unreasonable to have removed the application. If the apparently misquoted content is removed, I don't see why they couldn't resubmit the application. I am against all censorship... "first they came for the fundamentalist christians..."

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Would that be . . .

. . The Russian Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox, the Coptics or one of the newer mobs like the Catholics?

Or do you mean the ones that promote 'Christianity or else your are dead'?

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@Barry O'Connell

It is not simply a matter of the misquoted content. This group are free to hold their view that "heterosexuality as God’s creative intent for humanity, and homosexual expression as outside of God’s will", but when they start talking about "curing" it, especially when that "cure" involves techniques which are akin to brainwashing and which have been linked with depression and suicides they have gone beyond reasonable Freedom of Expression.

As such Apple removing this App is not "censorship", it is them ensuring that the content that they allow is truthful and doesn't risk causing harm to others.

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Troll

lol

Who said you have freedom of speech on an iPhone?

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Big Brother

Reply to Graham, Elmur & P Zero

I don't believe there is a cure for homosexuality. Neither do I believe that I am in need of curing. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in and respect the right of others to hold contrary views. In the same way I expect the freedom to hold and publicly share my views; I am also willing to speak up for the same right to be extended to those with whom I disagree. I do this because I am aware that when people insert themselves as arbiters of what is reasonable to say in public, I am at risk of one day falling foul of those same thought police myself. Today, it might be the “fundamental Christians” (all of them Elmer, and then maybe the Muslims or people from other faiths or non-faiths) who are being censored, tomorrow it could be me on the basis of some unforeseen new received wisdom. If I don’t speak up now, how could I, in good conscience, expect anyone to speak up for me in future?

Colin Powell (afaik) once said that “Free speech is intended to protect the controversial and even outrageous word; and not just comforting platitudes too mundane to need protection.” I like that quote and I believe in its sentiment. I have the right to be offended but not the right to silence those who offend me.

Graham, I cannot concede to your point about reasonable freedom of expression because it is the road to tyranny. I am sure the leadership in China & Iran are quite comfortable allowing their people to have “reasonable” freedom of expression. We either have freedom of expression or we don’t. As soon as we start to qualify it, we have lost it. Who is to decide what is reasonable anyway? On this issue, perhaps it is black and white to you and maybe even to me but where do we draw the line and who polices that line. And then, who will police the police of that line?

I agree that reparative therapy has been shown to be damaging, but I believe we must engage in that debate rather than seek to silence it. If we are silencing it, it may look like we have something to hide (and this is certainly the line in some circles). We must win the argument of reason by engaging.

In today’s world, it is akin to heresy to suggest that homosexuality is curable. In the dark ages it was heresy to suggest the earth revolved around the sun. Do we want to take the approach of the church in the dark ages and simply suppress those we think are speaking dangerous nonsense? I thought we had moved on from that.

Of course, as P Zero says, this is all academic in the context of iOS. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue the debate.

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@Barry O'Connell

"We either have freedom of expression or we don’t. As soon as we start to qualify it, we have lost it. Who is to decide what is reasonable anyway?"

And the obvious answer to that is "Is it reasonable to yell 'FIRE!' in a crowded theatre"?

The Right of Freedom of Expression (which is one that I most certainly support and encourage) has to be balanced with the *Responsibility* to use that Right in a sensible and non-injurious way.

You can find many posts from me on these forums and elsewhere about the right of consenting adults to produce and view so-called Extreme Pornography, but you won't find any posts from me anywhere about the right of someone to produce child pornography (and just to forestall a possible response: drawings which are entirely fictitious are of course an entirely different matter)

So that is "qualifying" the Right of Freedom of Expression, but unless you would argue for the right to take photos of children in sexual situations (and I am sure you wouldn't), you must, ipso facto, agree that there *is* a line beyond which that Right has to be restricted.

As for your analogy that the idea of objecting to those who claim they can "cure homosexuality" is akin to the Church's objection to the Copernican System of Planetary Motion, I am sorry, but that is complete nonsense.

The former is not an "illness" and to claim this (by saying that it can be "cured") is to ignore not only a huge body of scientific fact, but also to do the same as in, in the latter case, where the Church chose to ignore or suppress or persecute the views (and scientific proofs) of anyone who looked objectively at the evidence.

Science has moved on from the attitude of "we don't like this, therefore it's wrong", it's just that some who hold to "faith" in defiance of facts are not able to do so.

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Paris Hilton

Wow

2 downvotes, probably more to come. You would have to be the most extremist of zealots to downvote Barry's eloquently presented post here. No, really.

Either that, or have an insanely developed sense of irony.

Well done commentards!

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Censorship? Say Wha..?

Presumably, Goat Jam, the downvotes were on account of the fact that the eloquently presented post was talking about free speech as opposed to Apple yanking an app out of their own self-governed store. I'm guessing that anyone inclined to do so can use their Apple device to browse to the website of Exodus International and read all about their antics there. I can't confirm this as I don't own one, but my Android phone can do it, so can both of my PCs, so I see no reason why an iPhone couldn't. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that their website is still there, merrily doing its information spreading thang. Unless I've been craftily transplanted,without my knowledge, into a universe where the only way, or even the easiest way, to get information is from an iPhone, via an app, the free speech angle kind of falls flat on its arse. And I don't think I have because I just looked up how to make a sponge cake, and I did it on my Nexus1. Which isn't an iPhone. Or an iPhone app.

Apple run an app store and can do what the hell they want with it (so long as they can blag that it's in the interest of shareholders), and they do that with aplomb. You can't get an app onto (into?) their store that roundly slags off Apple products, because it's their store for which they set the rules, and they don't seem to be claiming that it is a medium of free information which has no rules. This is similar, in fact, to the reason why Exodus International probably don't have posters on their walls talking about how perfectly natural being gay is: It just doesn't gel with their brand identity. The free information stuff, that's what t'interwebs are for. That's the same t'interwebs you can access from the iPhone using its browser (so, for those at the back, even if your only way of getting this information was via an iPhone, the information is still not censored on your iPhone; you can use the browser). The only difference is that now Apple (which is a company, not a library) doesn't have to associate itself with the information by virtue of it no longer supplying it through its store. Rocket Surgery this is not. So please, how in the name of all things wibbly is this anything at all to do with free speech? Sure, if Apple controlled all the information in the world and you could only read about stuff on an iPhone, via an app, and they started pulling apps, then we can have this debate. Or rather you can, I'd have shot myself in the face by that point.

The news here seems to be “Walled Garden known to have walls is found to have walls. Which we knew about. But while a bit annoying for some developers, we didn't consider the walls to be a Threat To The Foundation Of Civilisation. But now we do. Because it involves the argument that fundies have a right to hate on gays in any garden they damn well please. Walls or not”. Is that it? No?

I'm confused. I'm going to eat my cake.

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@ Graham & The Grinning Duck

You are right, there needs to be balance and responsibility. The example you give is clearly an incitement to cause a breach of the peace (at the least, I am no solicitor/policeman). Similarly, it is not acceptable to incite violence or (usually) riot (I say usually because I believe there may be times when inciting a popular uprising of the people against their government can be justified, even if illegal).

I too oppose laws banning extreme pornography made with consenting adults. I don’t however think it in any way incongruous with freedom of expression to favour the criminalisation of child pornography because that moves from the realms of personal expression to the physical and sexual abuse of another. In summary, I don’t think abusing a child (or indeed anyone) has anything to do with freedom of expression.

Exodus (or whatever they are called) is preaching their take on god and sexuality. Adults have the choice to listen and try their “medicine” if they choose. It may be damaging but we let adults do things that can be damaging to them all the time and I don’t think we should try to stop that. If this organisation was rounding people up and forcing them to be subjected to their “cure,” that would be an entirely different matter. You might argue that the adults who will voluntarily subject themselves to Exodus’ methods are vulnerable or that they are being exploited after years of indoctrination. Going back to the porn issue; there are plenty (not all, but definitely plenty) of people in the porn industry who are being exploited and are left very damaged by it. You, and I, are not calling for porn to be banned because, whether we agree or like it or not, adults are choosing to work in that industry. Similarly, adults should be allowed to hear what Exodus has to say and accept or reject it for themselves.

My analogy was not about the value of the content of any given argument but about our response. I am suggesting we should eschew the response of the church in the dark ages (silence the heretic) in our response to any idea with which we disagree (even if it is patent nonsense). As P. Lee suggests above, to show people how they are wrong, you have to let them speak and be heard. Some of the comments on this article suggest that all religious belief and/or behaviour should be criminalised; that’s where your argument leads – they are loonies they should be banned for the public good/health/sanity etc… I think that’s a slippery slope.

Grinning Duck – I am talking about freedom of speech/expression in the context of Graham’s first reply. I don’t think there is anything wrong with an article sparking a discussion that is wider in scope than original article. Of course Apple can do what they like with their walled garden. Their uber closed approach is something I detest about them – I am hopeful and personally believe that their model will not be the dominant mobile platform model in a few years time. Was the cake nice? I like cake (as anyone who saw a picture of me would very quickly figure out).

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@Barry O'Connell

"Some of the comments on this article suggest that all religious belief and/or behaviour should be criminalised; that’s where your argument leads – they are loonies they should be banned for the public good/health/sanity etc… I think that’s a slippery slope."

I'm sorry, but I disagree (and what others may be calling for is nothing to do with me and I don't necessarily agree with them either).

In any case, the "slippery slope" is actually the one that follows from your advocating that "We either have freedom of expression or we don’t. As soon as we start to qualify it, we have lost it. Who is to decide what is reasonable anyway?"

I am not advocating "silence the heretic" however I am pointing out that if your freedom to act is restricted by the expression "my freedom to swing my fists about ends at the tip of your nose" it is only because you have the Right to behave in whatever way you choose *provided* that it does not infringe on other's Right not to (for example) be punched in the face.

The Exodus group's App is not merely expressing a view, it is advocating a dangerous course of action ie that if you are gay you can be "cured" by their methods.

We have restrictions on "miracle cure" claims from advertisers for their products which is, by your argument, unacceptable, because it restricts their freedom of expression whereas I am simply arguing that unless such claims can be scientifically proven to be demonstrably correct, they should not be allowed to make them due to the harm that could follow.

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Joke

Curing homosexuality?

There's NO app for that :P

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Anonymous Coward

One would hope

that if you write a book called "Leaving Homosexuality" , then you must have had some experience in the matter. Am I right in thinking that since he writes so authoritatively on the matter he is, himself, homosexual, or has at some time been so?

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Offensive to large groups of people

That sounds like a pretty nebulous definition. Should we also ban apps that teach evolution because they're offensive to christian fundamentalists? What about bible apps which are offensive to muslims? What about first person shooters? What about a game like GTA Chinatown which simulates drug dealing? What about astrology / new age apps? etc.

I suppose it's Apple's own fault for putting itself in the position of arbiter of good taste. But its clear the rules exist in an arbitrary capacity to use when it suits them and ignore when it doesn't.

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And therein lies the problem.

By acting as the self-appointed Arbiter of Morality, as opposed to just deleting malware, Apple and its app store will always have this trouble. You can't cater to one special interest group without catering to them all, and by agreeing to censor you become a lot more liable for any objectionable content.

Same problem with national firewalls and other such hysterically child-contemplating ideas.

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Grenade

Obvious innit

There is such a thing as "deserved offence". For instance, it's OK to offend large numbers of people *when they are wrong* -- and they deserve to be offended *because* they are wrong.

Offending people who believe that urine is inflammable is perfectly OK. Likewise adults with imaginary friends .....

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Can't have it both ways

Just because of the implied freedom of expression, speach or option, that doesn't automatically insinuate freedom from being offended. I think it was stupid for Apple to buckle to anybody, regardless of how proper (or politically correct) it was.

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FAIL

"when they are wrong"

O'rly?

Who decides who is right and who is wrong? Or is everything black and white in your world?

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FAIL

Who decides?

Cold, hard mathematics decides who is right and who is wrong.

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Nebulous Definition

That "Nebulous Definition" is a cheesy, dubious weasel clause. Probably cooked up by their legal counsel on the spot. The LC team probably threw die in the corner while downing jello shot scrounging around for a legal phrase, laughing all the while.

Really, Apple, get off the weasel clauses and just have a category of: "proferring, purloining, or positing medical or psychological or psychiatric "help" in a manner, mode, or method that would not be supported by practicing psychological or psychiatric professionals"

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Curing Gay-ness?

Are we back in the 1950s?

Where's the bromide?

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Yay, go homosexualists!

Always nice to make the horrid fundies can their hate-filled bile and poison.

If anyone would like to then go on to marry the fsck out of each other in front of the Daily Mail's Melanie Philips, I would happily buy them a restorative drink after.

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RE: AC

The sad thing is that Melanie Phillips would actually turn up at your gay wedding if you invited her.

She'd also bring a camera crew along and write a hateful blog though.

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Joke

She isn't one of these women...

...who guys keep 'being gay' to get out of dating is she?

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Happy

Jehovah's Witnesses next - it'll mean we can sleep in Saturdays

In Toronto the Saturday morning lie-in was usually interrupted by the persistent ring of the door bell.

When answered the sleepless home owner would usually be greeted by a nubile wench, conservatively dressed of course, and wizened partner, of indiscriminate age and sex, preaching the benefits of Hubbard's wacky science.

The Witnesses could have an App written so only those who actually believed that drivel could receive the message whilst everyone else could lie in bed dreaming about nubile wenches!

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You're confusing the J-Dubz with Scientologists

Either way, whilst I do appreciate them giving up their weekends trying to save my sinful backside, I'm always reminded of one particular episode of the 'Johnny Nemo' cartoon

(Loud banging on door. Johnny opens it.)

"Are you ready to open your heart, to receive God ?"

"I wouldn't open my wallet, to receive money, at this bloody time of day !"

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Alert

Wasnt he Scientology

old Hubbard?

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Joke

If you answer the door in the nude...

...you soon get your address blacklisted from their visits.

(stay behind the screen door please, the neighbours don't need to see that!)

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Go

And from personal experience...

If you answer the door after a weekend of rabbit shooting, while in the act of skinning and gutting 155 rabbits, wearing a butcher's apron covered in blood and rabbit guts, carrying a dripping skinning knife, and inform them that this is the House of Satan, would they please mind not interrupting your Sabbath sacrifices, your address gets blacklisted *immediately* and you are never bothered by them again!

The subsequent visit from the police may necessitate some explaining, however...

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Happy

Hehehehe... Indiscriminate

"indiscriminate age and sex,", or "indeterminate age and sex,"

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