Apple has removed their iTunes store from the “Christan Values Network” (CVN) after more than 22,000 people signed a petition on Change.org asking the technology company to stop allowing the funding of anti-gay organizations such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
CVN, which operates the online shopping site CVG.org, raises money for various religious groups through product purchases at over 600 participating companies — which, until now, included Apple. When customers make purchases through CVN, a donation is made to the charity of the customer’s choice.
A few of the groups are certainly controversial. For instance, the founder of Abiding Truth Ministries, Scott Lively, wrote a book titled “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,” which attempts to link homosexuality with extreme militarism in the Nazi party, and the Family Research Council actively lobbies against LGBT rights and advocates a one-year waiting period before a married couple with children can legally divorce (excepting domestic abuse).
Their inclusion in CVN’s network prompted student (and apparent Apple enthusiast) Ben Crowther to launch a campaign through Change.org, petitioning CVN business participants to “Stop Supporting Anti-Gay Hate Groups.” The petition asks CVN to “remove the five listed hate groups from their website,” claiming they’re “discriminatory and encourage violence against LGBT people, all while promoting their bigoted missions in the name of religion.”
The Apple campaign followed Microsoft’s decision to leave CVN two weeks ago, prompted by another customer-driven campaign on Change.org. Several other companies have removed their online stores since then, including REI, Macy’s, Delta Airlines, BBC America, and Wells Fargo.
“From the beginning, I knew that once this issue was brought to Apple’s attention, they would not want to be a part of CVN because it funds anti-gay hate groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council,” said Crowther. “Apple is a fair-minded business. I’m glad this petition helped make Apple aware of this issue, and I am thrilled that they removed iTunes from CVN.”
Among the groups using the Christian Values Network to raise money are Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Summit Ministries, Abiding Truth Ministries, and the Liberty Counsel. Each organization has been identified as an anti-gay “hate group” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Focus on the Family has described being gay as “a particularly evil lie of Satan.”
The Family Research Council is formerly a part of Focus on the Family, and has been identified as a known “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Family Research Council spokesperson and board member Peter Sprigg said he believes that “gay behavior” should be criminalized.