HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A CrossFit legal researcher who supported an Indianapolis CrossFit owner’s decision to cancel a homosexual pride workout has been fired for expressing on his personal Twitter page that celebrating pride is a sin against God.
According to reports, trainers for CrossFit Infiltrate had planned a workout to coincide with this month’s Indy Pride parade in the streets of Indianapolis. However, when owner Brandon Lowe learned of the corresponding pride workout at the facility, he cancelled it.
Manager Johnnie Martin soon sent out an email from ownership explaining the cancellation, which stated in general—without mentioning homosexuality—that it is the belief of CrossFit Infiltrate that pride of any kind is not beneficial to a person’s well-being.
“We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility, not pride. Humility is seeing oneself as they truly are, and as God truly defines them to be. As a business, we will choose to deploy our resources towards those efforts and causes that line up with our own values and beliefs,” the email read in part.
The decision soon made homosexual advocates upset, including pride workout organizer Ryan Nix, who said that a number of employees, including the manager of the gym, consequently decided to quit.
“Please tell your friends not to join this place,” he also wrote.
Russell Berger of Huntsville, Alabama, the now-former legal researcher for CrossFit, personally weighed in on the situation on Twitter, thanking CrossFit Infiltrate for living out their biblical beliefs. He lamented that there is a lack of tolerance for any disagreement on the issue of homosexuality.
“As someone who personally believes celebrating ‘pride’ is a sin, I’d like to personally encourage #CrossFitInfiltrate for standing by their convictions and refusing to host an @indypride workout,” Berger wrote, according to screenshots of the now-deleted tweet. “The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing.”
“The tactics of some in the LGBTQ movement toward dissent is an existential threat to freedom of expression. The lack of tolerance for disagreement, which has been replaced with bullying Twitter mobs promising ‘consequences,’ should be a concern regardless of your political stance,” he also opined, facing uproar from some.
“The statements made today by Russell Berger do not reflect the views of CrossFit Inc. For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated,” it said.
Some spoke out against the firing, noting the irony of the situation—that after speaking against intolerance, he himself was shown intolerance.
“@CrossFit this is very disappointing. @BergerRussell expressed his personal religious beliefs on his personal account. This reaction is what true #intolerance looks like,” one commenter wrote. “… @CrossFit has long claimed inclusiveness and tolerance for all, but [they] fire someone for an unpopular conviction. They are therefore intolerant.”
“So just to be very clear, here: If I do not believe men taking female hormones and chemically castrating themselves is something to be celebrated, I am not welcome at CrossFit. That’s the company’s current position—is that correct?” another asked.
Berger is standing by his remarks, sharing the gospel in his comments to the Washington Post on Thursday.
“As a Christian, I believe everyone, myself included, is guilty of breaking our moral obligations to God and deserves punishment,” he outlined. “But by turning from our sin and trusting fully in Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven and reconciled to our Creator.”
“I love those who the LGBTQ community represents, and want them to know Christ, and reveling in sin is a heartbreaking obstacle to that,” Berger continued. “I use the word ‘sin’ to describe pride events, and the sexual lifestyles associated with them, because that’s what God’s word calls it, and I believe that God’s word is true.”
He said despite the views of modern man, it is most hateful to tell a person that their sin is just fine, allowing them to face the judgment of God without warning.
“[T]he same theology that leads me to this view leads me to the knowledge that all humans are created in God’s image, and are therefore inherently valuable and deserve to hear this offer of God’s grace,” he outlined. “From the Christian perspective, the most hateful thing I could do for someone would be to lie to him or her about sin and our need for Christ, as unpopular as this may be in our culture today.”
One man who was among the few preaching the gospel at Indy Pride over the weekend posted photos of the event to social media, and noted that the gathering included “women walking around with no shirt on,” “men wearing [only] underwear (speedos), gyrating around, and grinding with other men,” and drag queens “dressed in demonic looking outfits.” One photo featured two individuals dressed up as reproductive organs.
He added, “My heart broke the most, while observing many young children at the parade. We are talking hundreds, if not thousands of children 10 and younger.”