If you ‘live, move, and breathe in God’s world’ a warm welcome would have awaited you at CrossFit Infiltrate, an Indianapolis gym.
But on June 6 the gym’s Jesus-lovin’ management shut down its premises following a furious backlash that occurred after management cancelled a gay pride event.
A note left on the door by the management says they will “no longer operate” at the current location.
Several workers and members walked out of the gym last Wednesday after the gym’s owner, Brandon Lowe, sent an email out canceling a pride-themed workout.
Lowe’s email said the goal of the gym is total health and well-being of the individual and the community. It went on to say:
We believe that true health forever can only be found within humility – not pride. The gym has a history of welcoming and serving people training to be fit … The gym never has and never will be anything but welcoming to all human beings who live, move and breathe and God’s world.
CrossFit’s “Chief Knowledge Officer” Russell Berger, above, who doubles as a pastor at his local church, then tweeted that he had encouraged the gym’s to cancel the planned event, and thanked them for standing by their convictions and:
Refusing to celebrate sin.
This did not go down well with Crossfit CEO Greg Glassman, who has built a hugely successful gym empire consisting of some 13,000 affiliated facilities. He sacked Berger, whom he labelled a “zealot.”
The company said:
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.
A “stressed” Berger lost no time to play the “persecuted Christian” card.
Berger asked for his supporters to pray for him, and urged Christians to be prepared, because at any moment the social media “mob” could be turned on them.
I think it’s a really sobering and a disheartening example of where we are as a culture. Simply by expressing those views, which again have been pretty standard views for the historic Christian faith over thousands of years, that view is no longer tolerated and in fact it’s a view that’s so divisive and so intolerable that it’s the kind of thing you can’t say and expect to keep your job.
He wants people to know that he is not who the “mob” is making him out to be. He insists that:
Misrepresentation makes me a homophobic bigot who hates gay people and doesn’t want them involved in the CrossFit world. That’s so far from the truth. I love the people in the LGBTQ community and I want them to know Christ. That means being honest about the fact that we are all sinners and we need to not revel in our sin but turn from it, and trust in Him.
Berger isn’t backing down from his views, but did admit the comments were “imprudent” and “unwise” and put his employer in a difficult position.
Rumour has it that Berger is now looking for a new job to flipping burgers at a faith-based eatery.