A Christian has lost his job with a high-profile fitness company for speaking out online against celebrating homosexuality.
Russell Berger had previously been described as the Chief Knowledge Officer and spokesman for CrossFit, a fitness programme which earns over $4 billion in annual revenue and is used by over 11,000 gyms around the world.
The controversy started after Berger tweeted his support for the cancellation of a gay pride-themed workout at a CrossFit gym in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In now deleted tweets, he praised the local gym for “refusing to celebrate sin”, and said they should not give in to “bullying”.
“The intolerance of the LGBTQ ideology toward any alternative views is mind-blowing”, Berger added.
However, he was quickly suspended by the company, before being fired. The gym in question is now closed.
In a statement, CrossFit said Berger’s statements “do not reflect the views” of the company. “For this reason, his employment with CrossFit has been terminated.”
Twitter users have criticised CrossFit for showing “intolerance” against Berger for expressing his religious beliefs.
— Adam Sims (@adamleesims) June 7, 2018
CrossFit CEO and Founder Greg Glassman slammed Berger as a “zealot” and claimed that his views were “appalling.”
Following the backlash, Berger said he regretted putting the company in a difficult position but added that he used the word ‘sin’ because “that’s what God’s Word calls it”.
‘Need for Christ’
“As a Christian, I believe everyone, myself included, is guilty of breaking our moral obligations to God and deserves punishment.
“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.
“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.”
Commenting on the story, President of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins said, “surely, in a civil society, we can agree that everyone deserves to be treated with respect — regardless of what they think about sexuality”.