Russell Berger, the former CrossFit exec who lost his job after tweeting that celebrating pride is sin, recently gave his side of the story in a lengthy interview on Apologia Radio.
It becomes immediately clear during the interview that Berger is a very intelligent person who has pondered the situation he’s in from all sides. A non-staff pastor at his local church, Berger gave a very balanced, well-thought out response to what has been an emotional week.
He’s asked for prayers for all the “stress” this has put on his family.
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.
Listen to Berger’s response on Apologia Radio HERE (begins at the 28:45 mark).
“I think my comments were imprudent, and I think that it was unwise for me to use the platform that I have and largely use to act as a spokesperson for CrossFit Inc, to express my personal views,” Berger explained. “I put my company in a position that I wish I hadn’t. I put them in a position where they felt they had to weigh in on something that they otherwise wouldn’t have and I regret that. I think it distracts them from their mission and takes away time and energy and resources from making people fitter and healthier which is what they should be doing. I regret that,” he said.
While Berger expressed regret for the fallout after the tweets, which came from his personal Twitter account, he still stands firm on his “orthodox Christian views” that have been around for thousands of years. He also says he’s not asking for “the state to come in and control speech,” but rather wanted to raise awareness to where we are as a culture when it comes to freedom of expression.
“I think it’s a really sobering and a disheartening example of where we are as a culture,” Berger said to Durbin. “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.”
Berger urged Christians to be prepared, because at any moment the social media “mob” could be turned on you.
“It’s a really powerful and important lesson that all Christians should be aware of. This is a very common and very effective strategy that’s being employed by a certain segment of the LGBTQ community in terms of basically silencing any view that disagrees with their beliefs,” he warned. “You just need to be aware of that and be prepared for that should you make the decision to weigh in on a subject like I did. You have to understand that the pressure will be applied to you, but it will also be applied to your employer, it will also be applied to your family members, it will be applied anywhere where those who are outraged by what you said think they can harm you. And that’s just the reality of the situation unfortunately.”
Berger has received a huge outpouring of support, including job offers, prayers, help covering health insurance for his family, and more. He also said CrossFit has been very “generous” and didn’t want to gloss over that fact.
“To be fair, my company in having to terminate me is doing a good job in trying to take care of my family. They’re being really charitable in that. I want to recognize that and give them credit for that and be grateful for that,” Berger said.
Berger went on to explain that this issue (LGBTQ) isn’t the “hill” he wants to die on, and he was merely reacting to the situation he saw, not trying to push an agenda.
“So often we hear as Christians the complaint that, ‘Well, you guys just cherry pick and focus on homosexuality and gender ideology and you’re not acknowledging adultery or pornography use or anything of that nature. That’s simply not true. The really distinct difference here is that there are not weeks and months of events dedicated to adultery and pornography. And it’s not being something we have to accept as a normative feature of culture,” he stated.
Berger explained that sin is the issue — all forms of it, not just one in particular. He also explained that we all sin, not just gay people.
“I say pride is a sin fully aware that I am guilty of the sin of pride probably multiple times a day. the key is I don’t celebrate it and I trust in christ to deliver me of that sin and forgive it. and that’s really impossible when you don’t recognize the things you (need to be) forgiven of as a sin to begin with.”
Berger wanted people to know that he is not who the “mob” is painting him out to be.
“The misrepresentation is that that 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,” he said.
He expressed thanks for the support that has come in from around the globe, and asked for prayers about what comes next. He said he’s been considering going into ministry full-time for a while now, and this could be the catalyst.
The full interview is worth a listen, as it truly sheds light into who Berger is – something most won’t bother to consider before they read a salacious headline and spread it around the internet.
The interview on Apologia starts at the 28:45 mark. Listen by following the link HERE.