CrossFit and Pride


Here are highlights from Dreher’s post:

I can understand why CrossFit did what it did. You can’t be a spokesman for a company and tweet out something that can be so damaging to the company’s brand. Berger had to make a choice between his job and his personal convictions, and though he had the choice made for him by his imprudence, I believe he wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The case that caused Berger to tweet is more troubling. The owner of the now-closed Indianapolis CrossFit gym did not want to host a Pride event, out of religious conviction. … Lots of staff quit the gym over this, and it had to close. Again: that is people’s right. The owner, apparently a Christian, has now lost his business (temporarily, one hopes) because of his faith stance. It did not involve the government, but the choice of his employees and customers not to associate with a Christian business owner who does things like this. It’s a free country.

However, don’t underestimate the power of this gesture. Gay activists and their supporters among the gym’s employees destroyed this Christian’s business, not because he wouldn’t allow gays to work out at the gym, but because he would not permit them to celebrate gay Pride there.

Dreher added in an update:

Let me make it clear again, since on evidence of the comments, some readers don’t understand. I think it was foolish for the CrossFit spokesman to tweet what he did, and I think that it was fair for the company, given its values, to fire him over that (even though I wish they had not). I support the right of the employees of this Indy CrossFit gym to quit in protest, and the right of customers to leave it in protest. It’s a free country. Whether they were morally right to do it is a separate question. It is an indisputable fact that the owner’s business was destroyed by the insta-boycott. Had he allowed the Pride workout, he would still have a business. He didn’t, and so he doesn’t. …

In a normal world, Christians on staff at a gym owned by an atheist could have scheduled, I dunno, an Easter Worship Workout (silly, yes, but so is a Pride workout). The atheist owner could say, “Wait a minute, I welcome your business, Christians, but hosting an event that celebrates your religion is too much for me. I believe that religion is a destructive force.” The Christians may be hurt by that, but they respect his beliefs, and realize that he is acting out of principle.

To act to force an atheist business owner to host a religious event that violated his deeply held principles ought to have been seen by those seeking to host that religious event as disrespectful and indeed as bullying, and an affront to the kind of virtues we need to live together in a pluralistic republic.

The CrossFit pride controversy again raises issues of whether small business owners (in this case a franchisee) who are traditionally conservative religious believers should be able to opt out of participating in LGBT rites and celebrations while otherwise welcoming LGBT customers.

Dreher’s position will displease both conservative Christians who are condemning the corporate executive’s firing, and Pride supporters who felt that the Indianapolis CrossFit was hostile to LGBT equality, as exemplified by refusing to host the Pride event.

13 Comments for “CrossFit and Pride”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    … conservative Christians who are condemning the corporate executive’s firing …

    I wonder whether the conservative Christians who are so loudly condemning Berger’s firing would condemn the firing of a spokesman for Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby or another company proudly trumpeting Christian religiosity, who publicly condemned conservative Christianity in some way or another. I somehow don’t think so.

    And I wonder if Dreher, himself a conservative Christian, would write a similar column in such circumstances, and whether the American Conservative would publish it if he did. I somehow don’t think Dreher would or that American Conservative would hawk the column.

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  2. posted by David Bauler on

    “But, but, conservatives are always right and the one true party and really neato.”

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  3. posted by Lori Heine on

    For kicks and giggles, sometimes I check out Dreher’s columns just to see if he manages to work the issue of “homosexuality” in there somewhere. He’s so obsessed with it that he nearly always does–even when his subject has no logical connection to it.

    What a glaringly obvious closet case. Hiding in plain sight has become an art form for him. The only people too stupid to see it are the whiny little cry-bully snowflakes who think he’s a sage.

    When he does write about something that actually has to do with “homosexuality,” it’s boring. Yawn. Here he goes again–on it like stink on a turd.

    Tormented souls like that serve as a powerful reminder of how liberating coming out of the closet really was.

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    • posted by Jason on

      What a mean-spirited response. Dreher offers a fair assessment that supports the executives’ firing but wishes that the LGBT community allow traditionally believing small business owners (and a franchise is a small business) to opt out of certain symbolic participation in LGBT rites and celebrations. Too much for Lori and the others, who can’t respond with an intelligent argument so hurl out their arsenal of invective and insults.

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      • posted by Lori Heine on

        If you weren’t so ignorant, selectively perceptive or whatever the hell your problem is, you would know that in comments on this website I have staunchly supported freedom of association, freedom of trade and the free market’s far superior ability to deal with the whole matter. As a libertarian writer, I have a proven track record of having also done so for an audience far larger than this.

        And no, I don’t care that you don’t know that. I’m simply pointing out that you’re too indifferent to the truth to find out before slandering people.

        But of course you’re on your own little trip, and need to try to prove whatever you’re trying to prove. Gay Patriot is gone, so you’ve got to overreact and misrepresent people on this site.

        Dreher’s homo-obsession has been noted by others besides me. He is unaccountably fascinated with the issue, and it’s natural for people to wonder why. I will comment on anything I damn well choose to comment on, no matter how many right-wing snowflakes cry about it.

        Granted, you have proved yourself unable to hold two separate ideas simultaneously in your mind. You’re a collectivist, so you clearly don’t see people as individuals. But I simultaneously (A) think people who refuse to serve same-sex couples are jerks who should go out of business and (B) support their right to make asses of themselves without suffering repercussions from government.

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  4. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Dreher offers a fair assessment that supports the executives’ firing but wishes that the LGBT community allow traditionally believing small business owners (and a franchise is a small business) to opt out of certain symbolic participation in LGBT rites and celebrations.

    Can you point us to a single instance of proposed legislation in which a religious exemption to public accommodations laws turns on the size of the exempted business, that is, exempts “small business” but doesn’t exempt “big business”? If you can, I’d like to know about it.

    I’m pretty sure that I’ve read every one of the hundred or so bills proposing a religious exemption to public accommodations laws that has been put enrolled since Obergefell. I am not aware of a single bill that limits the proposed exemption to business under a certain size.

    It isn’t an idle question.

    I’ve been proposing a “de minimus” solution for years, a solution similar to the one written into the federal public accommodations laws with respect to housing and the federal employment non-discrimination laws, both “small business” exemptions applying across the board and unrelated to religious objection.

    It seems a common sense solution, but it is an idea without traction. Conservative Christians seem to be hell bent on forcing the “religious objection” exemption without regard to the size of the business involved.

    So if you know of an case, point us to it. It may be the exception that proves the rule, but at least it will give some credence to your implication that conservative Christians are seeking a “small business” exemption rather than a blanket exemption for businesses of all sizes.

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  5. posted by JohnInCA on

    So to be clear… a baker makes it obvious that he doesn’t want gay customers, and y’all respond “why would a gay person *want* his cakes?”
    A gym owner makes it obvious that he doesn’t want gay customers or employees, and y’all respond “why are these mean gays leaving?”
    It’s a Catch-22. Unless we just shut-up and take it, y’all are going to complain.
    Also, I like that the author complains about folks with pro-gay views taking their business to companies that share those views, by suggesting that Christians respond by taking their business to companies who share their views.

    Reply
    • posted by JohnInCA on

      Note: I copy-pasted this comment from my response to the linked article without thinking that the “y’alls” are no longer appropriate when moved here. Please mentally adjust as necessary.

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      • posted by MR Bill on

        As a rural southerner, I got it the first time, y’all..

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        • posted by JohnInCA on

          Heh. Meant “no longer appropriate” as folks here aren’t expressing that view.

          I only go out of my way to avoid contractions when I’m writing professionally.

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  6. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Also, I like that the author complains about folks with pro-gay views taking their business to companies that share those views, by suggesting that Christians respond by taking their business to companies who share their views.

    I wonder if Dreher knows that conservative Christians have been doing just that — boycotting pro-equality companies like Target — for years. It sure doesn’t sound like it. Maybe he needs to get out more.

    I see nothing wrong with pocketbook voting. I try to avoid anti-equality companies like Hobby Lobby and support pro-equality companies like Target. I don’t have a problem with conservative Christians who chose to do the opposite.

    Dreher is more isolationist than the article suggests. Dreher has been hawking the “Benedict Option” (in which conservative Christians would withdraw from the mainstream, cultivating a more traditional way of life, for the sake of sheltering their faith and family from modernity and reversing the corruption that has crept into modern Christianity) for at least five years.

    I see nothing wrong with that, either. I come from a culture that has “lived apart” to one extent or another in order to preserve faith and culture, so I know the value of doing so.

    I think that the desire to “live apart” can be taken too far, but American culture is nothing to write home about. Most minority cultures and religions elect to “live apart” to one extent or another, and I think that is a good thing. The “melting pot” is overrated, deployed largely to enforce conformity with majority views.

    What counts for me is not that everyone lives according to mainstream culture and values, but that everyone has equal rights under the law.

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    • posted by JohnInCA on

      Sure. And if he were more congratulatory, about it†, rather then condemning of it, then he’d be consistent.

      But he sees gay folk (and allies) not supporting an anti-gay gym owner as a “bad thing” (even as he goes out of his way to say “that’s their right”) while saying that it would be a “good thing” if Christians should only support anti-gay gyms/book stores/etc..

      In short, he wants the benefits of in-culture isolation without the downsides.
      ________
      †”See guys? This is how you support folks that support you, rather then inadvertently supporting folks that would tear you down”.

      Reply
  7. posted by Jorge on

    In a normal world, Christians on staff at a gym owned by an atheist could have scheduled, I dunno, an Easter Worship Workout (silly, yes, but so is a Pride workout).

    …..

    Wait, that’s how *I* see the Christian vs. gay pride issue. Two incompatible religions can co-exist in the same workplace without trouble because they are only different in spiritual doctrine.

    But that’s not how either gay activists or Christians see the issue. They see the issue as a difference in ethical doctrine, and as such, allowing someone to engage in incompatible religious practices too far into one’s personal space becomes the same as condoning the spread of unethical conduct. And because both believe this about the other, these blowups continue to happen.

    I think that the desire to “live apart” can be taken too far, but American culture is nothing to write home about. Most minority cultures and religions elect to “live apart” to one extent or another, and I think that is a good thing. The “melting pot” is overrated, deployed largely to enforce conformity with majority views.

    I’ll have to remember this line of thinking the next time one of these stories come up. The “Patchwork Quilt” includes Christian fundamentalists in sharp suits who are servile to their husbands. Anyway, I happen to think there’s a lot of value in giving the pretense of conformity in public, to avoid notice, and then doing as one will in private.

    Reply

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