Corona, California - An evangelical Christian school in Corona is causing controversy after it fired at least 11 of its employees, including four teachers, because their belief systems were not in line with the new pastor's doctrine.
The Crossroads Christian Church school had formerly employed people of various Christian faiths, including Roman Catholic teacher Mary Montoya, who taught at the school for nine years before being fired for her beliefs.
"They were making a mockery of other people and religions. And this went for the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Catholics and they were very demeaning," she said.
The church recently came under the influence of Pastor Chuck Booher, who made promises to make the school "100 percent Christian," and bring the staff within the bounds of his "born-again" beliefs - or let them go.
"When Chuck first came in, he wanted to bring the church and the school together, which at first I thought was a great thing," said Montoya.
But soon he was requiring that all the staff conform to his own practice of Christianity, including baptism by immersion, a form of baptism in which the participant is submerged under water. He had a list of such demands he called "Level 4 Living."
"I told them I did not agree with everything on the Level 4 living," said Montoya. They then told her she wouldn't have a position with them next year.
This newly rigid attitude is worrisome to parents like Robin Rezner, who pulled her child out of the school because it had changed so drastically from the more tolerant place she had once known.
"That's part of why we were comfortable there. We knew there were teachers with many different faiths so that was a comfort to us that they obviously didn't have a doctrine that was so specific and condemning that there is now."
Pastor Booher was contacted for comment but was not available.