This hardly seems fair, though it in no way surprises me. Christians in particular often express feelings of discrimination or persecution, which in some cases is valid, but it seems that often they're discriminating and persecuting one another.
Differences in religious belief and biblical interpretation have led a Corona Christian school to dismiss four teachers and seven other employees.It's clear that this guy is alluding to some issue where the kids are being taught things that go against the beliefs of the church. So, how many complaints to that end have their been?
The move spurred some parents to pull their children out of the school and others to defend what they see as a move to protect their kids from spiritually harmful influences.
Most of the fired employees belong to the Catholic Church, which has key teachings that conflict with those of the conservative evangelical Crossroads Christian Schools and the adjacent Crossroads Christian Church, which with about 8,000 members is among the Inland area's largest churches.
Last year, the preschool-through-ninth-grade school -- the school is adding 10th grade this year -- came under the umbrella of the church after about a decade of autonomy. That spurred a closer evaluation of the religious beliefs of the now-dismissed employees, who had been with the school for as long as 22 years, said Beth Frobisher, superintendent of the 583-pupil school.
"How can the school be a ministry of the church if what is spoken and taught into the hearts of the children isn't consistent with what is taught in the church?" Frobisher asked.
Long [executive pastor of the church] said he had never heard of any complaints of Catholic or other non-evangelical beliefs being introduced into the classroom.
Well, if that's true, it begs the question - is this apparent religious discrimination legal? It would seem that isn't too clear either.
Experts disagree on whether the dismissals were legal. Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, said federal and state law prohibit religious-belief requirements in schools, even if, as at Crossroads, religion is infused throughout the entire curricula. The only exception is religious-education classes.So I guess my next question is, why did they hire Catholics in the first place? Why is this coming up now?
"They can specify they have to teach the subjects in a certain way," Chemerinsky said. "But they cannot discriminate in employment based upon religion. But Thomas Cathey, director of legal/legislative issues for the Colorado-based Association of Christian Schools International, to which Crossroads belongs, said the school falls under a religious-institution exemption in federal law and has a right to hire and fire employees whose religious beliefs aren't in sync with its own.
When hired, employees signed a "statement of faith" that summarizes Crossroads' beliefs. Several fired employees said they saw nothing in the statement they disagreed with. But Crossroads believes that the employees "weren't living out" the statement, Booher said.Admittedly, religious groups opting to go backwards seems to be a pretty typical theme.
The church opened the school in 1979. About 10 years ago, the school became independent of the church. The school did not strictly enforce its rules on employees' religious beliefs and practices until the 2009-10 academic year, after it became a ministry of the church.
"We decided, 'Let's get back to what we always said we believed in,' " said the Rev. Mike Long, executive pastor of the church.
Booher and Long arrived at Crossroads in 2007. Frobisher became superintendent a year later.But Ms. Fitzgerald, it looks like you might be able to get your job back yet -
In summer 2009, 12 of about 140 employees were deemed to not be aligned with the statement of faith and Crossroads' teachings. Four were teachers. Others held positions such as teacher aide, after-school playground supervisor and accounting employee.
Employees were first told in August 2009 of the school's closer relationship with the church and a requirement that they attend a "Bible-believing church."
Some employees were unclear about what the new rules meant, and early this year, church and school leaders held meetings that discussed the requirements more explicitly, including a definition of a Bible-believing church as a born-again, Protestant evangelical church. Most employees were allowed to finish the school year.
Former kindergarten teacher Sue Fitzgerald, 55, said she suspected in August that church and school officials were planning to dismiss her and other Catholic employees but she hoped they would eventually change their minds because of her 14 years there. She realized at a January meeting that she would lose her job, she said.
Fitzgerald and other fired employees say they're having a tough time finding new positions. Fitzgerald said she had planned to work at Crossroads until she retired.
"I just loved the sense of family, or what I thought was family," she said.
One teacher who had been raised Lutheran was rehired for the new school year after she underwent a full-immersion baptism, Long said. She now attends Crossroads.
The message this school is sending seems clear - we no longer want diversity of thought. We want our brand of Christan. Considering their brand of Christan seems to be the kind that can rationalize firing a 14 years employed, 55 year old employee at a time when unemployment in incredibly high, I'd be interested to see exactly what Christ these people have decided to worship and emulate.
I'd love to ask the people who run this school how they feel being a minority religious belief. I guarantee, in that case, suddenly those Catholics would be perfectly Christian enough to count.