A radio ad campaign has been launched criticizing Catholic officials in New Jersey for suspending and possibly terminating a tenured Catholic school religion teacher who posted on Facebook about how gay activists want to "reengineer" western civilizations into "a slow extinction."
After Immaculata High School religion teacher Patricia Jannuzzi posted about her disgust with the LGBT agenda and asserted her belief that healthy families come from ones that consist of a mother and a father, celebrity alumni from the school voiced their opposition to the post, as well as other celebrities like Susan Sarandon. The celebrity spotlight drew national attention at an alumni petition asking the school to take disciplinary action against Jannuzzi.
Two weeks ago, the school placed the 57-year-old Jannuzi, who has taught for over 30 years, on administrative leave, with pay, and her lawyer is claiming that the school's legal team has indicated that she is likely to be terminated by August.
The Lepanto Institute, which is a Virginia-based organization dedicated to the defense of Catholic Church, began airing a national radio ad on Tuesday attacking Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Diocese of Metuchen, over the Diocese's decision to punish Jannuzzi for voicing her concerns about gay activism.
According to MyCentralJersey.com, the ad aired during the radio timeslots of popular conservative commentator Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh on New York's WOR 710 radio station.
"Call Bishop Bootkoski now," the ad states. "Ask him whose side he's on: Catholics who defend our faith or Hollywood liberals who mock it."
In the Facebook post that got her into trouble, Jannuzzi lambasted gay activists.
"See this is the agenda…one minute they argue that they are born this way and it is not a choice to get 14th amendment rights equal protection…bologna…which was carved for permanent characteristics, unchangeable characteristics such as race and disability…but once they in the 14th amendment they will argue everyone should be able to choose being the gay or lesbian lifestyle," the post states. "[I]n other words they want to reengineer western civ into a slow extinction. We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!!!!"
After being placed on leave, Jannuzzi's family started an online fundraising page suggesting that she would be terminated come the new school year and that they were looking to get over $100,000 for support.
"My mother was informed by her lawyer that she will be on administrative leave receiving salary and benefits until August, but will not be rehired to teach this September 2015," the fundraising site read. "Our fears have been confirmed! Any contribution is welcome. God Bless! Please forward this!"
Last Friday, Bootkoski issued a statement where he stated that although he was disappointed in Januzzi's comment, she had not yet been terminated.
"The teacher's comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church's teachings of acceptance," Bootkoski said. "However, she has never been terminated, as some media outlets have reported. She has been put on administrative leave. There has been no interruption in her pay and benefits. We regret that certain individuals and groups are using inaccurate media reports to push their own agendas."
On Monday, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Metuchen issued a statement clarifying that no decision was made in regards to Jannuzzi's employment in the fall, or any other teacher.
"We are baffled and disappointed that there has been a website soliciting funds that is filled with misinformation," the statement reads and assured that "decisions for all teaching positions for the 2015-2016 academic year are made later in the spring."
Jannuzzi's family followed up by posting to the fundraising page saying that they were no longer accepting donations and that the "latest announcement from the diocese suggests that we may have been misinformed about their decision to terminate her in August."
However, email interaction between Jannuzzi's lawyer, the school and its lawyers, suggest that an agreement regarding Jannuzzi's termination in the fall has been reached.
Jannuzzi's lawyer, David Oakley, told MyCentralJersey.com that the Diocese's claim that a decision regarding her termination has not yet been made was bogus.
"Something is baffling here, clearly, but not why the Jannuzzi family believed Patricia Jannuzzi had been fired," Oakley said. "At every point in our discussions the diocesan lawyers told us repeatedly there was no way that Patricia Jannuzzi would ever come back to the Immaculata classroom under any possible scenario. On Thursday by phone, the diocesan lawyers told me clearly and finally that Patricia Jannuzzi would be terminated as of the end of August, end of discussion."