About this project
“Taking A Chance on God” is a documentary film that tells the story of 85 year old John McNeill, gay priest and pioneering advocate for human rights. With fellow Jesuit Dan Berrigan, McNeill was a herald for peace during the Vietnam war. After the Stonewall riots of June 1969, he became a voice of liberation for LGBT people. Later, he co-founded the gay and lesbian Catholic group Dignity NY. In 1976 he published the groundbreaking book The Church and the Homosexual and his “coming out” on the Today Show shortly after was historic. In the 1980’s McNeill proclaimed hope for the gay community in the face of despair during the AIDS crisis. But he faced a harsh backlash from the religious establishment who tried to suppress his views. McNeill was silenced by Church authorities and in 1987 was expelled from his Jesuit Community because of disobedience. "In good conscience" he wrote he could no longer comply with the imposed silence in the face of the October 1986 “Letter on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” which defined homosexuality as “an objective disorder” and “a more or less tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”
Unrelenting, John McNeill continues to proclaim gay love as holy, challenges homophobia and continues to advocate for reform of Roman Catholic teaching on sexuality. He persists in the struggle for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons around the world.
Right now we are almost done editing the film. But we are in urgent need of finishing funds to pay for original music score , news footage rights, graphic design, audio cleanup, and color correction. We hope raise the needed $35,000 by the month's end! And it is a race against the clock as we have just been invited to present a special screening in Rome during Euro Pride 2011 on June 10th. Euro Pride is an international event drawing thousands from around the world. We see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to establish the importance of this seminal figure in the battle for the rights of homosexuals. Please help complete this film telling the story of a very powerful pioneer of LGBT liberation. Help bring John McNeill’s inspirational message of hope to screens across the world.
Brendan Fay : Director, Producer.
Dan Messina : Editor
Ilene Cutler : Associate Editor
Peter Wetzler: Composer
Jesus Lebron: Web design
Will Wade-Pentel : Intern
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