"To those who are different and considered bad by society, He has reached out" : Pastor Annika Laats' queer theology in Estonian daily newspapers

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Title: "To those who are different and considered bad by society, He has reached out" : Pastor Annika Laats' queer theology in Estonian daily newspapers
Author: Leiviskä, Oona
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202111234078
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Sukupuolentutkimuksen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Gender Studies
Magisterprogrammet i genusvetenskap
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: In this master’s thesis, I study Estonian pastor Annika Laats’ argumentation in favor of sexual minorities and their right to register their partnerships. I compare Laats’ comments to Patrick S. Cheng’s three definitions of queer theology and my main research question is: How can Annika Laats’ views on LGBT rights and Registered Partnership Act be interpreted through the concept of queer theology? With the research question and the comparison, my aim is to define Annika Laats’ queer theology. Theoretical background of this thesis relies on queer theology. Queer theology questions several doctrines, norms and traditions of Christianity and seeks to observe religion in a new, complex way. Contextuality is at its core. Because of this, I am comparing Annika Laats’ queer theology to Evangelical Lutheran queer theology and my thesis presents one example of Estonian queer theology of 2010s and 2020s. As research material of this thesis, I am using newspaper articles published in four main Estonian national newspapers from October 5th 2017 to December 23rd 2020. Since Estonia is statistically very secular and homophobic country, giving pastor Annika Laats media space was not at all obvious. That makes Estonian national newspapers an interesting research material for this thesis. The method of my thesis is thematic analysis. However, instead of searching, defining and naming the themes for the analysis, I use already existing themes of Patrick S. Cheng’s three definitions of queer theology. Annika Laats’ comments and theology in Estonian newspapers fit to Patrick S. Cheng’s all three definitions. She bases her comments on theology and her personal experiences as a pastor. She also evaluates Christianity from a queer point of view. In her critique of norms, Annika Laats’ comments are connected to the themes of gender studies and queer theory. Annika Laats is not acquainted with queer theology, but I read her comments supporting LGBT rights and Registered Partnership Act from queer theological point of view. In this way, several queer theological features can be found. With these findings, I rely on queer theology’s unruly idea that Christianity itself is undeniably queer, and claim that there are always queer theological features in defending minorities from a Christian perspective.
Subject: Gender studies
Queer theology
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Annika Laats

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