Estonia: Pastor: Reclaim Church's Role as Healer of Divisions

27/03/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from ERR: http://news.err.ee/Society/1b8e6e30-6170-405d-88b4-21738e1f9b91

A pastor with an Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church congregation has called on the church, apropos of gay marriage, to return to its social roots and not merely defend traditions.

Annika Laats of Risti congregation, speaking on a panel on an ETV show, said that just as Jesus reached out to social outcasts and preached reform rather than the following of tradition, the church should not be in the business of disparaging homosexuals.
Laats said Christianity was not meant for "forcing people into a corner."
"I see this - and it's an extremely painful, important topic for me - that what Jesus did was extend a hand to the outcasts, bringing them out of a corner. Jesus was not the one who fought for moral and ethical values; he fought for humans, for protection of humans."
"That is why it's been a problem for me how we have taken a group and criticized them. I feel sad that I have to differ from my church's official line here, and I'm sad that this is yet another place where we adopt the same footing as society and hate. So it's a serious topic for me."
Should Estonia permit gay marriage? She did not give a yes or a no, and spoke of civil partnership.
"I think their rights need protection," she added. "I believe the church and we as Christians should stand up for people who are in need." Laats further said that there are a number of areas where attention is needed, and concentrating on those is a more worthy activity than attacking certain sectors of society.


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