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Here’s a problem you never knew existed: Christian furries are worried people will come after them… for being Christians.

That’s the premise of a Religion News Service article by Riley Farrell, who spoke with leaders of the Christian Furry Fellowship (“Bringing the Good News to the Furry Fandom”) about the two things they feel obligated to hide from people in their lives: their faith and their fursonas.

It’s one thing to hide behind a costume where you can let your avatar represent you. But when you feel most at home in a furry subculture that’s more atheist/agnostic than Christian, and very welcoming to and accepting of LGBTQ people, what happens when you’re a conservative Christ-follower who believes most of the furries you hang out with are Hell-bound?

Christians in the furry community are cautious about who knows about both their furry and faithful selves. Christian furries interviewed for this story, including leaders of the group that calls itself the Christian Furry Fellowship, asked to be anonymous, fearing “doxxing” from within the largely secular furry community for their Christian identity and ostracization from their professional lives for their furry hobby

“My furry friendships are a blessing,” said one CFF organizer with a red fox fursona who asked to be called “F.” “And for that reason, I am sad to see so much grief within the fandom that could be helped by the knowledge of the Lord.

Yeah, spare a thought for the happy furries who need more Jesus in their lives…

I’m having a hard time feeling sympathy for the Christians who may be furries, but who also have an additional goal of spreading their beliefs in a community that already has to avoid the wrath of Christians in every other aspect of their lives.

The type of people who often adopt fursonas and identify as LGBTQ have to deal with legal, personal, and moral attacks from Christians who wield incredible power. Yet these conservative Christian furries, who have the kind of privilege the rest of us can only dream of, want to come into this community in order to evangelize. And they have the audacity to whine about how hard things are for them?!

Please.

The furries won’t dox them for being Christian. They respect privacy. But you can bet good money that conservative Christians will keep spreading lies about furries. (They already have.)

These Christians ought to be asking why they’re so unwelcome in this subculture.

This isn’t just theoretical. Even though the Christian Furry Fellowship doesn’t force members to adopt any anti-LGBTQ faith statement, it’s certainly implicit in their beliefs:

… Like many conservative Christians, its members believe that engaging in same-sex sexual relationships is wrong; having homosexual feelings alone is not. Furries who disagree with this stance can still join, S said, as long as they abide by the group’s rules.

They love gay people… as long as they never do anything gay. It’s the same policy many evangelical churches have adopted in order to distance themselves from anti-LGBTQ extremists… even though it’s hardly any better. LGBTQ people and their allies know exactly where those church members stand.

One of the goals of CFF is to “present a different face of their faith to their fellow furries.” But when they hold bigoted beliefs, how do they expect to make inroads? Furries may accept these Christians, but they do so in spite of their beliefs, not because of them.

In a way, these Christians are like the Log Cabin Republicans who are fully convinced they’re liberalizing the Republican Party on the issue of LGBTQ rights, only to realize (long after everyone else) that they’re a joke to the very people they’ve been trying to change.

Instead of trying to make the furry community more accepting of Christianity, the Christians should spend their time making evangelical churches more inclusive on matters of sexual orientation and gender identity.

I doubt it’ll work, but at least the furries will be left alone.

(Correction: I initially wrote that the only goal of Christian furries was to spread their faith in these communities. That’s not accurate since they may genuinely be furries with a secondary goal. I’ve corrected the piece to reflect that. Thank you to everyone who pointed that out.)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of FriendlyAtheist.com, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.