Gia Chacón, humanitarian and founder of For the Martyrs, discusses Christian persecution in our world today.
Gia explains her journey from growing up in a devoutly Christian household, to following God’s call to help persecuted Christians around the world. “My mom always instilled in me the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ, but as time went on, and the older I got, I tried to maintain a balancing act. I had one foot planted in my faith and the other foot was planted into the world. The foot that was planted into the world was a ball and chain… It pulled me deeper into heartache and compromise. So in 2017, I basically had this epiphany where I realized that I was not who God created me to be, and I didn’t want to be the person that I was anymore. So I said a simple prayer, and within a matter of a week, the Lord turned my life upside down. I ended up quitting my job. I called my grandmother who owns a nonprofit organization that focuses on international crisis relief, and I asked her if she had any upcoming trips. She told me her organization was going to Egypt. I decided to go, and that was the start of everything for me.” After encountering persecuted Christians in Egypt, Gia quickly realized faith-based violence and discrimination was not a thing of the past.
Shortly after, Gia started For the Martyrs, a 501(c)(3) that seeks to raise awareness about the crisis of persecution, advocate for religious freedom, and provide aid to suffering Christians across the globe.
“What are we talking about when we say Christian persecution? We’re saying that our brothers and sisters in Christ are being targeted and executed solely because of their faith. And this means that Christians are facing the loss of their businesses, imprisonment, torture, and death of their family members. They’re treated as second-class citizens in many nations. And, and oftentimes when we’re looking at places that face these high levels of persecution, Christians are even put to death solely because of their faith in Christ.”
“We’re seeing an increased hostility toward Christians, and even in the Holy Land, there is some fighting between the denominations of Christianity. We’re looking at places like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. These are the birthplaces of Christianity. We’re seeing an increased hostility that has actually caused a genocide of Christians in places like Iraq. But when we look at places like Egypt, Christians are seen as second-class citizens. For example, if a Christian goes to court and they’re battling a case, their testimony is going to be seen as half of that of someone of a different religion, particularly Islam. So we see these radical ideologies that are embedded in every area of society throughout the Middle East. ”
Father Dave asks Gia her opinion on why Christian persecution isn’t talked about much in North America. “I think a lot of times this issue is seen as politically incorrect. It’s not politically correct to talk about Christian suffering, especially here in the United States where we have the beauty of religious freedom and Christians haven’t had to overcome much in the history of our nation. However, I believe that with the pandemic and our churches closed, and a lot of Christians feeling for the first time what it could be like if we didn’t have the ability to go to church, what it could be like if we were persecuted. I believe that this issue with the pandemic can connect us to our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for their faith. It is very important to raise awareness about persecution, so that we can stand up for our brothers and sisters.”