Although persecution against Christians increased in record numbers during the pandemic, Gia Chacon, founder of For the Martyrs, believes it helped unify the church.
Leading the March for the Martyrs Saturday in Washington, D.C. she saw just that, which was attended by more than 500, according to the Christian Post.
“It was very encouraging to see hundreds of Christians across all denominations and ages come together as one voice for the persecuted church,” Chacon told me, adding their message is that “Christian persecution will no longer be ignored, suffering believers are not forgotten, and Jesus Christ still has the victory.”
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Chacon’s nonprofit is based in California, which saw some of the harshest restrictions against believers in the U.S.
“We felt what it was like to have our churches closed, to have worship banned, and to face repercussions for going against mandates,” she said. “And I think that that helped bridge the gap for Christians here in the United States.”
Open Doors USA reported a record increase in persecution against more than 340 million Christians in 2020, about 1 in 8 believers, with a 30 percent increase in persecution and a 60 percent increase in the number killed for their faith.
Similar to what happens in North Korea, China, Syria, Afghanistan, and parts of sub-Sarahan Africa, Americans saw pastors arrested, churches burned, and Christians discriminated against. Yet the media and society were largely silent about it. For the Martyrs hopes to change that.
“We believe that the reason that people don’t care more about the crisis of Christian persecution is because they just don’t know it’s happening,” Chacon explained. “So we’re on a mission to wake up Christians in the United States. And we believe that when Christians come together as one voice, we’ll have a chance to bring this crisis to the forefront of the fight for human rights.”
For the Martyrs as a nonprofit seeks to raise awareness about the crisis of Christian persecution, advocate for religious freedom, and provide aid to suffering Christians around the world.
In working with persecuted believers outside the U.S., Chacon said there are two things almost all believers tell her they are grateful for. First, that Americans are praying for them, and second, that they are remembered in their suffering.
“It’s so important to our brothers and sisters who are facing persecution that the body of Christ in the United States, is praying for them and standing up for them and being their voice,” she added.