Persecuted Church advocate warns U.S. — ‘Intimidation always comes before persecution’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. Christian persecution around the world is on the rise for the fourth year in a row, according to Gia Chacón.

Chacón, 24, is the founding president of For the Martyrs, an advocacy group providing aid and representation for persecuted Christians around the world. This weekend in Washington, D.C., Chacón will be leading the second annual March for the Martyrs for the first time in the nation’s capital. Register for the march here.

While her ministry focuses on global persecution towards the Body of Christ, Chacón warned American citizens not to fall into apathy when religious liberty is being trampled on by rogue politicians, urging Americans to “stand strong now before it’s too late and our religious freedom is stripped from us.

Gia Chacón sat down with the Freedom Center’s Editor-in-Chief, John Wesley Reid, to share her concern.

Reid:
So, you’ve seen the worst of it. You’ve been overseas, you’ve seen how just the taking away of religious liberty that’s probably the first step. Well, that is the first step that leads to persecution. What do you have to say for America right now? People in America, those who are our elected officials, who, right now, yes, it’s still very comfortable, but we still do see that flame turning up. We see that water, the boiling frog, right? We see that water starting to boil. What’s your advice?

Chacón:
Yes, so we absolutely do. I say we face intimidation, but intimidation always comes before persecution. So, we can compare this to the church in China too. So, in China’s constitution, it stipulates that citizens enjoy religious freedom, so long as it doesn’t, I guess, stir up public disorder, go against the state education, or impair the public health of citizens. So, you can, you know, enjoy religious freedom as long as it’s within the state mandates. So, China uses that clause really in their constitution to control the churches, and they control what pastors are and aren’t allowed to say from the pulpit, they control which members are allowed to go to which churches, and if your church doesn’t agree to be monitored by the Chinese government, it’s considered illegal. The consequences for running an illegal home church or house church are jail, imprisonment, and oftentimes torture. So, when we look at what’s happening here in the United States…we’re having governors here in the United States and of certain states and certain legislators want Christians to be able to go to church so long as there’s conditions on it. And we’ve seen sinister legislation introduced, for example, the Equality Act, which thankfully was not passed. But, we’ve seen legislation that errs on or tries to sneak in as upholding human dignity, but really it’s an attack on religious freedom, an attempt to control what the church is and isn’t allowed to say. So, my advice to Christians in the United States, to answer your question, is: This is the time to be strong, this is the time to not back down. we’re now here, we have the opportunity to fight back against whatever attempts to restrict religious freedom are. And we’ve seen pastors, for example, in California, of course the famous case with John MacArthur…. We know what it looks like when pastors stand up and churchgoers stand up – we win these cases. So, stand strong now before it’s too late and our religious freedom is stripped from us.

Chacón continued to encourage young Christians who want to make a difference in politics to “start now.”

Reid:
For other people who are young, what is your advice to them? What is your advice for young people, young men, young women —Christians who want to make an influence in politics?

Gia:
I would say just start and don’t be afraid. You know, I think a lot of times we’re our own worst enemy because we tell ourselves we’re not the right person for it, there’s someone else who’s better suited, more qualified, it’s not my time yet. Whatever excuses we give ourselves to hold us back from starting, I would just encourage young people, whether they want to get involved in politics or maybe start a non-profit, there’s something that the Lord’s laying on their heart don’t hesitate. Just trust the Lord, trust that He’s given you this calling, and just go for it, honestly.

Follow Gia Chacon on Twitter at @genuinelygia_ and be sure to register for the March for the Martyrs happening Saturday, September 25th in person or online.