Guest Speaker: Phillip Zhodiates

Jun 16, 2024    Philip Zodhiates

Guest Spearker: Author, Philip Zodhiates

Title: "Innocent: The Price One Man Paid for Doing What Is Right"

On December 5th, 2018, an innocent man, who broke no laws, was incarcerated into a U.S. federal prison to begin a three-year prison sentence. His crime? As an act of compassion, he drove a distraught mother from Virginia to New York as she sought refuge for her young daughter whom she had learned was being sexually abused, and the courts refused to protect her daughter in the matter. After the drive, the mother and daughter disappeared, having left the country.

Because the former partner was a lesbian and the mother was a former lesbian (now a converted Christian believer), the story received attention from the LGBTQ movement and was soon being portrayed as a hate crime against a homosexual. The FBI became involved and eventually tracked down Philip Zodhiates and a Mennonite pastor, both who were brought to trial and convicted of aiding and abetting an “international parental kidnapping” even though the mother and daughter had every right to leave the country according to the statute under which the men were convicted.

During Philip’s 30-month incarceration, he wrote daily in a journal about life in prison. What began as a terrifying experience for this Christian husband, father, philanthropist, and businessman (the son of the well-known Hebrew/Greek Bible scholar, Spiros Zodhiates) became a journey of faith—not just for Philip but also for many of the inmates who met Philip and whose lives were changed forever.

What could have been a collapse of faith for an innocent man—falsely accused of a crime he never committed and thrown into prison—turned into just the opposite for Philip. He had always cherished God’s Holy Word, but now it became his life line and the Holy Spirit his comfort and peace in a deeper way than ever before. Innocent not only tells the story of the injustice that took place in a country that has lost its moral foundation but is also a wake-up call that persecution may be right around the corner for those who are trying to do the right thing.