Ohio priest says he was punished for going to Trump rally before Capitol riot


LIMA, Ohio (AP) — An Orthodox priest from Ohio says he has been suspended for three months for going to President Donald Trump’s rally near the White House before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Father Mark Hodges says he was told by a church leader that he was “guilty by association.” Hodges says he marched toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, but left when he saw a group violently going after the police. He calls the suspension unjust.

Hodges said he marched toward the Capitol on Jan. 6, but left when he saw a group “intending to violently antagonize the police” and officers using tear gas.

“My beloved bishop had questioned the wisdom of a priest attending,” he said. “I think part of the problem is I viewed that ‘Stop the Steal’ rally as expressing extreme concern over voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election.”

Hodges, who spent 20 years at St. Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Church in Lima, now works as a substitute priest in Ohio and Michigan.

The archbishop from the Diocese of the Midwest Orthodox Church in America confirmed the suspension but won’t comment on the details.

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