Michael Cassidy, a 35-year-old Christian Navy veteran and former U.S. House candidate, faces criminal charges after destroying a Satanic display at the Iowa State Capitol Thursday.
An Iowa state police spokesperson told Fox News that police had arrested the man for allegedly tearing down the Iowa Satanic Temple’s Baphomet statue and display. Police charged Cassidy with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Conservative donors covered his legal defense fund in under three hours.
Michael Cassidy just beheaded a monument to Satan inside the Iowa State Capitol building. The Satanic Temple of Iowa is pressing charges and Cassidy is facing fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Turning Point USA is proud to pledge $10,000 to his legal defense fund.
We stand with… pic.twitter.com/eqbnNGAzfh
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) December 14, 2023
Cassidy, who ran a 2022 primary campaign in Mississippi against Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), told Fox News he destroyed the display because “It was extremely anti-Christian.”
After police charged him Thursday night, he posted a Bible verse to X, formerly known as Twitter, “1 Peter 5:8 KJV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
The Satanic Temple of Iowa meanwhile posted on Facebook to report the legally placed display was “beyond repair.” The group wrote, “We ask that for safety, visitors travel together and use the 7 Tenets as a reminder for empathy, in the knowledge that justice is being pursued the correct way, through legal means. Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!”
Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves told CNN Thursday, “There’s a certain point at which we need some adults in the room to tell people what [ … ] liberal, democratic values are; what their value is; why we uphold them; what they’re good for; and they need to stand up for these values or we are going to further degenerate in our polarism towards autocracy.”
We have reached the point where our Capitols are removing Jefferson while monuments to Satan are erected.
Realize where we are. pic.twitter.com/KFm1hX1XOi
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) December 12, 2023
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she objects to the Satanic Temple display, but acknowledged that it’s legal free speech, “Like many Iowans, I find the Satanic Temple’s display in the Capitol absolutely objectionable. In a free society, the best response to objectionable speech is more speech.”
The Satanic Temple placed its display of a ram’s head covered in mirrors on a mannequin at the Iowa Capitol earlier in December. A visitor to the building told a local Iowa news channel, “There are evil satanic forces that are trying to infiltrate our state.”