(LifeSiteNews) — A Christian former military officer has torn down and beheaded the Satanist statue that was erected in the Iowa State Capitol.
The Sentinel reported that on Dec. 14, Michael Cassidy, who once served as a Navy pilot, “pushed over and decapitated the [Satanic] statue before he discarded the head in a trash can.”
The Satanic Temple of Iowa previously received permission to set up an exhibit that included a statue of the demonic idol Baphomet. According to The Sentinel, the Satanic display was installed in proximity to the Nativity scene on the first floor of the Capitol.
BREAKING: @RepubSentinel can reveal that Michael Cassidy, a Christian and former military officer, tore down and beheaded the Satan altar in the Iowa Capitol:https://t.co/rIYIdZOzee pic.twitter.com/tZDsmKM5Pm
— The Sentinel (@RepubSentinel) December 14, 2023
Cassidy told The Sentinel he destroyed the shrine to “awaken Christians to the anti-Christian acts promoted by our government.”
“The world may tell Christians to submissively accept the legitimization of Satan, but none of the founders would have considered government sanction of Satanic altars inside Capitol buildings as protected by the First Amendment,” he continued. “Anti-Christian values have steadily been mainstreamed more and more in recent decades, and Christians have largely acted like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water.”
“I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged. My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”
Cassidy furthermore cited 1 John 3:8 as motivation to destroy the statue: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
“Scripture exhorts us to think and act like Jesus Christ,” he added.
The former Navy officer turned himself into the police shortly after destroying the idol. The Satanic Temple of Iowa is reportedly suing Cassidy for fourth-degree criminal mischief.
The fundraiser for Cassidy’s legal defense exceeded the $20,000 goal in less than three hours. The conservative organization Turning Point USA (TPUSA) announced a pledge of $10,000 to the legal fund. TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Turning Point USA is proud to pledge $10,000 to his legal defense fund. We stand with Satan Slayer @VoteCassidy”
On Dec. 15, Republican presidential candidate and governor of Florida Ron DeSantis announced on X that he will contribute to Cassidy’s legal defense fund as well.
“Satan has no place in our society and should not be recognized as a ‘religion’ by the federal government,” DeSantis wrote. “I’ll chip in to contribute to this veteran’s legal defense fund. Good prevails over evil — that’s the American spirit.”
Cassidy previously ran for Congress in Mississippi; his campaign website states that he is a “Christian conservative who loves our nation and is committed to preserving the blessings of liberty bestowed upon us by the Founding generation.”
The national controversy over the Satanic display
The decision to allow the installment of a Satanic idol drew national controversy and a backlash from Christians. The Republican governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, said in a statement that she finds the display “absolutely objectionable” but added that “the best response to objectionable speech is more speech,” defending the “right” of the Satanic Temple to set up their statue.
Iowa Republican State Rep. Jon Dunwell, who is an ordained evangelical minister, also defended the Satanic Temple’s “right” to display the demonic idol because prohibiting it would be against the “First Amendment of the US Constitution,” even though he personally finds the display “objectionable” as “a follower of Christ.”
Catholic legal expert Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, on the other hand, argued that the First Amendment does “not protect this kind of offensive and irreligious display.”
Because the members of Satanic Temples state that they are atheists who do not actually believe in Satan, the display cannot be considered a genuine expression of religious belief, Picciotti-Bayer explained. Instead, it is meant as a mockery of religion and part of a “concerted effort to undermine the fabric of American society.”
“The first principles that support these core freedoms like religious freedom and free speech did not embrace a farce like the Satanic Temple is trying to put on display. Nor does it protect irreligious mockery of these kinds of core and important celebrations,” she said.
“The founders in particular, even those who weren’t particularly religious themselves, knew and spoke often about the importance of a religious people and that especially Christian virtues and ethics were key to a healthy citizenry.”
Picciotti-Bayer noted that the Satanic Temple is a threat to American society because it promotes abortion as a “religious right” and is increasingly present in public schools.
“Even though the leaders and the founders of the Satanic Temple disavow Satanism, the minute you let Satan in, we all know all sorts of havoc ensues,” she concluded.