Veteran Who Smashed Satanic Statue In Iowa State Capitol Charged With Hate Crime
The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple where a "Hell House" is being held in Salem, Massachusett on October 8, 2019. - The Hell House was a parody on a Christian Conversion centre meant to scare atheist and other Satanic Church members. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Cassidy, a 35-year-old Navy veteran, was charged with a hate crime on Tuesday after he admitted to beheading a Satanic statue that was on display in the Iowa State Capitol building last month.

Cassidy, a Christian who lives in Mississippi and previously ran for a congressional seat, was arrested and charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief after beheading the statue. Court documents now say that the damage done to the statue will cost between $750 and $1,500 to repair, and prosecutors allege that Cassidy acted “in violation of individual rights” under Iowa’s hate crime statute, KCCI reported. The documents also note that in light of new evidence, his charge has been upped to third-degree criminal mischief, a class D felony.

“Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim’s religion,” said Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Polk County Attorney’s Office, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Satanic Temple of Iowa had received permission from the state to display a Baphomet statue in the state capitol building, and it was reportedly set up near Nativity displays showcased for the Christmas holiday.

Shortly after the incident, Cassidy explained to The Republic Sentinel why he decided to destroy the Satanic display.

“I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged,” Cassidy told the outlet in December. “My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”

“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,” Cassidy added. “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.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds spoke out in opposition to the Satanic statue but urged people to counter the “objectionable” display through more 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, and I encourage all those of faith to join me today in praying over the Capitol and recognizing the nativity scene that will be on display – the true reason for the season,” Reynolds said.

A GiveSendGo set up for Cassidy’s legal defense has raised more than $90,000.

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