Iowa State Capitol’s Satanic Temple display beheaded, veteran arrested

'Satan has no place in our society and should not be recognized as a ‘religion’ by the federal government. I'll chip in to contribute to this veteran's legal defense fund,' Ron DeSantis wrote. 'Good prevails over evil–that's the American spirit.'

Iowa State Capitol’s Satanic Temple display beheaded, veteran arrested
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A display set up by the Satanic Temple inside the Iowa State Capitol was vandalized on Thursday, leading to the arrest of 35-year-old Michael Cassidy. According to a spokesperson for the Iowa State Police, Cassidy was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief after he allegedly dismantled the Baphomet display, which had been installed by the Satanic Temple of Iowa last week.

Cassidy, a military veteran who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2022 against Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., confirmed his actions in a text message to Fox News Digital.

He expressed that the display was "extremely anti-Christian," which motivated his decision to remove it.

Following his arrest, Cassidy shared a Bible verse from 1 Peter 5:8 on social media, implying a spiritual rationale behind his actions.

"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," he posted.

The Satanic Temple of Iowa lamented the loss of their display on Facebook, noting that it was "beyond repair."

"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," the group wrote.

They concluded their statement with a "Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!" greeting.

Iowa's Republican Governor, Kim Reynolds, voiced her objection to the Satanic Temple's display but emphasized the importance of free speech.

"Like many Iowans, I find the Satanic Temple’s display in the Capitol absolutely objectionable," Reynolds said. "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."

Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, had previously expressed the significance of the display for their community, citing the limited public representation of their group compared to other religious organizations. Greaves stated that those who found the display objectionable were not obliged to engage with it.

On X, Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended Cassidy, stating that he would contribute to his defense fund.

"Satan has no place in our society and should not be recognized as a ‘religion’ by the federal government. I'll chip in to contribute to this veteran's legal defense fund,” DeSantis wrote. “Good prevails over evil–that's the American spirit.”

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