A Christian beheaded the Satanic Temple statue —Iowa

Michael Cassidy, a Christian and former military officer, tore down and beheaded a Satanist altar erected in the Iowa Capitol as the display provoked nationwide controversy, The Sentinel has exclusively learned.


Members of the Satanic Temple of Iowa recently received permission to install the exhibit, which included a statue depicting the idol Baphomet holding a pentacle and surrounded by candles, on the first floor of the Iowa Capitol near displays of the Nativity. Cassidy pushed over and decapitated the statue before he discarded the head in a trash can.


Cassidy said in comments exclusively provided to The Sentinel that he destroyed the shrine on Thursday in order 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,” Cassidy told The Sentinel. “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.”


Cassidy turned himself into police officers present in the Iowa Capitol, who confirmed that the Satanic Temple of Iowa desires to press charges. The Sentinel obtained a complaint and affidavit which said Cassidy was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.


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


Cassidy, who served as a Navy pilot and works as a flight instructor, previously ran for Congress in Mississippi. His campaign website describes him as a “Christian conservative who loves our nation and is committed to preserving the blessings of liberty.”


The approval of the shrine drew nationwide backlash from Christians and provoked commentary from senior elected officials. Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds remarked in a statement that she found the display “absolutely objectionable” but said “the best response to objectionable speech is more speech” in a free society. She also appeared at a Tuesday prayer service in the Capitol: “Free speech is a right afforded to all. But how we use it matters.”


Iowa Republican State Representative Jon Dunwell, an ordained minister, issued a defense of the display in which he contended that he finds the statue “objectionable” as a “follower of Christ” but said he does not want “the state evaluating and making determinations about religions,” which he believes would be prohibited by the First Amendment.


Others nevertheless questioned whether the Constitution or the original intent of the founding fathers would allow for the existence of the shrine. Andrew Walker, an associate professor of Christian ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted in an analysis that the Satanic Temple does not maintain any “sincerely held Satanic beliefs.” He also asserted that the state should not promote any “outright celebration of evil, darkness, and perversity” and that “moral evil has no intrinsic rights” within a Christian and historically Western legal framework.


Cassidy will be represented by Davis Younts, an attorney and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in the JAG Corps. “My client was motivated by his faith to peacefully protest a display that is a direct affront to God,” Younts told The Sentinel. “When others, including elected leaders, were unwilling to act, he peacefully removed the display. It is my hope that the citation will be dismissed when my client’s actions are understood and that he will not face prosecution because of his faith.”


Cassidy cited 1 John 3:8 as an additional motivation for his destruction of the statue: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” He noted that “Scripture exhorts us to think and act like Jesus Christ.”