The Satanic Temple’s controversial display in the rotunda of the Iowa Statehouse was destroyed Thursday by Michael Cassidy, who is a Christian U.S. Navy veteran.
An Iowa State Police spokesperson confirmed to Fox News that 35-year-old Cassidy was arrested Thursday and charged with 4th-degree criminal mischief for allegedly destroying the Iowa Satanic Temple’s Baphomet display in the Iowa Statehouse.
Cassidy also confirmed to Fox News that he destroyed The Satanic Temple’s display in the Iowa Statehouse rotunda. Asked why he tore down the statue, Cassidy told Fox News, “It was extremely anti-Christian.
Photos posted on social media show the remains of the Satanic Temple’s display after Cassidy allegedly beheaded the Satanic statue.
Cassidy describes himself on his X account as Christian, an “America First Conservative,” a Navy Reserve instructor pilot, and a test pilot. According to Fox News, Cassidy also ran for office in 2022 against Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.).
In addition to Cassidy’s statement to Fox News, he tweeted, “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.”
After Cassidy destroyed the display at the Iowa Statehouse Thursday, The Satanic Temple of Iowa posted a statement on Facebook, saying, “This morning, we were informed by authorities that the Baphomet statue in our holiday display was destroyed beyond repair.”
Prior to the destruction of the statue Thursday, Lucien Greaves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, told KCCI Des Moines that the Satanic display would be featured in the Iowa Statehouse for two weeks.
“We’re going to really relish the opportunity to be represented in a public forum. We don’t have a church on every street corner,” Greaves said. “My feeling is if people don’t like our display in public forums, they don’t have to engage with them. They don’t have to view them.”
As Cassidy faces a charge of 4th-degree criminal mischief, conservatives such as Charlie Kirk, Matt Walsh, and Jack Posobiec have quickly worked to raise awareness and money for his legal defense fund. Alongside a photo of Cassidy and a photo of the destroyed statue, Kirk posted on social media, “Turning Point USA is proud to pledge $10,000 to his legal defense fund.”
In response to the outpouring of support by Christian conservatives, Cassidy released a statement Thursday on social media, saying, “Truly humbled by y’alls support. We raised the $20k we were looking for in just a couple hours. I directed the campaign to be paused – we have enough for now.”