A military veteran is claiming he decapitated the head of a statue Thursday, which was put on display by The Satanic Temple (TST) at the Iowa State Capitol, according to The Sentinel.

The statue was that of Baphomet, the body of a man and the head of a goat, which TST placed in the state capitol building earlier in December in opposition to the Nativity scene that was also on display. Michael Cassidy, a former Navy pilot and Christian, claims that he beheaded the statue and threw the head in a trashcan before turning himself in to the police, according to The Sentinel.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

TST Iowa posted on Facebook that authorities had informed them that the display was “destroyed beyond repair.” Lucien Graves, TST co-founder and spokesperson, also commented on the situation in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“They had their own displays, their own protests, they ‘filled the capitol with prayers,’ they did interviews with media outlets who allowed them to put words in our mouths without seeking comment from us & then they vandalized our display anyways,” Greaves wrote. “And they still play the victim.”

 

The veteran also cited 1 John 3:8, which states that “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” as further justification for tearing down the statue, according to The Sentinel.

Cassidy, who ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in Mississippi in 2022, was allegedly charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and TST’s Iowa chapter is reportedly planning on pressing charges, according to a copy of a complaint and an affidavit obtained by The Sentinel. Cassidy is being represented by Davis Younts, an attorney and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who formerly served in the JAG Corps.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds called the display “absolutely objectionable” in a statement Tuesday, but noted that it is a “free society.”

“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.”

TST put up a similar display in the Indiana state capitol in December 2022 and in February the group hosted a “gender-affirming ritual” at the Idaho capitol.

Cassidy’s attorney, TST and the Iowa State Patrol did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Kate Anderson on December 14, 2023

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