Christian Veteran Destroys Satanic Altar at Iowa Capitol

Michael Cassidy and the satanic display in the Iowa Statehouse.
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In an act of religious conviction, Michael Cassidy, a Christian and former military officer, recently tore down and beheaded a controversial Satanic altar at the Iowa Capitol. The display had already sparked ongoing debate about the role of religious displays in public spaces and the limits of free speech.

The Satanic Temple of Iowa had 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 discarding the head in a trash can.

Cassidy turned himself into police officers present in the Iowa Capitol, and the Satanic Temple of Iowa has expressed its desire to press charges. Local reports say The Republic Sentinel obtained a complaint and affidavit which said Cassidy was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.

In comments exclusively provided to The Sentinel, Cassidy said that he destroyed the shrine to “awaken Christians to the anti-Christian acts promoted by our government.” He cited 1 John 3:8 as an additional motivation for his actions: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

“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.

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

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Cassidy’s actions have drawn both support and criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike. Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds called the display “absolutely objectionable” but maintained that “the best response to objectionable speech is more speech” in a free society. Iowa Republican State Representative Jon Dunwell, an ordained minister, defended the display as a matter of free speech but acknowledged that he found it “objectionable” as a “follower of Christ.”

Some have 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, argued 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’s actions mirror King Hezekiah’s in the Bible when he tore down the High Places. Second Kings 18:4 says, “He removed the high places, broke the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and crushed the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the children of Israel had made offerings to it.” Like King Hezekiah, Cassidy felt compelled to take action against abominable idols that were abominable to the Lord in whom they both trust.{eoa}

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James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.

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