The Satanic Temple’s display inside the Iowa State Capitol was destroyed on Thursday, according to police.
A spokesperson for the Iowa State Police told Fox News Digital that Michael Cassidy, 35, was arrested after allegedly tearing down the Iowa Satanic Temple’s Baphomet display.
He was charged with 4th-degree criminal mischief.
In a text message to Fox News Digital, Cassidy confirmed he tore down the satanic display, which was erected last week by The Satanic Temple of Iowa to represent the group’s right to religious freedom.
“It was extremely anti-Christian,” Cassidy told Fox News Digital when asked why he tore the statue down.
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Cassidy previously ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2022 to unseat Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss.
The former congressional candidate didn’t elaborate on why he tore the statue down, but posted a Bible verse Thursday night to X after being charged.
“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.
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In a Facebook post, The Satanic Temple of Iowa wrote that the display 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. “Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!”
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds condemned the display’s presence, but said it should be countered with more 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.”
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Co-founder of The Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, previously told KCCI Des Moines that the display would remain up 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.”