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Former Mississippi House candidate charged after Satanic Temple display is destroyed at Iowa Capitol

by Ethan Kim
4 comments
Vandalism

In Des Moines, Iowa, the Iowa Capitol became the scene of controversy as a Satanic Temple display, known as a Baphomet statue, was vandalized. The individual accused of causing this damage is Michael Cassidy, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and Republican candidate in Mississippi’s State House District 45 election, which he recently lost to Democrat Keith Jackson.

The display, which had been permitted under the Capitol’s rules governing religious installations, had been a subject of criticism from conservatives, including presidential candidate Ron DeSantis. The Satanic Temple announced on Facebook that the Baphomet statue had been irreparably destroyed, though a portion of it remains intact.

Michael Cassidy, 35, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief by the Iowa Department of Public Safety. After his arrest, he was subsequently released.

Cassidy’s campaign website, still active, outlines his background as a Navy fighter pilot and pilot instructor. He identifies himself as a “Christian conservative” who is deeply committed to preserving the principles of liberty inherited from the Founding generation.

In 2022, Cassidy ran in a primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, narrowly losing by fewer than 300 votes. His campaign efforts remain notable in the public sphere.

As of now, neither Cassidy nor The Satanic Temple has provided comments on the situation.

On the scene at the Capitol, part of the display remains, while an unidentified man sat before it, reciting Christian prayers and referring to Jesus. His stance in relation to the Satanic Temple remains unclear.

The display itself is located on the Capitol’s east side, near a column and an ornate staircase, about 100 feet from a Christmas tree displayed in the rotunda.

The Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, was founded in 2013 and defines itself as a “non-theistic religious organization” advocating for secularism. It distinguishes itself from the Church of Satan, founded in the 1960s.

Cassidy drew attention to the display earlier in the week when he reposted a message on social media that juxtaposed the removal of a Thomas Jefferson statue with the presence of the Satanic Temple display.

A legal defense fund for Cassidy was established following his arrest and temporarily paused after raising $20,000. However, Cassidy later announced that the fund was reopened due to potential additional legal charges.

The Polk County Attorney’s office has declined to comment on the matter.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who frequently campaigns in Iowa, suggested that the existence of the Satanic Temple display could be partly attributed to the Trump administration’s decision in 2019 to designate The Satanic Temple as a church for tax purposes. Trump currently maintains a strong lead in polls among Republican presidential candidates, including DeSantis.

Please note that Michael Cassidy is no longer a candidate for political office, as indicated in the corrected version of this story.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Vandalism

What led to the destruction of the Satanic Temple display at the Iowa Capitol?

The Satanic Temple display at the Iowa Capitol was destroyed, and former U.S. Navy fighter pilot Michael Cassidy was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief for allegedly causing the damage. The destruction stemmed from controversy surrounding the display, which was permitted by Capitol rules governing religious installations but had faced criticism from conservatives.

Who is Michael Cassidy, and what is his background?

Michael Cassidy is a 35-year-old Republican who recently ran as a candidate in Mississippi’s State House District 45 election but was defeated by Democrat Keith Jackson. He is a former Navy fighter pilot and pilot instructor. Cassidy describes himself as a “Christian conservative” committed to preserving the principles of liberty.

What is the Satanic Temple, and why was their display at the Iowa Capitol controversial?

The Satanic Temple, based in Salem, Massachusetts, was founded in 2013 and identifies as a “non-theistic religious organization” advocating for secularism. Their display at the Iowa Capitol, known as a Baphomet statue, was permitted under Capitol rules but drew criticism from many conservatives, including presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.

What was the response to the destruction of the Satanic Temple display?

Part of the display remained at the Capitol site, and an unidentified individual recited Christian prayers in front of it. The legal defense fund for Michael Cassidy raised $20,000 but was temporarily halted before being reopened due to potential additional legal charges.

How did former President Donald Trump’s administration play a role in this controversy?

Governor Ron DeSantis suggested that the existence of the Satanic Temple display could be partly attributed to the Trump administration’s decision in 2019 to designate The Satanic Temple as a church for tax purposes. Trump currently maintains a strong lead in polls among Republican presidential candidates, including DeSantis.

More about Vandalism

  • [Satanic Temple display vandalized at Iowa Capitol](Insert Link)
  • [Michael Cassidy’s background and political career](Insert Link)
  • [Controversy over Satanic Temple display in Iowa](Insert Link)
  • [Response to the destruction of Satanic Temple display](Insert Link)
  • [Trump administration’s role in the controversy](Insert Link)

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4 comments

CarEnthusiast December 16, 2023 - 4:33 pm

Wait, did ths happen near the Christmas tree display? Weird contrast! But ths article rocks.

Reply
EconomicWizard December 16, 2023 - 6:32 pm

So much drama! Cassidy’s background & DeSantis’ comments add spice to the story. Grt job!

Reply
JohnDoe91 December 16, 2023 - 7:31 pm

omg ths story’s so crazy, like how cn ths happn at a capitol? srsly, yikes!

Reply
CryptoKing December 17, 2023 - 9:40 am

satanic temple, destruction, politics – wow, wht a mix! gr8 job on ths article, rlly informative

Reply

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