A Satanic Temple display inside the Iowa State Capitol was destroyed Thursday, according to police.
Michael Cassidy, 35, was arrested after he tore up a display of Baphomet at the Iowa Satanic Temple, an Iowa State Police spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.
In a text message to Fox News Digital, Cassidy confirmed that he had demolished the satanic display, which was erected by the Satanic Temple in Iowa last week to represent the group’s right to religious freedom.
“It was very anti-Christian,” Cassidy told Fox News Digital when asked why the statue was torn down.
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Cassidy previously ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2022 to unseat Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss.
The former congressional candidate did not explain why he tore down the statue, but he posted a Bible verse Thursday night on X after he was charged.
“1 Peter 5:8 Be sober and watch, for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
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In a Facebook post, the Iowa Satanic Temple wrote that the display was “beyond repair.”
“We ask for the sake of safety that visitors travel together and use the Seven Principles as a reminder to have compassion, knowing that justice is served the right way, through legal means,” the group wrote. “Happy Holidays! Satan’s Hail!”
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds condemned the parade’s existence, but said it should be countered with more rhetoric.
“Like many Iowans, I find the display of The Satanic Temple on the Capitol grounds completely objectionable,” Reynolds said. “In a free society, the best response to unwanted speech is more speech, and I encourage all believers to join me today in prayer at the Capitol and learn about the nativity scene that will be displayed — the true reason for this season.”
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Lucien Graves, co-founder of The Satanic Temple, previously told KCCI Des Moines that the show would remain open for two weeks.
“We would really enjoy the opportunity to be represented in a public forum. We don’t have a church on every street corner,” Graves said. “My feeling is that if people don’t like what we show in public forums, they don’t have to engage with them. They don’t have to watch it.”