Display at Iowa Capitol Building Vandalized, Leading to Arrest

(RepublicanJournal.org) – A controversial Satanic display in the Iowa state capitol has been vandalized. A man has been arrested after a statue of Baphomet was decapitated. The attack has triggered a debate about religious freedom and whether we have a right to offend others.

On December 2, the Iowa State Capitol unveiled its Christmas displays — and one of them immediately caused outrage. Set up by the Satanic Temple of Iowa, a liberal campaign group that uses Satanic imagery for shock effect. The display featured a statue of the occult figure Baphomet topped with a ram’s head on top of a red-cloaked human body. Baphomet is a figure that first appeared in legend when the Knights Templar were accused (probably falsely) of worshiping it in 1307. Since the 1960s it’s become associated with Satanism and the Satanic Temple regularly uses it in its imagery.

The statue quickly attracted criticism. While the Iowa Department of Administrative Services says it doesn’t discriminate between religions, and the Legislature’s policy is to “allow all displays or none,” many conservatives believe the Satanic display was inappropriate. Governor Kim Reynolds (R) was among them and even joined a prayer meeting to protest at the statue. Reynolds said, “the best response to objectionable speech is more speech,” and called on Christians to celebrate the nativity at the Capitol.

Michael Cassidy, a 35-year-old Lauderdale, Mississippi, man and former congressional candidate, decided it was time for more direct action against the offending display. On December 14, he attacked the statue and knocked its head off. According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Cassidy was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief. Cassidy is now running a fundraiser to cover any legal costs arising from the charge and has already raised more than $20,000.

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