Veteran Who Destroyed Satanic Statue Charged With Hate Crime

Christian veteran Michael Cassidy is now charged with a hate crime for dismembering a satanic statue erected in the Iowa Statehouse in December.

The native of Lauderdale, Mississippi, faced a fourth-degree criminal mischief charge after confessing to destroying the display. The hate crime charge was added after he was released on the original charge.

It reportedly is due to his actions “in violation of individual rights” and the damage he caused falling between $750 and $1,500. The two charges mean Cassidy now faces a third-degree criminal mischief charge, which qualifies as a Class D felony.

A guilty verdict could bring a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $7,500.

Among conservatives who took offense to the satanic display was Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. After the incident, she said the Satanic Temple’s creation was “absolutely objectionable.”

Reynolds added, however, “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.” She said the nativity scene on display in the Statehouse was “the true reason for the season.”

Cassidy is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 15.

The display he attacked was located about 100 feet from a Christmas tree set in the Capitol rotunda. It was perched between an intricate staircase and a column.

Its defenders include Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves. He said in December near the time of the statue’s destruction that it represented the group’s religious freedom.

Greaves asserted that his followers “relish the opportunity to be represented in a public forum. We don’t have a church on every street corner.”

He added, “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.”

The Satanic Temple was founded in Salem, Massachusetts, in 2013. Its members claim they do not believe in an actual Satan but instead are proponents of secularism and a “non-theistic religious organization.”

The group is separate from the Church of Satan, which dates back to the 1960s.

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