Mississippi Ex-Republican Candidate Charged with Felony for Beheading Satanic Temple Statue in Iowa Capitol

DES MOINES, Iowa – A man who violently attacked and beheaded a controversial statue at Iowa’s Capitol has been charged with a hate crime, according to the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Former Mississippi state House candidate Michael Cassidy is now facing a felony charge under the state’s hate crime statutes for his destructive act of vandalism.

Cassidy, a failed Republican candidate, is accused of destroying a permanent statue erected by the Satanic Temple at Iowa’s Capitol back in December. The Polk County Attorney’s Office stated that evidence proves Cassidy targeted the statue due to the victim’s religious affiliation.

Originally charged with a misdemeanor, Cassidy’s offense has been elevated to third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights – a class D felony under Iowa’s hate crime laws. The severity of the charge reflects the state’s commitment to protecting individuals from acts driven by religious hatred.

Cassidy’s unsuccessful bid for the Mississippi State House District 45 demonstrates his political aspirations. Described in his campaign biography as a “Christian conservative who loves our nation,” Cassidy garnered public attention shortly after the vandalism by appearing on Fox News. During the interview, he referred to the beheading as an act of “Christian civil disobedience.”

The Satanic Temple of Iowa, responsible for the display, intended it to be part of the holiday festivities. Minister Mortimer Adramelech of the Satanic Temple of Iowa defended their right to display the statue, stating that all religions have equal rights under the First Amendment. The group embraces effective and artful protest, asserting their belief that Satan and the supernatural do not exist.

Unfortunately, the damage inflicted upon the statue proved irreparable. The Polk County Attorney’s Office emphasized its commitment to pursuing fair and just resolutions to all cases, ensuring equal application of the law regardless of religious background or other personal attributes.

At present, Cassidy’s attorney has not responded to requests for comment. Nevertheless, the charges against him underscore the importance of protecting religious freedom and fostering inclusivity in the public square.

Historically, the significance of the Baphomet statue comes from the accusation that the Knights Templar worshipped it. Philip IV of France had members of the Knights Templar burned at the stake, alleging their loyalty to the pope over their king. Finances also played a role, as Philip sought to access the Templars’ wealth during a time of financial strain.

As the legal proceedings continue, this case brings attention to the tensions that can arise between religious expression and individual convictions. It underscores the need for open dialogue and understanding, as society navigates questions of religious diversity and freedom of speech.