Former Navy pilot beheads Satanic idol set up in Iowa Capitol

On December 14, former Navy pilot Michael Cassidy walked into the Iowa State Capitol, strode to an exhibit set up by the Satanic Temple of Iowa, and shoved over a statue of Baphomet, a demonic idol. He then decapitated the statue, and put the head in a garbage can. Cassidy, a Christian, told The Sentinel that the display — which was near a Nativity scene on the first floor of the Capitol and erected with official permission — was “blasphemous” and that his conscience compelled him to act. 

“The world may tell Christians to submissively accept the legitimization of Satan, but none of the founders would have considered government sanction of Satanic altars inside Capitol buildings as protected by the First Amendment,” Cassidy said. “Anti-Christian values have steadily been mainstreamed more and more in recent decades, and Christians have largely acted like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water.” 

The Satanic Temple is suing Cassidy for the destruction of their idol after he turned himself into police — his legal defense fundraiser had already surpassed $57,000 at time of writing. In the tradition of Christian civil disobedience, the former Naval officer took his stand in broad daylight, voluntarily surrendered to police, and is willing to accept the consequences. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil,” Cassidy stated. “Scripture exhorts us to think and act like Jesus Christ.” 

The Satanic Temple received tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2019 along with formal government recognition as “house of worship.” Lead by Lucien Greaves, the Satanist leadership claims not to believe in anything at all, instead using Satanism to harass American Christians and to use religious liberty protections to push for their own agenda. In 2020, for example, the Satanic Temple attempted to have abortion recognized as a demonic “sacrament” under religious freedom laws; Greaves has previously declared abortion a “religious ritual” and raffled off a “free abortion.”  

Greaves, as I noted in an analysis of his strategy back in 2020, as turned the Satanic Temple into a military vehicle of the culture war (he responded on Twitter to the article saying he was pleased with the characterization).

There are several aspects of these events that have gone largely unremarked on. The first, of course, is the spiritual aspect. I don’t know if Greaves actually believe Satan exists, but he does — and plenty of Satanists do. In the 2019 documentary Hail Satan?, which was disturbingly popular, the Satanists — some insisting all the while that all of their worship is merely an attempt to force Christianity out of the public square and legalize abortion while celebrating Satan’s rebellious spirit — engage in bizarre rituals such as slamming a severed pig’s head on a massive spike. Whether or not Greaves and his co-religionists fully realize it, they are toying with dark and powerful forces.  

The other reality is that the Satanic Temple is highlighting the extent to which a classically liberal system must be underpinned by a religious worldview if it is to mean anything at all. The American founders wrote the Constitution for a Christian people. (For those interested, I had a conversation with Baylor University professor Dr. Mark Hall on his book Did America Have a Christian Founding? that definitively answers that question). John Adams famously observed that, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Without Christian values governing the behavior of the public, Adams noted, the “strongest cords of our Constitution” would break “as a whale goes through a net.” 

The reality is that as America becomes increasingly post-Christian, the Constitution increasingly becomes merely a piece of paper to be used and exploited by those who can use the freedoms championed by the founders for genuinely demonic ends. When the Christian military officer entered the Iowa State Capitol and beheaded the Satanic idol, he was on the wrong side of the law—the Satanists had set up their idol with government permission. America is no longer Christian, and thus the best liberalism can do is protect any “religion” with total neutrality, granting tax-exempt status to those who worship both Christ and the Devil. Lucien Greaves and his Satanists have recognized this with glee, and their actions are exposing the moral bankruptcy of our political system.  

Religious liberty laws were created to protect Christians from the government — but in the absence of a Christian population or recognition of America’s Christian founding, they can be used to protect Satanic shrines in government buildings. What then? I suspect that Michael Cassidy’s answer to that question is the only one we’ve got.  

One thought on “Former Navy pilot beheads Satanic idol set up in Iowa Capitol

  1. Adam says:

    Trent Horn also has commentary on this incident. I recommend that you watch/read it.

    I agree with Trent that most satanists don’t actually believe in a spiritual satan, but rather use satan as an irreverent symbol to mock Christians and one-up the Judeo- Christian God on various modern, secularist sensibilities on issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

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