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Man Charged With Wrecking Satanic Temple's Iowa State Capitol Display: 'Beyond Repair'

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A Mississippi man has been charged for allegedly vandalizing the Satanic Temple of Iowa's holiday display located in the state's Capitol building.

Earlier this month, The Satanic Temple (TST) sparked controversy when it put up the display that featured Satanic symbols including a ram's head covered with mirror-like material placed on a mannequin dressed in a dark-red cloak. It held a pentangle displayed with red and black ribbons. The figure stood behind a box or altar containing rows of electric candles featuring the TST logo. 

TST organizers were planning to take the display down Friday morning, but found it "destroyed beyond repair."

Michael Cassidy, 35, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and has since been released from jail, The Iowa Department of Public Safety reported. 

As CBN News reported, Lucien Greaves, a spokesman and co-founder of TST, said previously the display was a symbol of the right to religious freedom. 

But Gov. Kim Reynolds called it "absolutely objectionable."

"Like many Iowans, I find the Satanic Temple's display in the Capitol absolutely objectionable," Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. "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 and recognizing the nativity scene that will be on display – the true reason for the season." 

Shellie Flockhart, organized a prayer meeting opposing the display earlier this week. She told KCCI that the display was "a very dark, evil force" and a reminder that "spiritual warfare is real." 

"There are evil, satanic forces that are trying to infiltrate our state," she added. 

She told the outlet she feels Cassidy is standing up for Iowa and the nation. 

The Satanic Temple of Iowa posted the following message to the group's Facebook page on Thursday:

"This morning, we were informed by authorities that the Baphomet statue in our holiday display was destroyed beyond repair. We are proud to continue our holiday display for the next few days that we have been allotted... Solve et Coagula! Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!" 

The BBC reports that Satanic Latin phrase "Solve et Coagula" is about Satan trying to usurp the spiritual powers of "binding and loosing" in order to take them away from God. 
Meanwhile, Iowa GOP lawmakers are pushing legislation to ban satanic displays on state-owned property.

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.