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Former Mississippi congressional and...

Former Mississippi congressional and legislative candidate arrested in Iowa for beheading Satanic Temple statue

By: Frank Corder - December 15, 2023

(Photo from X/Twitter)

Michael Cassidy, a former Mississippi congressional and legislative candidate, is being touted as a Christian hero after he was arrested this week in Iowa for beheading a statue at the state’s Capitol erected by The Satanic Temple.

Cassidy reportedly decapitated the statue and turned himself to police on Thursday. He was charged with fourth degree criminal mischief. He then promoted an online legal defense fund where he’s raised upwards of $20,000 as of Thursday night, according to his X account.

“Truly humbled by y’alls support. We raised the $20k we were looking for in just a couple hours. I directed the campaign to be paused – we have enough for now,” Cassidy wrote on X.

No reason for Cassidy being in Iowa has been reported.

Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk shared the happenings with his 2.7 million followers on X, saying:

Michael Cassidy just beheaded a monument to Satan inside the Iowa State Capitol building. The Satanic Temple of Iowa is pressing charges and Cassidy is facing fourth-degree criminal mischief.

Turning Point USA is proud to pledge $10,000 to his legal defense fund.

We stand with Satan Slayer VoteCassidy [Cassidy’s X handle].

Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire also weighed in, posting, “Just chipped in 1000 dollars. Donate here to help this Christian warrior.”

Other prominent conservative activists and commentators are calling on Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, to pardon Cassidy.

Ben Zeisloft with The Sentinel broke the story. The publication also “hosted” the fundraiser for Cassidy’s defense fund. The Sentinel led with the headline, “Christian tears down and beheads Satan shrine in Iowa Capitol: Michael Cassidy, a Christian and former military officer, pushed over and decapitated the statue before he discarded the head in a trash can.”

According to The Sentinel:

Members of the Satanic Temple of Iowa recently received permission to install the exhibit, which included a statue depicting the idol Baphomet holding a pentacle and surrounded by candles, on the first floor of the Iowa Capitol near displays of the Nativity. Cassidy pushed over and decapitated the statue before he discarded the head in a trash can.

Cassidy said in comments exclusively provided to The Sentinel that he destroyed the shrine on Thursday in order to “awaken Christians to the anti-Christian acts promoted by our government.”

“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 told The Sentinel. “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.”

Cassidy, a Maryland native who now resides in Mississippi as a flight instructor, ran for Congress in the 3rd District in 2022. He pushed incumbent Congressman Michael Guest to a runoff in the Republican Primary before losing 67% to 33%. He then ran unsuccessfully this year for the Legislature, vying for House District 45. Cassidy was unopposed in the Republican Primary in August but lost the November General Election to Democrat Keith Jackson by a vote of 55% to 38% in the three-man contest.

During the 2022 congressional campaign, Cassidy’s residency, voting history, and campaign rhetoric all drew scrutiny, especially after the political newcomer pushed Guest to a runoff, surprising nearly every pundit in the state.

According to an interview in June 2022, Cassidy said he has resided in Mississippi since 2016 but changed his voter registration approximately a year prior once he was off active duty from the U.S. Navy. He said he returned to Pensacola, Florida to vote during those years before changing his voter registration to Mississippi, adding that he voted in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections in Florida while residing in Mississippi.

Over the course of the 2022 congressional race, Cassidy made statements that raised eyebrows, such as proposing the creation of a maternal leave program with five years of benefits, wanting the government to provide newlyweds with a $20,000 wedding gift to be paid back if the couple divorced, and having the government give married citizens a $250/month stipend for children under 10 and $500/month for children 10-17. After receiving backlash for these proposals, Cassidy’s team scrubbed the candidate’s website and removed all references to the statements.

The Sentinel reports that Cassidy will be represented in the Iowa matter by Davis Younts, an attorney and retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served in the JAG Corps.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: frank@magnoliatribune.com