Michael Cassidy, a veteran and former politician, made national news in mid-December after he decapitated a statue of satan that had been placed in the Iowa Capitol Building. For that act, he’s now facing a hate crime charge.
According to local reports, Cassidy is being charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor under the state’s hate crime statute.
Court documents show a former political candidate is now facing a hate crime charge for damaging a Satanic Temple display beyond repair at the Iowa Capitol in December.
Michael Cassidy, a Republican who ran for a seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.
New court documents accuse him of violating part of Iowa’s hate crime statute.
On its face, it’s absurd that destroying a statue of satan would qualify as a hate crime, but here we are. The Founding Fathers would have taken a bat to the statue themselves were they still alive. It does beg the question, though, of whether religious freedom requires the acknowledgment and protection of “religions” that are obviously not religions.
Even the people who put up the statue admit they don’t believe in satan and were just doing it to abuse religious freedom laws.
The organization responsible for the display said they don’t actually believe in Satan, but the display was a symbol of its right to religious freedom.
Not being a moral relativist, I’m perfectly comfortable with acknowledging what satanism is, which is just an elaborate troll of Christians. I feel no obligation to humor them by pretending anything they do qualifies as a religious activity. Libertarians will wince at that, but I don’t think the country is placed in any danger by using common sense when it comes to this topic.
So what’s Cassidy facing? The maximum sentence allowed is up to one year in prison and several thousand dollars in fines. Of note is that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has the power to pardon anyone convicted in a state court outside of treason and impeachment. Whether she can preemptively pardon someone the way a president can is less clear. Will she jump into the fray after calling the statue “objectionable?”
This entire ordeal is dumb. The statue never should have been allowed in the first place. Further, the leniency applied to those tearing down statues of Thomas Jefferson and the like can’t be ignored. Are we really a country that lets people off for destroying works of art but charges people with hate crimes for damaging a statue of satan made of tin foil and a goat’s head? I guess we are.