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The Satanic Temple altar that had been placed in the Iowa state capitol has now been destroyed. The controversy all began when the altar was allowed to be displayed in the Capitol building in Des Moines. The altar was adorned with the “seven fundamental tenets” of the Satanic Temple, as well as an effigy of a Baphomet, a pagan image normally associated with Satan than includes a bull’s head atop a man’s body. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds stated that although she found the display “objectionable,” it was a matter of free speech. “In a free society, the best response to objectionable speech is more speech,” she said at a press release. She encouraged other Christians to join her in prayer. “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.” One critic of the altar was presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, who stated the Trump administration had wrongly allowed the Satanic Temple to gain tax-exempt status. “It very well may be because of that ruling under Donald Trump that they may have had a legal leg to stand on. My view would be that’s not a religion that the Founding Fathers were trying to create,” he said.

The display was due to be up for two weeks, but was destroyed by a 35-year-old Mississippi man by the name of Michael Cassidy. Cassidy tore down the altar and beheaded the Baphomet, throwing it in the trash. “It was extremely anti-Christian,” Cassidy told Fox News of his decision to destroy the display. Speaking to The Sentinel, Cassidy said his own faith had prompted him. “My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.” He has been arrested and charged with fourth degree criminal mischief. If convicted, Cassidy could face one year of prison time and a fine of $2,560. The Satanic Temple reported that the altar had been destroyed “beyond repair.” “We ask that for safety, visitors travel together and use the 7 Tenets as a reminder for empathy, in the knowledge that justice is being pursued the correct way, through legal means. Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!” the group wrote.

Conservative response to the act has been mostly positive, with DeSantis sharing he would “chip in” to help pay Cassidy’s legal fees. “Satan has no place in our society and should not be recognized as a ‘religion’ by the federal government,” DeSantis wrote in support of Cassidy. Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk contributed $10,000 to the GiveSendGo set up by The Sentinel in support of Cassidy. The original goal was to raise $20,000. To date, the fund has raised over $75,000. A note on the site states that Cassidy’s legal defense team will challenge further investigation and that expenses were expected to be higher than $20,000. Any excess funds will be directed to a Christian charity of Cassidy’s choice. Cassidy has expressed his gratitude for the support he has received on X.

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