Iowa Baphomet Gets Bonifaced

A recent petition by the Satanic Temple of Iowa, under the guidelines of the Iowa legislature, allowed Satanists to place an idol of Baphomet, a winged, goat-headed, trans-human figure, on display in the vicinity of nativity displays on the first floor of the Iowa Capital.

The display drew the ire of many Christians, who lamented the blasphemy of placing an idol in the capitol as a sign of the impending judgment of God upon the nation. Many conservative Republicans, while lamenting the statue as blasphemous, defended the existence of the display on the grounds of constitutional freedom of religious expression.

Republican State Representative and former pastor Jon Dunwell defended the statue’s presence, arguing that the Christian battle is not physical and that he didn’t want the state to evaluate and determine the validity of religions.

“As I continue to hear from Christians on the issue of the Satanic Temple display at the Iowa Capitol, I have found myself shocked at what I believe is a misunderstanding of basic Biblical concepts of the Kingdom of Jesus. It is not a physical kingdom defined by boundaries and nationality….. It is a spiritual kingdom led by Jesus, filled with those who have been transformed by His Spirit’s presence in their lives. The concepts in the Old Testament regarding the nation of Israel, we are called to incorporate in this spiritual kingdom. For example, we tear down the places of idolatry in our hearts. We are not called to physically tear down false places of worship. The battle we fight is primarily spiritual and not physical. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. Therefore, our primary response needs to be spiritual and not physical…. As an American I reject the concept of Christian nationalism on constitutional grounds. As a Christian I reject the concept of Christian nationalism on Biblical grounds.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a self-described conservative Christian, echoed the sentiment of Dunwell, praising those who joined a vigil around the nativity in response to the Satanic display while defending the free speech rights of Satanists.

The statement by Reynolds shows the tension between Biblical Christianity and the kind of “principled pluralism” espoused by many Republican politicians who adopt this position to gain the mass appeal of voters. Less than a week before the nativity vigil, Reynolds wished the Jewish community a Happy Hanukkah, making another vague reference to good triumphing over evil.

On Thursday, December 14, Michael Cassidy, a Christian, Navy Reserve Instructor Pilot and self-described America First Conservative, walked into the Iowa capital building and smashed Baphomet, decapitating the idol before stuffing its head into a nearby trashcan.

Cassidy promptly turned himself into capital police and was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, as charges were pressed by the Satanic Temple. In an interview with The Sentinel, Cassidy explained his motive for wrecking Baphomet.

“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. 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.”

In a statement given at the time of his arrest, Cassidy answered the charges:

“I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged… My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”

Cassidy’s actions, while in defiance of the Radical Two Kingdoms Ideology of many American evangelicals, are reminiscent of those of the 8th-century missionary Boniface. When confronted with the fact that the Saxons had cultivated a type of syncretism that allowed for the worship of Jesus as one of the many gods in the pantheon, Boniface took an axe to their theory, chopping down Thor’s tree, a pagan shrine, in an act that showed the impotence of the pluralistic pantheon of the Saxon’s. Rubbing the noses of the pagans in their idolatry, Boniface used the wood of Thor’s tree to construct a church. 

While many of the “mostly peaceful protestors” of 2020 who destroyed statues escaped prosecution, it is likely that Michael Cassidy will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for his actions. The act of smashing idols in the Iowa Capital will undoubtedly be at the center of the “Christian Nationalism” debate in the days to come. However, one thing is certain: Baphomet, a mere creation of idolaters, is just as weak as Baal, and he won’t be defending himself or his adherents. 

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

    the work of human hands.

 They have mouths, but do not speak;

    they have eyes, but do not see;

 they have ears, but do not hear,

    nor is there any breath in their mouths.

Those who make them become like them,

    so do all who trust in them.

Psalm 135:15-18

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5 thoughts on “Iowa Baphomet Gets Bonifaced

  1. An idol of Baphomet, an idol of Jesus in nativity scenes is just the same. One a violation of the first commandment, the other a violation of the second commandment.

  2. This guy violated man’s laws and will be legally punished for striking down this symbol of unadulterated evil. I am pleased to contribute to his defense.

  3. You are pleased to contribute to lawlessness. God explicitly forbids Christians from vengeance. It is no private individual’s place to destroy the property of others. The destruction of idols belongs to the civil magistrate, not to private citizens (except idols which private citizens themselves own; they can and must destroy what is in their own jurisdiction). The problem with America is that the US Constitution does not empower the civil magistrate to enforce the moral law, and thus to destroy idols and every public display of any non-Christian religion. The US Constitution guarantees the freedom of all speech and religion (which is a high-handed affront and rebellion against Almighty God).

    1. Classifying this as “vengeance” is silly. Who is being punished? What is being avenged? It’s all a stretch.

      I suppose you oppose boycotts, as they are another form of vengeance? No, no, that can’t be. Otherwise your opposition would be vengeance against my vengeance against Netflix. Confusing!

  4. CW, Webster’s dictionary defines vengeance as “punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense.” Cassidy stated, “I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged.” He took vengeance upon the statue to which he took offense. Perhaps your reading comprehension or grammar is off?

    It is the duty of the civil magistrate, not private citizens, to inflict punishment upon evildoers. For a private citizen to take it upon himself to carry out the duty of the state is a crime, condemned both by God and the laws of this country.

    If we had truly God-honoring civil magistrates who were loyal to God’s moral law instead of the US Constitution, they would have destroyed this and all idolatrous displays—including nativity scenes which break the Second Commandment.

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