Christian Vet Who Destroyed Satan Statue Files To Dismiss Hate Crime Charge +Faces Two Years in Prison

Months after former congressional candidate and Christian nationalist hero Michael Cassidy was charged with a hate crime for destroying the Baphomet statue erected by the Satanic Temple at the Iowa Capitol last December, the lauded veteran filed a motion to dismiss the felony charge against him, arguing that it’s unconstitutional because the Satanic Temple isn’t a real religion. 

After the 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, the 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.

While he was initially charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, charges which should have resulted in a simple fine and a slap on the wrist, Polk County prosecutors charged him with felony third-degree criminal mischief with a hate crime enhancement, which is punishable by up to two years in prison. 

The trial is scheduled for May, and Cassidy has crowdfunded over $130,000 for his defense. 

Last Friday, Cassidy’s defense attorney Sara Pasquale, argued against the hate-crime enhancement, with the Des Moines Register explaining:

Pasquale contends the law, which governs crimes motivated by “the person’s (victim’s) race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability,” does not apply to damage to a display owned by the Satanic Temple because the organization is a legal entity, not a person, and cannot have a race, sex or disability, or practice a religion.

“It could never be said, save in Wonderland, that Best Buy is Buddhist,” Pasquale wrote.

She further argued that the Satanic Temple is not a religion for purposes of the statute. Religion entails “a system of faith and worship,” Pasquale wrote, citing multiple dictionaries, while the Satanic Temple of Iowa specifically disavows “a belief in a personal Satan.” Pasquale points to comments by a temple leader, quoted in a Dec. 16 Register article, to debunk the “common misconception” that “the Satanic Temple is a theistic religion that worships Satan as an entity.”

Poll Country prosecutors have yet to respond to the filing.

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