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Christian Veteran Takes Down Iowa Satanic Display, Claims Detractors Are ‘Overcomplicating’ Evil

December 22, 2023









The U.S. Navy veteran who toppled a satanic display in the Iowa State Capitol told The Christian Post that his detractors defending it on constitutional grounds are “overcomplicating” the situation and should stand firm against spiritual evil.

Matthew Cassidy, 35, made headlines last week when he pushed over a red-cloaked Baphomet statue erected near a Nativity scene in the Capitol rotunda, as first reported by The Republic Sentinel. He tossed its silver goat head in the trash before turning himself in to authorities, who issued him a citation for fourth-degree criminal mischief.

His legal defense fund has raised more than $80,000 as of Friday.

The Baphomet figure, constructed with pool noodles, had been erected by the Iowa chapter of The Satanic Temple. The display also featured a candle-lit altar adorned with the seven “Fundamental Tenets” of the organization, which claims not to believe in a personal devil.

Cassidy, who unsuccessfully ran for the Mississippi House of Representatives this year, told CP that he bought a plane ticket from Mississippi to Des Moines on Wednesday, toppled the statue the next day, and then flew back. When he encountered the display in person, he said it was more disturbing than the pictures of it online.

Claiming he didn’t initially intend to rip down the display when he saw it, Cassidy said he eyed the open doors near the statue and considered just slipping out but felt compelled to do something.

“I don’t want to have the conversation with Jesus someday and have Him say, ‘Hey, there was this statue, and you knew it was wrong for it to be up there, but you were afraid of worldly things and worldly consequences, and you were ashamed of me and my opposition to the devil,'” he said.

“The world tells us to be ashamed of God, and He tells us not to be,” Cassidy recounted his thoughts that day. “So that’s when I made the decision, which was pretty much right before I took it down.”

The display had prompted debate among Republican state legislators regarding whether it should be removed. Iowa state Rep. Brad Sherman, a Christian pastor, argued that the display violated the Iowa State Constitution and appealed to Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to take it down.

State Rep. Jon Dunwell, also a pastor, posted a viral thread on X saying that while he personally finds the altar “objectionable” and “classified as evil,” he does not believe it to be the government’s place to arbitrate religion.

“For me, I would rather have an evil, blasphemous display or no display at all than have the state dictate what they think is appropriate,” Dunwell told CP in an interview last week.

Cassidy believes arguments such as Dunwell’s are a misinterpretation of the Constitution and the intentions of those who wrote it.

“The people who wrote our Constitution would be shocked to think of defending Satan as consistent with their beliefs when they wrote the laws that govern our nation,” he said.








Simply because Satanists filled out a government form and checked the right boxes does not mean their display deserves to be equivalent to a Nativity scene and displayed on government property, Cassidy argued.

“People start overcomplicating the truth, which is that God is great and should be honored, and the devil is evil and should not be honored,” he said. “I think people are tying themselves in knots trying to justify it, and it’s really a lot simpler than that.”

Cassidy noted that legal arguments possessing “a lot more intellectual heft” than he can offer have backed him up, but he maintained that his moral argument is not complex.

“The devil is evil, and we should not pretend or act as if he is equal to a Nativity scene,” he said.

Citing Mark 8:38, when Jesus Christ warned that anyone ashamed of Him will be ashamed on Judgment Day, Cassidy hopes that what he did would galvanize Christians to push back against the increasing torrent of anti-Christian sentiment in American culture.

“I want Christians to reinvigorate their faith,” he said. “I want them to not be ashamed of standing up for God and to joyfully spread the Gospel. Whether it’s talking to their friends or their family members who maybe haven’t gone to church in a while or have fallen away from the faith, I want them to start having these conversations and to get churches full again. That’s what I want.”

Without going into detail, Cassidy said he has been subject to spiritual attack and negativity since toppling the satanic statue but emphasized that he has also been flooded with “great support” and hopes the Satanists responsible for the display can someday come to faith.

“It’s just a daily reminder that the devil is real, even if not all of them believe it,” he said of Satanists. “Some of them really do believe in Satan, a lot of them don’t. A lot of them are atheists and just think that this is all a joke, and they’re so wrong.”

“I hope that that they see the error of their ways and that they can they can learn about Jesus one day,” he added. “That’s my hope.”



Culled from The Christian Post

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