Monday 26 February 2024

John MacArthur defends Navy veteran who toppled satanic altar in Iowa Capitol: 'Noble stand'

Former political candidate faces hate crime charge for damaging Satanic  Temple display

Pastor John MacArthur recently praised the U.S. Navy veteran who is facing criminal charges for toppling a satanic altar near a Nativity scene in the Iowa state Capitol last December.

Michael Cassidy was charged with felony mischief and a hate crime last month for pushing over the display that was erected by The Satanic Temple of Iowa and featured a red-cloaked Baphomet statue in front of a candle-lit altar adorned with the seven "Fundamental Tenets" of the organization. 

Responding to a congregant who likened Cassidy's act to Gideon tearing down the altar of Baal, MacArthur said during a question-and-answer session at Grace Community Church last week that he "absolutely" supports what Cassidy did, but noted he will have to face negative consequences in a society that increasingly rewards evil and punishes righteousness.

"You have to take the consequences if you do it, but that was a noble thing to do," MacArthur said. "That was something that he felt very deeply in his heart."

"What are they doing having an altar to Satan in a state public building?" MacArthur continued. "That is the offense. The offense isn't that it was removed, the offense is that it was there. But it demonstrates where the culture is, that he gets punished, not the people who set it up."

"So you have to understand you can do that, but you will have to take the consequences, and the consequences have turned on him," he added. "But we see this in a lot of things: that the people who are doing what is right are the ones being punished. That's the nature of our society. I think that kind of a noble stand is almost biblical to do that."

Cassidy, a former GOP candidate for the Mississippi House of Representatives, was initially cited with fourth-degree mischief — a misdemeanor — when he turned himself into authorities immediately after tossing the Baphomet statue's silver goat head in the trash on Dec. 14.

The Polk County Attorney's Office subsequently enhanced the charge to third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights, a Class D felony under Iowa's hate crime statute, according to a Jan. 30 statement.

"Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim's religion," the Polk County Attorney's Office said at the time, adding that the estimated repair costs for the Baphomet statue made of pool noodles were between $750 and $1,500.

Cassidy maintained during an interview with The Christian Post in December that he did the right thing.

In an apparent reference to people such as Republican Iowa state Rep. Jon Dunwell, a pastor who argued the government has no right to discriminate between Christmas and satanic displays on government property, Cassidy suggested Christians who believe the U.S. Constitution protects a satanic altar are "overcomplicating" blatant evil that they should be resisting.

"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.

"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's legal defense fund has raised more than $130,000 as of Monday.