Hate crime charge for man who vandalized Satanic Temple display

The man who destroyed the Satanic Temple's display at the Iowa Capitol is now charged with a hate crime. The Des Moines Register reports that Michael Cassidy, a former congressional candidate from Mississippi, won an upgrade to his criminal mischief charge due to his plainly-stated motives.

"Evidence shows the defendant made statements to law enforcement and the public indicating he destroyed the property because of the victim's religion," triggering the violation of individual rights enhancement, said Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Polk County Attorney's Office.

The Lauderdale, Mississippi, man's right-wing press tour after his arrest, in which he said things like "My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted," handed prosecutors a book to throw at him. He's getting paid, though, on the notoriety, as like minds rush to give him money: he raised more than $84,000 from nearly 2,000 supporters, reports the Register.

The Satanic Temple display existed because lawmakers wanted Christian displays in the building, and the First Amendment required them to allow other faiths to do likewise—a part of the U.S. Constitution that some conservative politicians would like done away with.