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Washington, Dec 15 – The Satanic Temple of Iowa said that their public display of the deity Baphomet in the US state’s capitol building was destroyed beyond repair, following controversy over the religious exhibition.

“This morning, we were informed by authorities that the Baphomet statue in our holiday display was destroyed beyond repair,” the Satanic Temple of Iowa said on Thursday in a statement via social media. “Happy Holidays! Hail Satan!”

Earlier in the week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds called the display “objectionable,” but also defended the Satanic Temple’s right to freedom of speech and religion. Reynolds encouraged people to pray over the Iowa Capitol in response.

Former US Navy pilot Michael Cassidy took responsibility for vandalizing the display by beheading the Baphomet statue.

“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,” Cassidy said in a statement.

The founder of conservative organization Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, said that the group will contribute $10,000 to Cassidy’s legal defense fund. Cassidy is facing criminal mischief charges for his actions, Kirk said.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.