Do We Live in a Two-Tiered Justice System?

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“Violent activists [in 2020] tore down dozens of statues including Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. None were held accountable or charged with a hate crime,” popular X account Libs of TikTok recounted last week.

“Michael Cassidy knocks over a Satan statue made out of household items and gets charged with a hate crime,” the post continued.

“Welcome to America’s 2-tier-justice system. … Wokeness and Satanism is the new religion.”

It’s hard to fault this sobering assessment.

For readers unfamiliar with the story, Michael Cassidy is a U.S. Navy veteran who turned himself over to police last December after destroying a Satanic statue erected in the Iowa Capitol building.

The statue—which depicted a ram-headed, caped figure resembling the Satanic deity Baphomet—was part of a shrine that also listed the “seven fundamental tenets” of Satanism. It had been installed by the Satanic Temple, bizarrely, as part of the Iowa Capitol’s seasonal Christmas display.

At the time, Iowa’s Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said that, while she found the display “absolutely objectionable,” the principles of free speech and freedom of religion demanded that even Satanism was welcome in Iowa’s statehouse.

Michael Cassidy saw otherwise. In a conscious act of civil disobedience, he knocked the statue down, threw its head in the trash, and submitted himself to any legal consequences that would follow.

“I saw this blasphemous statue and was outraged,” he later told The Sentinel. “My conscience is held captive to the word of God, not to bureaucratic decree. And so I acted.”

“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.”

An update to Cassidy’s case came last week when The Blaze reported he had been charged with “third-degree criminal mischief in violation of individual rights, a class D felony, according to Iowa Code Section 729A.2.”—or in common parlance, a “hate crime.”

That Cassidy was charged for his infraction is—in our current cultural climate at least—not particularly outrageous.

What is outrageous, as highlighted by Libs of TikTok, is that in the overwhelming majority of cases, Black Lives Matter rioters were never held accountable for their widespread, wanton destruction of centuries-old monuments paid for by the public purse that honored not Satan but America’s esteemed founders.

Whether you agree or disagree with Cassidy’s actions, there appears to be a double standard at work here. Tearing down a Satanic statue results in felony charges while tearing down historical statues has no consequences.

Similar stark comparisons were drawn last week between an illegal immigrant who gave reporters the middle finger as he was released without bail in New York City after assaulting a police officer—and a family man who was convicted for praying outside an abortion clinic and now faces over a decade in prison.

In all, six pro-life protesters were convicted last week on the same charges, with four more scheduled to stand trial.

The words of the prophet Isaiah spring readily to mind: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

As I recently highlighted at Intellectual Takeout, a report published late last year revealed a 44-percent rise in anti-Christian hate crimes across Europe, driven mainly by far-left groups, and fueled in part by legislative developments hostile to people of faith.

While it might be argued that Americans still enjoy more religious freedom than Europeans, an equally alarming study covering the United States was published last month.

Compiled by the Center for Religious Liberty, the report documented 168 incidents of anti-Christian hate or discrimination that have taken place over the last four years in 16 different Western nations, 58 of which occurred in the U.S.

Alarmingly, the report’s authors singled out governments as the predominant antagonists.

“These stories are alarming and show the diverse ways Western governments—which ought to be the standard bearers for upholding freedom of religion and expression—are undermining the fundamental human right to religious freedom,” the report’s executive summary reads.

It is true that the Bible instructs Christians to endure persecution with grace and fortitude. “Bless those who persecute you,” Romans 12:14 declares, in words that summarize well Scripture’s take on the topic (see also Matthew 5:10–12, 1 Peter 4:12–14 and 1 Peter 3:14).

However, Christians are also told in Scripture that “The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him” (Proverbs 11:1).

“Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly,” Leviticus 19:15 declares.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed,” Isaiah 1:17 affirms.

In a representative republic—or what Abraham Lincoln famously described as a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”—surely Christians have an imperative to see fairness and justice upheld by those they have elected to lead them.

Christians are likewise told to pray for their political leaders in order that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1–2).

If for no other reason, Christians seek to preserve religious freedom in the West for the love of those who flee to our shores searching for safe harbor from ruthless persecution. If freedom of religion falls here, where will they go?

The injustices taking place in America today are bad for everyone and fall far short of the biblical ideal.

But the good news is that, in a nation like the one Lincoln described, it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Image credit: Unsplash