FACT CHECK: Did Iceland Declare That All Religions Were Mental Illnesses?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Iceland declared that religious faith was “delusional and harmful.”

Verdict: False

The claim stems from a satirical article. A spokesperson for the country’s Ministry of Affairs confirmed the claim was false

Fact Check:

The Facebook image claims Iceland declared every religion, such as Christianity and Islam, a mental illness. “Iceland officially states religious faith is delusional and harmful,” reads the post’s caption. The subheadline states the country declared religions “to be psychological disorders.”

“Stating the truth & nothing but the truth,,” the post’s caption claims. (RELATED: Did The Military Times Publish This Headline About COVID-19 Vaccines?)

This claim is not true. There are no press releases on the Icelandic government’s website or on their respective social media accounts announcing such a policy. Likewise, there are no news reports suggesting the country’s government is now classifying religion as a mental illness.

Furthermore, Iceland has an official church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is “supported and protected by the State,” according to the Iceland government’s website. The site also states that all citizens have “the option of declining membership of a formal religious organization.”

“This is false, there is no truth to this claim,” Áslaug Karen Jóhannsdóttir, a representative for Iceland’s Ministry of Affairs, confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email.

The claim appears to have originated from a January 2020 article published on Patheos. The article was published on Patheos’ “Laughing in Belief” blog, which states stories written on the block are satirical. “Think of Laughing in Disbelief as The Onion on drugs. Like meth. Or bath salts,” the website’s description reads.

This isn’t the first time a satirical article has been circulated on social media as a real report. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps changed its method off execution.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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