FACT CHECK: No, Joe Biden Has Not Banned Talking About The Bible

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims President Joe Biden has purportedly banned talking about the Bible.

Verdict: False

The claim is false. USA Today debunked the claim via a May 17 article, citing a First Amendment expert who labeled the claim as “unconstitutional.” Another First Amendment expert also labeled the claim as “unconstitutional” in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

Biden and former President Donald Trump are almost tied at 36.5 and 36.6% support, respectively, according to a new NH Journal/Praecones Analytica poll, The Hill reported. Trump also has “approximately a 10- to 12-point lead” over Biden among younger voters, according to the same poll, the outlet indicated.

Spanish-language text overlay on an image of Biden shared via Facebook claims he has purportedly banned talking about the Bible. The image has received over 100 likes as of writing.

The claim is false, however. Biden has not issued an executive order to ban the Bible. There is also no reference to the claim on the “Presidential Actions” page of the White House website. Likewise, the claim does not appear on the White House’s verified social media accounts, Biden’s personal X account, or his government X account. (RELATED: Instagram Post Falsely Claims Kristi Noem Banned The Sale Of Watermelon Slices In South Dakota)

In addition, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to support the claim. Actually, the opposite is true. USA Today debunked the claim via a May 17 article, citing a First Amendment expert who labeled the claim as “unconstitutional.”

Caroline Mala Corbin, a law professor and First Amendment expert at the University of Miami School of Law, told USA Today that if the President banned the Bible, it would violate the First Amendment.

“Any attempt to ban ordinary citizens from buying or reading or talking about the Bible would violate the Free Speech Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the freedom of speech from government censorship,” Mala Corbin explained to the outlet.

Dr. Joseph Russomanno, a professor emeritus of journalism at Arizona State University, also said the claim is “unconstitutional” via an email to Check Your Fact.

“First, it is vital to note that this is an example of mis/disinformation. It stems from President Biden poking fun at the version of the Bible that Donald Trump is selling. There was nothing more to it – no ban of anything having to do with the Bible. Keep in mind that this would be contrary to Mr. Biden’s deep religious beliefs,” Russomanno said.

“Second, no government official, including a president, could ban anyone from talking about the Bible or anything else. Such an effort would be unconstitutional, a direct violation of the First Amendment, and on a couple of levels. It would violate both the clauses that assure speech and religious freedom. When it comes to speech freedom, this would amount to what is called a content-based regulation – that is, one that tries to ban speech about a specific topic. That is especially problematic in the eyes of the First Amendment.”

“Though this is not at issue here, let’s acknowledge one caveat. The First Amendment protects both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Therefore, because a government official who advocates religion and specific religious beliefs arguably violates the First Amendment rights of others, it is conceivable that discouraging speech by those in the government about religion could be prudent, intended to prevent violations of constitutional principles,” he added.

Check Your Fact has contacted the White House for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

This is not the first time a false claim about Biden has circulated online. Check Your Fact previously debunked a TikTok video that claimed a crowd made an explicit chant aimed at Biden when he left church on Mother’s Day 2024.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter