Iceland has not declared that all religions are mental disorders

27 February 2020
What was claimed

Iceland has declared all religions are mental disorders.

Our verdict

This is false and originated from satirical article online. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the official state church of Iceland.

An article claiming that Iceland has declared all religions are mental disorders, and that religious faith is “delusional and harmful” has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. This is false, and while the article in question was written as satire, not everyone seems to have realised this, with some Facebook users commenting on the story as though it was real.  

A screenshot of the article headline, which crops out  any indication that the story is satire, has also been shared.   

The story was originally published on the Patheos website in January. Patheos says its aim is to “explore the world’s faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality”, and has a section on its website called “Laughing in Disbelief”.  

The writer of the stories in “Laughing in Disbelief” and of this particular article, Andrew Hall, has confirmed all articles posted in this section are satirical. This is where the story about Iceland was published. A tag at the bottom of the article says “Satire”.Even without knowing that the article was intended as satire, there are other clues that the story is not factual.

It includes a quote from Iceland’s Prime Minister Andrew Kanard. Since November 2017, the Prime Minister of Iceland has been Katrín Jakobsdóttir. There has never been any Icelandic Prime Minister by the name Andrew Kanard.

The government of Iceland’s website states the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church and “shall be supported and protected by the state”.

As well as saying Iceland has declared all religions to be mental disorders, the Patheos story claims Iceland has mandated mental health warnings on all Bibles and banned American televangelists. This links to two other articles published on “Laughing in Disbelief” in 2017 which, as explained above, are also satirical.

It also links to another article on the same section listing all religious practices banned by Iceland. This is also satire.

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