A satirical article by Patheos, which states that the Icelandic Parliament has declared all religions to be a psychological disorder, is being circulated online as real.
The article, headlined as, 'Iceland Declares All Religions Are Mental Disorders' has been published in the 'Laughing In Disbelief' section of the website. Patheos publishes articles from religious and non-religious perspectives.
The story states that Iceland has taken the step of declaring religion as a mental disorder after voting to feature 'mental health warnings in the Bibles' and banning American televangelists. According to the article, the representatives voted in favour of the statute to include health warnings in the Bible and won in a whooping majority.
An excerpt from the article reads:
"This small island country in the North Atlantic is home to many controversies. The country's parliament voted in 2017 to place mental health warnings on all Bibles. In that same year, the nation took another secular step forward by banning American televangelists. Iceland is now declaring all religions to be psychological disorders. The Alþingi (the nation's parliament) voted overwhelmingly in favor of the statute 60-3. The three politicians who voted against the decree reportedly believed the measure didn't go far enough."
It also carries an anonymous quote by an Icelandic representative who states, "We don't want to end up like the United States or Saudi Arabia, do we?"
BOOM found multiple netizens who believed it to be true, by terming it as a 'revolutionary step.'
Iceland: all religions are mental disorders— Kaustubh Chandra (@kauz_i_say_so) January 23, 2020
India: my mental disorder is better than your mental disorderhttps://t.co/N5COMm3XfJ
Revolutionary step taken by Iceland but instead they should have declared that all the religious leaders r Mentally sick.— Harjndersingh (Nehruvian ) (@Hajindersingh2) January 25, 2020
For me religion is personal belief but show off is mental disorder. https://t.co/cqkeTc3siC
BOOM was able to ascertain that the article is a satire, as no such development was reported in the mainstream media.
Furthermore, the article features in the Laughing In Disbelief section of the website, which produces satirical content. The article had also been tagged with satire as keywords. Below is a screenshot of the same.
In fact, the story has links to other absurd articles which are satire. A few of the articles listed below can also be seen on the page:
- Reading the Bible can cause an outbreak of Donald Trump
- The prohibition of Christians from entering sites such as Starbucks and libraries in Iceland
BOOM also found the author of Patheos' 'Laughing In Disbelief' column, Andrew Hall, who has described all his work as pieces of satire. He focuses on satirical content around religion, describing himself as a "one-man comedy factory". His biography can be found here.
Satire is often believed as actual news, especially in these times of misinformation. To know how to differentiate between the two, listen to BOOM's podcast with comedian Kunal Kamra and cartoonist George Mathen: