Fake News: Iceland Has NOT Declared Southern Baptist Churches Terrorist Organizations

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper
Fake News: Iceland Has NOT Declared Southern Baptist Churches Terrorist Organizations

Did Iceland declare Southern Baptist churches terrorist organizations? No, that's not true: Iceland never made such a declaration. The story is a work of satire, though the hidden disclaimer on the site may not be obvious to readers.

The claim originated from an article (archived here) published by Patheos.com on February 11, 2019, under the title "Iceland Declares Southern Baptist Churches Terrorist Organizations." It opened:

Reykavik, Iceland - The parliament of this small North Atlantic country made history today by declaring the Southern Baptist Convention a terrorist organization. The resolution passed unanimously with many lawmakers cheering in celebration.

Andrew Kanard represents the town of Laugar. "What is terrorism? Using fear to achieve political goals," he explained. "The Southern Baptist Convention uses the fear of eternal torment to help it achieve anti-LGBTQ legislation, a pro-gun culture, gutting pro-environment regulations, attempting to stop the legalization of marijuana, and inhumane treatment of undocumented workers in the United States. They are the very definition of terrorists."

While an obvious hoax, the labeling is not clear to the reader that the article is completely made up. The first paragraph features a hyperlink under the word "declaring," which takes readers to a separate page. It reads, in part:

Is This Satire?

Hello, my name is Andrew Hall and I'm the author of Laughing in Disbelief. Before getting to business I just want to thank your for taking some time and reading one of my posts. I appreciate it!

You probably clicked a link to a story and you're here.

The story you were reading is satirical.

The Oxford Living Dictionary defines satire as:

The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Readers who do not click that link may not realize this story is satirical in nature. It evoked the humorous style of a piece in "The Onion."

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalists to rank the reliability of websites, describes patheos.com as:

A website that publishes commentary from a range of religious leaders and thinkers and provides a "Religion Library" with information on more than 20 faiths.

According to NewsGuard, the site can generally be trusted to maintain journalistic standards. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about patheos.com before; here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Blue feed first.

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion