Fact Check: Biden White House Did NOT Introduce Rule Banning Christian Symbols From Easter Egg Contest -- Policy Is Decades Old

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Biden White House Did NOT Introduce Rule Banning Christian Symbols From Easter Egg Contest -- Policy Is Decades Old Rules 45 YO

Did the Biden White House introduce a rule banning Christian symbols from an Easter egg contest in 2024? No, that's not true: The restrictions, which include "religious symbols" and "overtly religious themes," have been in place since the 1970s. Presidential administrations, whether Republican or Democrat, have used the same language in collaboration with the American Egg Board, the sponsor of the contest.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook by Fox News on March 29, 2024, under the on-screen title "White House bans religious Easter egg designs from its art contest event for the children of National Guard members." The post's caption said:

BAD EGG: The White House is laying down new rules for the religious holiday tradition -- no 'religious symbols' or 'overtly religious themes.' https://trib.al/Whn3yCH

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 3 20:33:09 2024 UTC)

Egg contest

The egg contest (archived here) is for the children of National Guard families across the country and is a collaboration between the White House and the American Egg Board, which represents America's egg farmers. The submission form (archived here) on the Defense Department's website and a separate White House flyer (archived here) spell out the restrictions for youth who want to submit their egg art. In part, it says:

The Submission must not include any questionable content, religious symbols, overtly religious themes, or partisan political statements

Additionally, the submission guidelines prohibit any content that infringes on the rights of others, disparages the sponsor or others, contains inappropriate or offensive material, promotes bigotry or discrimination, violates laws or regulations, or encourages illegal activities such as drug use or the use of firearms.

Old policy

Although the particular restrictions involving "religious symbols" and "overtly religious themes" became the subject of a partisan debate in early 2024, including the social media post in this fact check, the wording was nothing new. Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board (AEB), issued the following statement (archived here) to news organizations, beginning March 31, 2024:

The American Egg Board has been a supporter of the White House Easter Egg Roll for over 45 years and the guideline language referenced in recent news reports has consistently applied to the board since its founding, across administrations.

Elizabeth Alexander, White House deputy assistant to the president and communications director for first lady Jill Biden, echoed the AEB in a post (archived here) on X (formerly Twitter) on March 30, 2024. It said:

*Fyi on all the misleading swirl re White House and Easter: the American Egg Board flyer's standard non-discrimination language requesting artwork has been used for the last 45 years, across all Dem & Republican Admins--for all WH Easter Egg Rolls --incl previous Administration's.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Apr 3 22:33:59 2024 UTC)

Originating in 1878, the inaugural White House Easter egg roll was hosted by President Rutherford B. Hayes, who consented to allow children onto the White House lawn after they were restricted from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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