CLAIM

Vice President Mike Pence openly lamented God never asked him to sacrifice one of his children, but he was prepared in the event that a sacrifice of a grandchild was requested of him.

FALSE

RATING

FALSE

ORIGIN

On 6 February 2017, The Onion published an article reporting that characteristically devout Vice President Mike Pence lamented the fact God had never called upon him to sacrifice one of his own children:

Saying he would surely rise to the occasion if tasked by the Almighty with the ultimate test of faith, Vice President Mike Pence said that he was disappointed that God has never called upon him to kill one of his own children. “It’s just heartbreaking that the Lord hasn’t summoned me once to show my dedication to Him by sacrificing one of my precious kids,” said Pence, telling reporters that he has spent years waiting for any sign at all from the Heavenly Father that he should ritually slaughter one of his three children. “They’re grown now, so I’m starting to think I’ll never get the chance to offer the blood of any of them to prove my unshakable devotion. Heck, I’d put all three on an altar if that’s what He wanted.” Pence added that he would nevertheless keep a sharp dagger at the ready in the unlikely event God someday asks him to kill one of his grandchildren.

Although most social media users recognize The Onion as a purveyor of satirical humor, we received multiple e-mails and social media posts asking whether this concise bit of satire was a real news story. The advent of fake news sites has resulted in a tsunami of social media links to fabricated stories, unfunny and frequently difficult to identify falsehoods spread by fake news purveyors for their own financial benefit. But The Onion  has a long history as a satirical publication and has never aimed to dupe, rather than entertain, their readers.