Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Course of Human Events: A Quiz

What better way to celebrate Independence Day — OK, this is a few hours early, so sue me — than by taking a quiz? Forget the fireworks and the patriotic band concert, put down that hot dog and bottle of tasteless American beer, turn off your Mel Gibson double-feature (The Patriot and The Passion of the Christ), and don your thinking caps. (Note: Yarmulkes and bishops' mitres don't count.)

If you believe that America is a Christian nation, you might not do very well on this little test. All others ought to get most, if not all, of the questions correct. You earn no extra points for wearing a flag lapel pin, so don't feel obliged. I haven't provided the answers, but will do so if commenters need them.

1. Which of these terms for a deity did Jefferson not use in the Declaration of Independence?

A. Divine Providence
B. Jesus Christ
C. Nature's God
D. Creator

2. Before the Declaration was edited by the Continental Congress, Jefferson wrote scathingly of the King who had

waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thereto.
Which entirely capitalized adjective did Jefferson use negatively to describe this King?


3. In the Declaration of Independence, how many times are the Ten Commandments referred to as a source of Law?

A. none
B. one
C. four
D. ten

4. According to the Declaration, governments draw their powers from the __

A. "Bible"
B. "Word of the Lord"
C. "Consent of the Governed"
D. "Religious Heritage so Beloved of all True Christian Men"

5. Fill in the blank:
[We] … solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, _______ FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES …
A. by the Grace of Him Who Died for Our Sins,
B. by the Blessings Bestowed unto Us by the Author of the Universe,
C. and of Right ought to be,
D. in Accordance with the Wishes of our Heavenly, not Earthly, King

6. Which of the following was a self-evident Truth to the signers of the Declaration?

A. Abortion is Murder
B. All Men are created equal
C. Homosexuality causes Hurricanes
D. Scientists hate American Values

7. One of the colonists' grievances against the King of Great Britain was that

A. he prevented immigrants from coming to the colonies.
B. he refused to provide funds for religious charities.
C. he allowed doctors to perform abortions.
D. he approved of homosexuals marrying one another.

8. Which of the following grievances against King George, equally applicable to George W. Bush, is NOT mentioned in the Declaration of Independence?

A. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknowledged by our laws.
B. He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
C. He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of new officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
D. He has held persons captive without charging them with crimes and empowered his representatives to commit the most egregious acts of torture upon them.

9. How many of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were, in 1776, active clergymen?

A. none
B. one
C. two
D. three

10. Thomas Jefferson, main author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote all of the following quotes EXCEPT:

A. Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.
B. The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Miverva in the brain of Jupiter.
C. I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and hope to God Almighty that our country be recognized as a Christian nation.
D. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

Bonus Question:
Of the following people, who is LEAST likely to understand the religious ideas that led to the Declaration of Independence?

A. a historian recognized among her peers as one of the foremost experts on the American Revolution
B. a scholar who has made an extensive study of Enlightenment philosophy and how it influenced America's founders
C. an academically well-respected authority on eighteenth-century deists' attitudes about the role of religion in government
D. televangelist and Christian shill Pat Robertson

Now that you've answered the questions, you might want to take a few minutes and actually read or reread The Declaration of Independence. (My British friends are invited to do so, as well. No hard feelings, eh?)


Anonymous said...

Dammit, Ex, it's too damn early in the morning to figure out all these tough questions. It's not nice to torture people who haven't finished their first cup of coffee yet.

I suppose your next torture will be a set of questions on the Constitution itself. Listen, can't we do something on, I dunno, Dagwood and Blondie, or, wait, how about Pogo?

:) Good post.

nullifidian said...

Excellent quiz. Do we mark these ourselves, or hand them in to you at the end of class? I think I might have done rather well, for an atheistic Brit.

Anonymous said...

Happy Independence Day, Americans! Don't worry, no hard feelings remain - although I am a little peeved that you get an extra holiday in July. Also, you have better sandwiches.

Nice quiz, Exterminator. I'd submit my answers, but I have a suspiscion you won't be awarding a prize...

PhillyChief said...

Yes indeed, we are the sandwich kings, and that's especially true in Philadelphia. I give you the Italian Hoagie and the Cheesesteak shown "wit" onions.

The best things are made in Philly, like sandwiches and Declarations. Strangely much like how the greatness of the Declaration and the Constitution is little known across most of the US, so too is the greatness of Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. Perhaps if there was an initiative to distribute such sandwiches across the country wrapped in copies of both documents, the Nation would be a better place. At least they'd be able to pass Ex's wonderful test here.

Note to Nation - The Declaration does not come "wit" Jesus.

bullet said...

Once again, I have to vehemently disagree with Philly. Po' Boys are the best sandwiches ever, specifically friend shrimp and oyster po'boys with mayo and cocktail sauce. New Orleans French bread is some of the best stuff on earth.

PhillyChief said...

The thing all other sandwich inventors failed to grasp which makes Philadelphia sandwiches superior is our rolls aren't cut in half, but slit, forming a pocket to hold all of the yummy goodness. What good is a shrimp or oyster po' boy if half the contents end up in your lap? The rolls are also soft, not hard, so they don't crumble as you eat, making an even bigger mess.

Besides, it's a damn shame not to eat those oysters in New Orleans raw. Whatever that place is across from the Acme Oyster House is in New Orleans is the best. Acme is too commercial, like Genos in Philly.

John Evo said...

You two need to visit a nice Jewish deli and have yourselves a corned beef on rye with a a kosher pickle on the side.

Yunshui said: although I am a little peeved that you get an extra holiday in July.

I heard you Euros have twice as many legal holidays as we do! You can't begrudge us Independence Day? It's bad enough that King George W has made a joke of our Constitution.

The Exterminator said...

Dammit, Ex, it's too damn early in the morning to figure out all these tough questions.
OK, come back later.
By the way, just for you, here's a question about Pogo:
Who of the following was NOT a character in "Pogo":
A. Miss Sis Boombah
B. Simple J. Malarkey
C. Sarcophagus MacAbre
D. George W. Jackass

Do we mark these ourselves, or hand them in to you at the end of class?
Neither. You exchange papers with your neighbor. That way, she gets The Times and you get the Bibleshire Christian News.

Well, naturally we have better sandwiches. What else would we do with all the baloney we have hanging around.

As usual, you're only partly right. Yes, the documents coming out of Philadelphia were fantastic, probably the best the world has ever known. But as any student of history can tell you, the founding fathers couldn't stand all that damn Cheese Whiz, so they traveled every weekend to New York City to get themselves a decent sandwich. (Sidenote: Benjamin Franklin became quite proficient at speaking Yiddish.) See more below.

You're wrong, too. Oddly enough, Philly happens to be 100% correct about the oysters. Why hide them under bread, mayo, and cocktail sauce? If you want to disguise their taste so badly, you might as well eat a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish.

You're almost there, buddy. The Jewish deli part is right on the money. But your choice of sandwich is wrong, wrong, wrong. Aficionados like me know that lean brisket topped with Russian dressing (or, even better, creamy cole slaw) on rye is the best sandwich on Earth. Of course, you do need to have that kosher pickle (although a half-sour is acceptable), and a kasha knish on the side. And you must -- MUST -- wash it all down with Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Soda.

Whatever you do, under no circumstances are you to even think about ... well, let's let James Madison's proposed, but failed, Constitutional Amendment tell the story:
Congress shall make no pastrami respecting the establishment of mayonnaise and white bread.

PhillyChief said...

I concede Cheese Whiz is disgusting, which is why I do what everyone should do, and order wit American cheese, especially in honor of the holiday!

Hey Ex, what about cole slaw AND Russian dressing? I thought that was a Reuben, but of course that's corned beef and not pastrami, but still brisket. All yummy, yet still subject to the lack of a pocket which a properly cut hoagie roll provides.

The Exterminator said...

Well a Reuben also has sauerkraut (good) and Swiss cheese (bad). It ain't kosher.

If you can figure out a way to make a pocket in seeded rye bread (I forgot to mention that the bread must have those caraway sprinkles on it to be authentic), you may be able to live off the proceeds. Particularly if you could convince the American public that eating it would help regularize their bowel movements.

Anonymous said...

Great quiz. Great discussion of great American sandwiches too. May I add to the list of delicacies a soft pretzel with mustard?

PhillyChief said...

That's more Philly cuisine

Venjanz said...

Happy Independence Day from Venjanz, you godless bastards!

If you are not an American citizen, you are considered an honorary American on July 4th.

John Evo said...

You lucky bastards....

Anonymous said...

As I stay up all night anyway, I'll take a shot at the test now and await the results later.

1. B
2. D
3. A
4. C
5. C
6. B
7. A
8. A
9. C
10. C
11. D

I'm far too fickled regarding the sandwich issue. It depends on where I am at the time. But the fried fish sandwich at the Bantam Chef, next to the Flagler County Courthouse, is hard to beat.


The Exterminator said...

Two wrong.

I can't understand how anyone could even mention fried fish in a conversation that also includes the word "brisket."

On the other hand, I might have to try that sucker some day. Does it come with cole slaw?