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