Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood


July 4 Pop Quiz: How Much Do You Know about America’s Religious Roots?

posted by Jana Riess

Yankee_doodle_1776.jpg

Are you a Yankee Doodle Dandy? Take this 10-question quiz to find out! I’ll post the answers and some explanations on Saturday. (And yes, I know you’re just going to look up the answers on Google. Here at Flunking Sainthood we say that’s OK.) So before you eat too much corn on the cob and stay up late watching fireworks, test your knowledge of our nation’s religious heritage.

FYI, much of the info in this quiz comes from a book I’ve been editing for WJK: John Fea‘s excellent Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction. It’ll be out in February. Until then, check out Fea’s much shorter thoughts on religion in American history at The Thoughtful Christian website.

1. The first Europeans to come to America were:
a) Puritans
b) Catholics
c) Muslims

2. Which of the following seventeenth-century English colonies was intended to found a new nation on Christian principles?
a) Jamestown, Virginia (1607)
b) Massachusetts Bay (1630)
c) Neither A nor B

3. Where did the largest number of English Puritans and Pilgrims wind up settling?
a) The West Indies
b) Massachusetts
c) Virginia

4. After being ousted from Puritan Massachusetts, Roger Williams founded this colony as a refuge for religious dissenters:
a) Rhode Island
b) Delaware
c) Maine

5. What percentage of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordained clergymen in 1776?
a) 76%
b) 41%
c) Less than 2%

6. What did George Washington stop doing after the Revolution?
a) praying to God
b) taking communion
c) chopping down cherry trees

7. Before the Revolution, America’s only majority-Catholic colony was:
a) South Carolina
b) Vermont
c) Maryland

8. Who wrote the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which profoundly influenced the religion clauses of the Constitution?
a) Thomas Jefferson
b) James Madison
c) Abigail Adams

9. Which of the following documents does not mention God?
a) the Declaration of Independence
b) the Articles of Confederation
c) the United States Constitution

10. Which Founding Father was supposed to have prayed to God at Valley Forge?
a) George Washington
b) Benedict Arnold
c) Patrick Henry



  • NoCoolName_Tom

    Do you mean the first Europeans to come to North America (Scandinavians) or the first the settle in the eventual United States proper (Spanish)?

  • Jana Riess

    Good question! The first to settle. Cruising by in a Viking ship doesn’t count.

  • Michael Stephens

    I know for a fact that George Washington prayed to God at Valley Forge. I have seen the painting.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/flunkingsainthood/ Jana Riess

    Of COURSE he prayed at Valley Forge. The paucity of historical evidence for that incident should never stand in the way of a good story. . . or painting.

  • Liberius

    As a student of history and a lawyer who knows more than average about “Church and State” issues and the surrounding history, let me tell you that this quiz is a bunch of propagandistic junk. It’s quite deceptive and it’s intended to be.
    Just one example: although the U.S. Constitution technicaly does not include the word “God,” it actually goes further than that because it provides that it was enacted in “THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1787.” This essentially says that the founders universally considered Jesus Christ as Lord. They were a Christian people and it was ASSUMED that America was a Christian nation. There is an over-abudance of other writings from the founders which reflect taht. This was not regarded by the Founders or the citizens at the time as even a controversial issue – it was a given that America was a Christian nation. However, the NATIONAL gov’t did seek to avoid controversial religious questions within Chrisitanity because each state had it’s own Christian flavor. Most states had their own official religions. The central (federal) gov’t was trying to be neutral as to Christian sects.
    This is not even really a debatable issue but that doesn’t stop the lies which have had the upper hand for at least 50 years or so. The lies are effective because there is a very powerful loose group of anti-Christian, atheistic, types who dominate our media, banking, finance, and who have used their influence to seriously penetrate and undermine academia.

  • Pingback: The Red, White & Blue Envelope, Please: Answers to Our July 4 Quiz - Flunking Sainthood

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