Take the State/Church Quiz (December 2000)

Since the Freedom From Religion Foundation debuted a state/church quiz at its website (Church/State Separation Quiz) in October, more than 7,000 people have taken the test. [More than 12,000 as of March 2001]

The Foundation sent out an October news release prescribing its state/church separation quiz as “an antidote to election-year piety” and what it deemed “an orgy of gratuitous pandering” by political candidates.

The 21-item quiz, made up of multiple choice and true/false questions, is automatically scored and graded. Correct and up to three wrong answers summons high praise for being a “First Amendment scholar.” Twelve to fifteen wrong prompts the rebuke, “Did you attend parochial school? Try again!” And sixteen to 21 wrong is rewarded with a skeptical: “Are you sure you are not a member of the religious right?”

Publicity about the quiz included a column by Stephanie Salter of the San Francisco Examiner (Nov. 10, 2000) that was widely syndicated around the country. Salter reported that “the feisty, funny and well-informed Freedom From Religion Foundation” had devised a quiz challenging assumptions about the religious basis of U.S. government.

She added, “Based in Madison, Wis., the foundation publishes a terrific and entertaining monthly newsletter called ‘Freethought Today’ . . . If you’re like me, [by taking the quiz] you’ll learn how ignorant you really are about how much God-ness our country’s founders wished upon us.”

Contestants are scored on such questions as the date when “under God” was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, how many times the word “God” appears in the U.S. Constitution, if the Constitution requires a religious test for public office, and the religious affiliation of the students who contested school football prayers before the Supreme Court last summer.

“Would the typical candidate for public office pass our basic quiz? We doubt it!” commented Foundation spokesperson Dan Barker. “Public officials take an oath of office to uphold our secular Constitution but do they even know what’s in it?”

If you’re not on the ‘Net but are interested in obtaining the written quiz and answers, please send your request with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Quiz, FFRF, PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701.

Freedom From Religion Foundation