The Founding Fathers on Church-State Separation

Most Americans think the United States was founded as a Christian nation, and that only in recent years have "activist judges" started reinterpreting the constitution to "drive God out". In fact, the Founding Fathers had decidedly freethinking views of religion.

Take the following quiz to see how well you know about the Founding Fathers' attitudes to church-state separation. There's also a couple of questions about later Supreme Court decisions.

Created by: No More Mr. Nice Guy!
  1. Who said: "When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
  2. Who said: "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 Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
  3. Who said: "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."
  4. Who said: "What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
  5. Who said: "You judge truly that I am not afraid of the priests. They have tried upon me all their various batteries, of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering, without being able to give me one moment of pain."
  6. Who said: "I mix religion with politics as little as possible."
  7. Who said: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god."
  8. Who said: "I hope ever to see America in the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality."
  9. True or False: The Supreme Court has ruled that since the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the United States Constitution, it is not binding on the government.
  10. Which document contains the language: "The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
  11. Which Supreme Court Justice wrote: "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."

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