Sunday, September 18, 2005

Your Tax Dollars At Work For the Lord: Quiz #7

Welcome to this week’s installment of Holier Than Thou, in which your tax dollars support the Evangelical cause, the Catholic Church looks for the homosexuals in its midst, America’s atheists provide us with a pledge break, and Pat Robertson goes crazy yet again.

How well have you been paying attention this week? Well, it’s time to sharpen up your pencils and find out. (ANSWERS BELOW)

1) Could President Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” be creeping into the Katrina relief effort? Seems the federal government, though FEMA, recently released a list of charities for Americans to donate to in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And on that list, the group “Operation Blessing” was listed second to only The Red Cross. What evangelical Christian is the founder and chairman of Operation Blessing?

A) Billy Graham
B) Jerry Falwell
C) Pat Robertson
D) Jim Bakker
E) Robert Schuller

2) OK, we’ll give you the answer to the above question — it’s Pat “Take ‘Em Out” Robertson! Keep in mind that the good reverend is getting federal support after taking to the airwaves to suggest doing WHAT to the U.S. State Department?

A) Folding it into the Department of Homeland Security
B) Jailing former Secretary of State Colin Powell for treason
C) Purging it of Jews and Muslims
D) Blowing it up with a nuclear bomb

3) However, upon closer inspection, Pat does seem to know a thing or two about hurricanes. If you recall, it wasn’t that long ago that he warned the good citizens of Florida that God could send a killer storm to that state as punishment for the actions of WHAT group of people?

A) Gays
B) Abortionists
C) Human Secularists
D) Democrats voting for Al Gore
E) Employees at Disney World who were “dirty dancing” in Fantasy Land

4) But if Pat Robertson’s bizarre behavior isn’t enough to make the federal government think twice about funding Operation Blessing, the charity’s financial practices should be. According to its most recent filing with the IRS, Operating Blessing gave more than half its yearly allocation of cash donations — $885,000 — to WHAT organization?

A) Evangelicals Without Borders
B) The Terri Schivo Legal Defense Fund
C) The Pat Robertson-owned Christian Broadcasting Network
D) The George W. Bush 2004 reelection campaign

5) While we’re on the topic of federal funding of religious organizations, how much federal money has been given to “Silver Ring Thing,” a sexual abstinence program designed to keep teenagers from screwing their brains out by giving them each a ring inscribed with a religious slogan designed to inspire them to save themselves until marriage?

A) $1.3 million
B) $575,000
C) $75,000
D) Zero — despite an ongoing legal fight, funding the group would obviously violate the separation of church-and-state guidelines set forth by the U.S. Constitution.

6) What is the slogan inscribed on the Silver Ring Thing’s rings?

A) “My body is God’s Temple, and My Heart Belongs to Jesus”
B) “God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of sexual sin”
C) “Mary Was a Virgin Too”
D) “Just Say No to Sex”
E) “John 3:16”

7) Since 2003, how much federal money has gone to support what President Bush calls “armies of compassion,” but the rest of us simply call religious-run charitable groups?

A) Zero
B) $1 billion
C) $2 billion
D) $3 billion

8) President Bush’s blurring of the lines between church and state go all the way back to his days in Texas. In fact, while he was governor of that good state, what did George W. Bush proclaim April 17, 2000 to be?

A) Pat Robertson Day
B) Jesus Day
C) Pass the Collection Plate Day
D) Take Your Daughter to Church Day
E) God Bless the Houston Astros Day

9) Meanwhile, the Vatican has ordered each Roman Catholic seminary in America to be on the lookout for “evidence of homosexuality” among its students as part of the church’s response to sexual abuse scandal. According to Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, the American prelate overseeing this effort, should gay men who are celibate and never committed a homosexual act be allowed into the priesthood?

A) Yes
B) No

10) Estimates of the percentage of Catholic priests who are gay ranges from a low of 10 percent to as high as:

A) 20 percent
B) 40 percent
C) 60 percent
D) 80 percent

11) What ELSE is the church on the lookout for as it evaluates its seminary students?

A) A “peculiar” interest in children
B) Influences of “New Age” thinking
C) “Unwholesome forms of entertainment” (music and television)
D) A “history of financial troubles”
E) Illegal aliens and potential terrorists

12) Meanwhile, a federal judge in California rattled the cage of the Religious Right this week when he ruled that having public school children in the state recite the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because it contained the words “one nation under God,” which he found to violate children’s right to be “free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.” The case will now likely be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. But for the record, just WHEN were the words “under God” added to the pledge anyway?

A) 1776
B) 1787
C) 1914
D) 1954
E) 1980

13) How did the Pledge read prior to the inclusion of the words “under God”?

A) “…one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
B) “…one nation, under law, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
C) “…one nation, governed by all, indivisible, with liberty and justice.”
D) “…one nation, under the Lord, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

14) What percentage of Americans claims no religious affiliation?

A) 32 percent
B) 25 percent
C) 14 percent
D) 4 percent

15) What percentage of Americans considers themselves to be Atheists?

A) 32 percent
B) 25 percent
C) 14 percent
D) 4 percent


1) C
2) D
3) A
4) C
5) A
6) B
7) D
8) B
9) B
10) C
11) B
12) D
13) A
14) C
15) D

So, how did you do?

11 to 15 correct answers: We’re willing to bet it’s been a long time since you’ve included the words “under God” in your Pledge of Allegiance.

6 to 10 correct answers: Perhaps it’s not too late to join the priesthood — just keep those New Age beliefs to yourself!

0 to 5 correct answers: So, just how much money did you give Operation Blessing, anyway?

I wanted to give thanks to Eddie Lin and Michael Schneider, who helped me through many of the technical challenges of launching this site. You should check out their own blogs, Eddie’s Deep End Dining (about some of the wilder food experiences ever encountered by man) and Michael’s Franklin Ave. (about all the hidden gems lurking within the City of Los Angeles).

Two other websites to note: The Huffington Post, for a great look at what's really going on in the world, and Harry Shearer's "Le Show," perhaps the funniest and most insightful thing on the radio today (and if were only on TV, it would be the funniest and most insightful thing on TV too!)

I’d also like to thank Robin Berger for her many wonderful news tips!


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