Looted artifacts for the Bible Museum?

Looted artifacts for the Bible Museum?

The deeply-devout Green family, founders of the American Hobby Lobby corporation, is  under federal investigation for the illicit importation of cultural artifacts from Iraq.

According to an exclusive Daily Beast report, a shipment of somewhere between 200 to 300 small clay tablets on their way to Oklahoma City from Israel was seized by US Customs agents in Memphis.

These tablets, like the other 40,000 or so ancient artifacts owned by the evangelical Greens, were destined for the Museum of the Bible, the giant new museum funded by the family. It is  scheduled to open in Washington, DC, in 2017.

Both the seizure of the cuneiform tablets and the subsequent federal investigation were confirmed by Cary Summers, the President of the Museum of the Bible.

From its founding in 1970, the Greens’ Hobby Lobby chain has been more than simply a suite of craft stores. David and Barbara Green, pictured above, and other family members have used it as a model of a business run on Christian values. Stores are closed on Sundays in order to give employees time to attend church. The company employs four chaplains, and offered a free health clinic to staff at its headquarters long before free health care came into political vogue.

In 2010, David Green said:

I would like to know that we have brought as many people to know Christ as we possibly can. We hope to continue to just grow our company. As long as there’s someone on this earth that doesn’t know Jesus Christ, we have a job to do.

The Greens have also used the Hobby Lobby platform to spread their Christian message far and wide: The company annually places full-page ads celebrating – in their words – “the real meaning of Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day” in newspapers across the country.

But the Greens went from evangelical players to bona fide Christian celebrities in June of 2014 when they won a Supreme Court case, Burwell v Hobby Lobby. It granted them exemption from the Obamacare mandate to provide certain forms of contraception to their employees; forcing the company to do so, the Supreme Court ruled, would have violated the Greens’ deeply-held Christian beliefs.

If the investigation ends with a decision to prosecute, on either criminal or civil charges, the Greens may be forced to forfeit the tablets to the government. There may also be a fine involved. The Green family, who successfully forced the federal government to legally recognise their personal moral standards, now find themselves under suspicion of having attempted to contravene US laws.

Steve Green, the CEO of Hobby Lobby, admitted that among his family’s extensive collection they might have some illegally-acquired antiquities, though he denied having ever knowingly done anything wrong.

Candida Moss, of the Daily Beast, wrote:

The Greens are worth $4.5 billion or so. If they are indeed prosecuted, no fine could make a significant dent in their financial well-being. But for a company and a family that have built their reputation on a particular set of Christian values, this investigation may hurt more than any financial penalty could.

11 responses to “Looted artifacts for the Bible Museum?”

  1. L.Long says:

    Well DAH!! They have proven with the hobbylobby decision that law does not apply to them!

  2. Broga says:

    “As long as there’s someone on this earth that doesn’t know Jesus Christ, we have a job to do.”

    By “know” he doesn’t mean know. He means the acceptance of his weird beliefs. Atheists “know” only too well to suit the Greens. The atheists knowledge is acquired in the course of realising the bogus nature of biblical truth. The antagonism towards atheists is that in abandoning religious belief they have come to know far more about it than most Christians.

  3. barriejohn says:

    No surprise to me whatsoever, as I have experienced at first hand the arrogance and audacity of these “morally superior” people, whose absolute assurance that their belief system is superior to any other on earth gives them the right,in their eyes, to ride roughshod over anyone else’s rights. Since Victorian times, archaeologists have been obsessed with excavating sites in the Middle East in their quest to “prove” the Bible, and it is a particular bugbear of mine that two thousand years of Palestinian history is being quite literally dumped in the effort to get back to “evidence of Biblical times”. Of course, the Palestinians are friendless and stateless, even amongst fellow Arabs, so their views count for nothing, and any criticism of what the Israelis do is seen as “anti-Semitic” these days, so bugger all is going to be done about it!

  4. barriejohn says:

    This is an interesting article:

    In 1967, Israel razed the 800-year-old Mughrabi Quarter of Jerusalem, displacing 650 Palestinians and destroying numerous mosques, homes, and holy sites, to build a plaza in front of the Western Wall.

    In 1967 Israel razed the 800-year-old Mughrabi Quarter of Jerusalem to build a plaza in front of the Western Wall.

    Such vandalism in support of Judaism was legitimised by the original “warrior archaeologist”, General Moshe Dayan, who conducted many illegal excavations seeking “evidence” for Jewish figures, such as Abraham, David and Moses, for whose existence there is no historical proof. After his death, his collection of looted artefacts was sold to the Israel Museum for $1m.

    In any other country, taking artefacts from archaeological sites without paying attention to the rules of excavation, where every disturbed element has to be carefully recorded and preserved, would be called looting.

    Of course, it is only fair to point out that the Arabs have been accused of treating the Temple Mount as a purely Muslim monument, and dumping evidence of Jewish settlement in landfill sites. And so it goes on – so depressing.

  5. dennis says:

    with the daesh destroying so much maybe the rules of expedience should be applied, but do I trust the greens. the museum of the bible right were it and the confederate battle flag belong in a stuffy stuffy museum.

  6. Cali Ron says:

    bariejohn: But the world revolves around christians and not anyone else. Especially very wealthy ones like the Greens. In fact, based on the prosperity gospel god has blessed them with billions of dollars so they must be very, very righteous and pious, above the laws of mere men. Whereas, the Palestinians are lowly gentiles, muslim gentiles in the “eyes of our Lord”, so clearly their culture and history is unimportant.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: You were a Christian, like me. I really feel as though, by buying all those books on “Biblical archaeology”, I was guilty of supporting such cultural vandalism. One book that I possessed claimed that wheat grains from Joseph’s miraculous “years of plenty” had been found in an Egyptian tomb, and had actually germinated to produce seven times the yield of normal wheat. There was even photographic proof! I wonder whether you came across this tale as well?

  8. barriejohn says:

    That link doesn’t take you to the beginning of the paragraph, for some reason, so you have to scroll upwards a bit!

  9. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: Hadn’t heard of that one, but I must admit my interest in books about questionable religious archaeology like finding Noah’s ark, “proof” of the parting of the red sea, the great flood etc. fall under the same category. I noticed that although there is interest in the supposed wheat of Joseph’s miracle today it’s not because of it’s “sevenfold increase in yield”.

    I do sometimes wonder how many people did I delude with my testimony and contribute to their god delusions. I’m not proud of it and it propels me to attempt to persuade people to believe in science instead now. I don’t believe in any great Karma or retribution for my actions, but I do feel some responsibility for leading anyone down the primrose path of religiosity.

  10. Lon says:

    This story gives meaning to the customary holiday hanging of the Greens.