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Bible Museum broke ‘thou shalt not steal’ commandment

Bible Museum broke ‘thou shalt not steal’ commandment

Nearly 4,000 ill-gotten artifacts acquired by Hobby Lobby, a company run by Christian fanatics David Green and his wife for their ridiculous Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, were returned to Iraq this week.

According to this report, the ancient objects were illegally bought by Hobby Lobby, a national chain of arts and crafts stores, then smuggled into the US in violation of federal law.

The Oklahoma-based chain of retail stores bought more than 5,500 objects from dealers in the United Arab Emirates and Israel in 2010, said the Department of Justice in a July 2017 document. The purchase was made months after the company was advised by an expert to use caution.

A woman walks through the ‘Impact of the Bible in America’ section at the museum.

An “expert on cultural property law” had warned Hobby Lobby that artifacts from Iraq, including cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, could be stolen from archaeological sites. The expert also told the company to search its collections for objects of Iraqi origin and make sure that those materials were properly identified.

But despite that warning Hobby Lobby arranged to purchase thousands of antiquities — including cuneiform tablets and bricks, clay bullae and cylinder seals — for $1.6 million.

Some artifacts from the UAE bore shipping labels that falsely described them as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample)” originating in Turkey. Other items were sent from Israel with a false declaration that they were from there.

In its statement, the Department of Justice said the “acquisition of the Artifacts was fraught with red flags.” Hobby Lobby employees did not meet the owner and dealer of the artifacts, and wired payments to seven bank accounts held in other people’s names.

In July 2017 after the Justice Department filed a complaint, Hobby Lobby agreed to pay a $3-million (£2.2-million) fine and surrender the artifacts.

Hobby Lobby did not receive all of the 5,500 pieces that it bought. According to the stipulations in the settlement, the company has agreed to notify the government if it learns the whereabouts of any of those other artifacts. It also agreed to turn over any pieces that it receives.

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, above, son of David and Barbara Green, said in written statement last year:

We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled.

And he offered this excuse:

The Company was new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process.  This resulted in some regrettable mistakes.  The Company imprudently relied on dealers and shippers who, in hindsight, did not understand the correct way to document and ship these items.

However, since learning of these errors, the Company has been an active participant with the government’s investigation and supports its efforts to protect the world’s ancient heritage. 

We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal. Our entire team is committed to the highest standards for investigating and acquiring these items. Our passion for the Bible continues, and we will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book.

In 2013, Steve Green became embroiled in a row when his company was accused of anti-Semitism. And last year he told the Christian Broadcasting Network:

We are seeing that the current administration with President Trump is a friend of religious freedom and has taken steps to strengthen and confirm that we are a nation that values the freedoms our founders gave us.

Also in 2013 David Green walked off with the John M Templeton Award for Biblical Values, sponsored by the National Bible Association.

According to this report, David Green who went to war in 2014 over Obamacare, has been described by Forbes magazine as “the largest evangelical benefactor in the world”, and says that his entire $5.1-billion (£3-billion) empire belongs to God.

He told Forbes:

If you have anything or if I have anything, it’s because it’s been given to us by our Creator. So I have learned to say, ‘Look, this is yours, God. It’s all yours. I’m going to give it to you.’

Coming from a family of preachers, Green says that:

You can’t have a belief system on Sunday and not live it the other six days.

He has spoken many times about the Christian belief underpinning his businesses, and told ChristiaNet:

All the things we do, all our behavior, should let others know that we are living by, and operating in, Biblical principles. Principle and character are the highest quality traits on our list.

The Museum of the Bible, which spans 430,000 square-foot in what was once a refrigerated warehouse, opened last November and received $201 million (£147-million) in artifacts from Hobby Lobby.

24 responses to “Bible Museum broke ‘thou shalt not steal’ commandment”

  1. sailor1031 says:

    I wonder how much price-gouging goes on at these Hobby-lobby stores to result in a personal fortune of five billion dollars. Seems a little excessive to me.

  2. Broga says:

    “Thou shalt not steal.” But they don’t mean that. The priests have been thieving in a variety of ways over the centuries. A favourite and very profitable method is to link theft with blackmail i.e. give me a lot of money or you will go to hell. Frankie’s predecessors bought the right to use this scam in return for a percentage going back to Papa in Rome.

    “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” However, if you have sex with men, women, children, dogs, cows, sheep etc, and are caught, then we will hide you away while you meditate on what a wonderful career the priesthood is for “celibate” perverts.

    Steve Green – how do they get to acquire that look? Is there a college somewhere that teaches what they imagine is the “I’m a wonderful Christian” look.

  3. Italian Scallion says:

    Here’s the latest bunch of bull crap coming from the Bible thumping Jesus freaks. The president is having a day of prayer in the Rose Garden. That’s where people stand around with their hands in the air and look up at the sky awaiting the second coming of E. T. the Extraterrestrial. Also, the White House wants to give faith based groups more speech in government. What ever happened separation of church and state? Please do not give these scumbags any more power. Screw Christianity. We don’t need evil Bible thumpers trying to rule our lives.

  4. Tel says:

    Religion always has been about power and money. Why work when you can con your way to riches. So no wonder that those who have made money like this have no conscience about using it illegally. Par for the course. Show me a bible thumping mega rich person and I will show you a crook.

  5. Barry Duke says:

    @Italian Scallion, here’s the shit in full: Trump signs executive order creating faith-based office in White House. But there also some good news.

  6. andym says:

    The number of people in the U.S who identify as “no religion” has increased fivefold since the 1970s. They are the biggest single “religious” group. The numbers of young self-identifying as definite atheists is on a similar curve.

    Why then nutters in the White House? Nutters organise and vote, I’m afraid, whereas nones are over-represented in the non-voting numbers. How long before people realise that however indifferent they feel towards religion, it has no intention of becoming indifferent to their lives?

    I’m still hopeful that future generations will see this decade as the swansong of reactionary populism/religious neoconservativism. It can’t handle the demographic for one thing-its supporters are heavily skewed to older age groups. I suspect that this revival will be seen in future as a blip, as insignificant in the long run as the “Catholic revival” of the late 19th century.

  7. Broga says:

    andym: There is also an expensive religious propaganda pushed by the BBC, government, newspapers and TV all of which pretend that the UK is overwhelmingly Christian. They also push the “the foundation of all that is best lies in our Christian values” which even a cursory examination exposes as untrue.

    And with the Vicar’s Daughter in No 10, despite the shambles over which she presides, the outrage of support for faith schools continues.

  8. RussellW says:

    Those Christian ignoramuses wouldn’t have the faintest idea of the significance of the looted items that they bought either. The antiquities would nave gathered dust in their ‘museum’ and been lost to science.

  9. Robster says:

    Referring to the current model pope as “Frankie” is a wee bit disrespectful. Perhaps in a nod to the fact that the pope deserves at least a veneer of respect, he should perhaps be referred to as Frank, the pope. Perchance.

  10. andym says:

    @ Broga. You’re right that the situation is more nuanced in the UK. The C of E in particular seem to have seen which way is blowing and are talking about Christian “values” and “heritage” much more than they do the sky fairy crap . I’ve not done any research, but it seems to me that the story of Jesus is portrayed less as supernatural and more used as a role model.

    It’s not much more plausible but it will take more time for people to see that i/ none of the values they promote are particular to Christianity ii/ most of what they now embrace was opposed, often for centuries , by their predecessors.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    @ andym

    I think you’re spot on about the changing survival strategy of the CofE – dial down the fire and brimstone, dial up the ‘cornerstone of British culture/society/values’. God has almost become irrelevant. In fact Justin Welby himself has publicly stated his doubts about the existence of a bearded old man in the sky.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/18/archbishop-canterbury-doubt-god-existence-welby

  12. Ben says:

    One day even the most redneck, pick up drivin’, burger chompin’, budweiser swillin’, lard arsed, levi burstin’,swaggerin’, gun totin’ good ole boy mercan will realise the wisdom of Separation of Church and State. But by then it will be too late. Sorry but the USA is in a very bad place and as far as I can see its getting worse. Mind you, could there be any worse president than Trump? Could there be a worse candidate waiting somewhere … waiting for the moneymen to back him for the presidency? The answer is of course yes and its almost a certainty that such a candidate will be elected because of the power of those who really run the USA. People who make the Greens look poor and heretical.

  13. Broga says:

    andym: The C.of E. and the RC Church have long had a more subtle and complex strategy for the intelligent and well educated. I remember a Christian friend, in my college days, telling me about Teilhard de Chardin and pointing out that he was an eminent scientist. His concluding point was “So you know better than a world renowned scientist” – or words to that effect.

    By then I was well into The Freethinker, David Tribe (he was a revelation to me), Bertrand Russell and many others. When I got round to reading Teilhard de Chardin I thought there was a lot that just didn’t stack up and seemed like obfuscation.

    The Jesuits were/are specialists in using complexity and making it seem profound. Richard Dawkins, and others, with the internet, have pitched a grenade into religious belief. Welby is playing to the more intelligent doubters who can read and understand books. The fundamentalists will want him burnt at the stake – if that were available. I read that Trump never reads books and has a very short attention span.

  14. L.Long says:

    OK they sent them back ti iran! WHY??
    Isn’t ISIS there? If so aren’t THEY the ones who were destroying, in good xtian tradition, various ancient artifacts? So why send them bad for them to destroy?

  15. CoastalMaineBird says:

    Rumors have it that there was a pair of sandals, autographed “J. Christ, A.D. 31” in the collection.

  16. barriejohn says:

    CMB: You think that’s far-fetched? Quite apart from the scramble to find artefacts bearing the names of David and Solomon at Jerusalem, some people think that Jesus’s childhood home has been located (despite the fact that almost everything that the New Testament says about Nazareth is fictitious):

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jesus-childhood-home-nazareth-archaeologist_n_6809482

    “It is always very hard to link archaeological evidence to specific people,” Dark told The Huffington Post in an email…

    “Was this the house where Jesus grew up? It is impossible to say on archaeological grounds,” Dark wrote, according to the Jerusalem Post. “On the other hand, there is no good archaeological reason why such an identification should be discounted.”

    No, none whatsoever!

  17. andym says:

    Did someone mention Teillard de Chardin? The godfather of New Age Woo?
    Here’s Peter Medawar’s classic demolition. I think it’s been put up before, but it’s always worth re-reading.

    http://bactra.org/Medawar/phenomenon-of-man.html

  18. Broga says:

    andym: Thanks. I look forward to reading that. I remember also, but later, being encouraged to read “Honest to God”, which I did. Justin Welby seems to be moving in the direction of “Honest to God”, Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoffeur (Godless Christianity?) The last intellectual redoubt for intelligent, educated and embarrassed Christians.

    Trump and his kind will remain untouched. The true believers took an entertaining hammering at the Tennessee Monkey Trial but I think with Trump and Mrs May we have lost ground since then.

  19. andym says:

    “but I think with Trump and Mrs May we have lost ground since then.”

    I came across this quote yesterday which we should remember before every news bulletin:
    “remember how simple it is to construct a story of crisis from a temporary dip pulled out of its context of a long-term improvement”. H Rosling et al ” Factfulness.

    It’s a book I’d beg you, Broga, more than anyone, to read. It’s perfect for liberals like you who are pessimistic about the future.The world has been getting better, and mainly still is-we just don’t believe it.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Factfulness-Reasons-Wrong-Things-Better-ebook/dp/B0769XK7D6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525438282&sr=1-1&keywords=factfulness

  20. Broga says:

    andym: I will check it out. Thanks.

  21. Broga says:

    PS: Just looked at the cover. Looks as if I need that book. The grand children (aged 5 and 6) arrive Sunday.

  22. andym says:

    @ Broga. I came across the book when excerpts were read as Radio 4 Book of the Week. The omnibus is still on the i player, but only for three more days.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09yd9yc

  23. Broga says:

    andym: I have just read Peter Medawar’s demolition of de Chardin’s “bag of tricks.” I had read it a long time ago but read it again with no less pleasure. That is one classy piece of writing.