Did Hobby Lobby Know They Were Smuggling Biblical Artifacts Into The US?

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Hobby Lobby acquired 5,500 Biblical artifacts from Iraq and the Justice Department punished them for it. But did the company know they were in the wrong?

Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby president, Steve Green (photo via The Gospel Herald)
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Hobby Lobby and DOJ settled for $3 million after the investigation into the company bringing these artifacts into the United States.

In 2009, the Christian-run company started buying historical Bibles and other artifacts. They were putting these items into the Museum of the Bible, which they plan to open in the fall of 2017. 

“The goals were to preserve these items for future generations” they said in a statement. “To provide broad access to scholars and students alike to study them, and to share the collection with the world in public institutions and museums.”

Hobby Lobby
A clay cuneiform tablet, one of the 5,500 artifacts the owners of Hobby Lobby illegally imported into the United States from Iraq. Photo courtesy of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

The statement continued, saying they were new to the process of acquiring these items and were not totally aware of all the intricacies.

“The Company was new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process,” it said. “This resulted in some regrettable mistakes.”

But experts say the company must have known they were importing illegal artifacts, some saying Hobby Lobby’s statement was “ridiculous” and “fatuous.”

But the company holds to the claim that they were not aware of how the shippers were operating.

“We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” said Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

The statement ended with Green standing firm on his beliefs about the Bible while still expressing regret over how Hobby Lobby handled this situation.

“We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal,” Green said. “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.”

Below you can watch Green’s take on President Trump’s Religious Liberty Bill.

 

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