We finally found something Hobby Lobby doesn't import from China!
Earlier this week, The Daily Beast reported that the beloved Green family, the billionaire religious zealots behind Hobby Lobby, Mardel, and whatever-the-hell that Hemispheres place is, are under federal investigation for allegedly trying to smuggle biblical artifacts from the Middle East into the United States for that $400-million Museum of the Bible they're building in Washington D.C.
The investigation centers around some 2,000-year-old ancient clay tablets from Iraq that were "mislabeled" as cheap ceramic "Live. Laugh. Love" wall ornaments or something like that. According to The Beast, this was done because the artifacts were likely stolen, and the Museum of the Bible people wanted to sneak them through customs.
If someone looking to bring antiquities into the U.S. knows that the artifacts should never have left their country of origin, or lack proper provenance, the only way to get them through customs is to lie: about the country of origin, about the country of export, about the value, about the identity. (This happened recently in the case of a Picasso worth $15 million, which was listed on the customs declaration as a “handicraft” worth $37.) One source familiar with the Hobby Lobby investigation told us that this is precisely what happened in this case: that the tablets were described on their FedEx shipping label as samples of “hand-crafted clay tiles.” This description may have been technically accurate, but the monetary value assigned to them—around $300, we’re told—vastly underestimates their true worth, and, just as important, obscures their identification as the cultural heritage of Iraq.
Yikes! That's embarrassing. As we know, the Greens are devout, religious, moralistic simple folk, so it's kind of funny to see them acting like rich greedy antagonists from a National Treasure movie. In fact, it's kind of tempting to call them hypocrites for blatantly breaking two of God's commandments in a quest to satisfy their own greed and lustful desires, but before you do, please keep in mind these two things:
1. The Green's are rich and powerful so rules don't really apply to them.
2. It much more fun to call them hypocrites for all the business they do with China! Remember, it's against Hobby Lobby's religious values to cover birth control on employee health plans, but it's totally okay for them to do business with a country that fines people for having more than one child and still carries out forced abortions.
Anyway, it will be interesting to see what goes down next. If found guilty, the artifacts will be confiscated and a fine will be issued. Then again, I've also heard that David Boren has volunteered to house the objects in OU's stolen artwork collection while the federal investigation is underway, so who really knows what will happen.