I didn’t realize I needed another reason to be disgusted with Hobby Lobby. But when the evangelical owners of the company are caught smuggling ancient artifacts from Iraq — using a black market that may fund ISIS — you know things are bad.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice in the Eastern District of New York, Hobby Lobby agreed to give up thousands of artifacts acquired and pay a $3 million fine to settle a civil suit from the government.
The details are bananas when you consider all the red flags Hobby Lobby ignored when purchasing the goods.
… in December 2010, Hobby Lobby executed an agreement to purchase over 5,500 Artifacts, comprised of cuneiform tablets and bricks, clay bullae and cylinder seals, for $1.6 million. The acquisition of the Artifacts was fraught with red flags. For example, Hobby Lobby received conflicting information where the Artifacts had been stored prior to the inspection in the UAE. Further, when the Artifacts were presented for inspection to Hobby Lobby’s president and consultant in July 2010, they were displayed informally. In addition, Hobby Lobby representatives had not met or communicated with the dealer who purportedly owned the Artifacts, nor did they pay him for the Artifacts. Rather, following instructions from another dealer, Hobby Lobby wired payment for the Artifacts to seven personal bank accounts held in the names of other individuals.
That’s like saying yes to a date with someone you’ve never met, whose name you don’t know, whose picture you’ve never seen, that takes place in a basement room you can only get to via a dark alley. You should’ve said no right off the bat. Instead, you did one stupid thing after another.
When the products arrived in Oklahoma city, the labels falsely said things like “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample).” All the packages wrongly said they originated in Turkey.
This is the same Hobby Lobby, by the way, that routinely promotes Christianity through its advertising and social media (not to mention their insurance policy for workers).
I guess “Thou shalt not steal” was merely a recommendation…
Hobby Lobby paid the fine and gave back the goods, but you have to wonder what the hell they were thinking. So far, all we have is a press release full of corporate language.
“In 2009, Hobby Lobby began acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts. Developing a collection of historically and religiously important books and artifacts about the Bible is consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible,” said a Hobby Lobby statement.
“We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” Hobby Lobby President Steve Green said in the statement. “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.”
Exercised more oversight? They were involved in every aspect of this acquisition from start to finish. They took better care of these smuggled artifacts than they do their female employees.
That press release ends with a nod to the Bible. Because of course it does.
“We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal,” said Green. “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.”
The funny thing is that no one seems to be organizing boycotts over this. The people who already shop there won’t care. The ones who don’t aren’t trying to ruin the business. Can you imagine the reaction if a company like Starbucks, beloved by liberals, was guilty of the same crime? Shit, conservative Christians flipped out over a red cup. How many of them will boycott Hobby Lobby over stolen goods that arguably fund radical Islam?
As of this writing, I haven’t seen conservatives condemning Hobby Lobby’s actions.
The responses to this controversy are just as snarky as you’d expect from a company that loves to brag about its moral authority.
@HobbyLobby too "moral" to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, not moral enough to refrain from illegally looting war-torn country— Miss Bilious (@MissBilious) July 5, 2017
Never noticed this part of the Hobby Lobby website pic.twitter.com/0iJv32nrnB
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 5, 2017
Love to shop at Hobby Lobby pic.twitter.com/D64VEMGLed
— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) July 5, 2017
Oh, so when Hobby Lobby smuggles artifacts they just get a fine, but when i do it, i get cursed to serve Mesopotamian gods for all eternity.
— maple cocaine (@historyinflicks) July 6, 2017
Hobby Lobby's “strong Christian values” can't pay for workers’ contraception but can totally loot Iraq & fund ISIS. https://t.co/WujSuXuv1N
— shauna (@goldengateblond) July 5, 2017
Hobby Lobby being an alleged front for smuggling black market antiquities out of ISIS territory is only like the 5th weirdest story of 2017.
— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) July 6, 2017
isn't the whole point of hobby lobby that you can make your own cuneiform tablets
— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) July 6, 2017
Hobby Lobby is too virtuous to give women birth control because it “values life” so it gives cash to ISIS that will be used to kill people. pic.twitter.com/FuOSynxB6Z
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) July 5, 2017
"There's been too much weird. The news can't surprise me anymore."
*Hobby Lobby caught doing business with ISIS*
"Please stop, universe."
— Imp for All Seasons (@CertainImp) July 5, 2017
I guess it makes sense. What is Christianity, after all, but stolen bits of other ancient religions?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to everyone — and I mean everyone — for the link)