The Museum of the Bible Should Do More To Show the Book’s Modern Shortcomings

The $500 million Museum of the Bible just had its grand opening over the weekend, and church/state separation advocate Liz Hayes was among the first people to see the facilities.

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She appreciated how it was privately funded — by the evangelical Green family which also owns Hobby Lobby — and that it doesn’t stray too far into the land of the preachy like Ken Ham‘s Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky.

But for a museum that has a whole section on the Bible’s “impact,” she felt it conveniently left out some obvious points.

The museum does show some of the ways in which the Bible was used and misused to justify all sides of divisive social issues in the United States, particularly slavery. But the end of the timeline for “Civil Rights and Beyond” in America inexplicably ends in the 1980s.

There’s no acknowledgement of the current attempts to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against others — even though, just a few weeks from now and a few blocks from the museum, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission – a case about whether a baker can use religion as an excuse to refuse to bake a gay couple’s wedding cake.

There’s no reference to Hobby Lobby’s Supreme Court battle three years ago to be allowed to use religion as justification for denying women access to birth control. There’s certainly no reference to the Trump administration’s new rules that would broaden the ability of employers and universities to refuse insurance coverage of this vital component of women’s health care.

It’s a museum that whitewashes the history of its subject. As if the Bible is and always has been a force for good. I know this isn’t an objective museum, but I didn’t think it was also an ignorant one. And if these glaring omissions exist on Day One, that doesn’t bode well for the future.

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