DOJ Busts Hobby Lobby for Smuggling Black-Market Artifacts

The Novstrup/Clare Lopez wing of the Republican Party hermetically seals its Islamophobia against rebuttal by Muslims by contending that Muslims lie to achieve their religious goals.

If that were true and not just racism in theological drag, then how would that make Muslims any different from Christians like the good pious owners of Hobby Lobby, who countenanced deceit to acquire illegal artifacts from Iraq to stock its Bible Museum? The United States Department of Justice lays out the crime, for which Hobby Lobby is surrendering thousands of artifacts and paying a $3 million fine:

With Hobby Lobby’s consent, a UAE-based dealer shipped packages containing the Artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Between one and three shipments arrived at a time, without the required customs entry documentation being filed with CBP, and bore shipping labels that falsely and misleadingly described their contents as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample).” . After approximately 10 packages shipped in this manner were received by Hobby Lobby and its affiliates, CBP intercepted five shipments. All of the intercepted packages bore shipping labels that falsely declared that the Artifacts’ country of origin was Turkey. No further shipments were received until September 2011, when a package containing approximately 1,000 clay bullae from the same purchase was received by Hobby Lobby. It was shipped by an Israeli dealer and accompanied by a false declaration stating that the bullae’s country of origin was Israel [U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, “United States Files Civil Action To Forfeit Thousands Of Ancient Iraqi Artifacts Imported By Hobby Lobby,” USDOJ, 2017.07.05].

By engaging in these deceitful transactions, Hobby Lobby may have indirectly boosted the fortunes of radical Islamic terrorism, which makes significant money by selling the historical treasures it loots on the black market. Authors Candida Moss and Joel Baden, who broke this story about Hobby Lobby’s black market artifact shopping in 2015, explain the connection:

It is not the case, as some have alleged, that Hobby Lobby bought artifacts from ISIS. Though it is true that ISIS profits by looting artifacts and passing them on to dealers and collectors in the West, the shipments for which Hobby Lobby was scrutinized predate the rise of ISIS.

But Hobby Lobby did participate in and perpetuate the same market from which ISIS profits. If collectors like the Green family were unwilling to purchase unprovenanced antiquities — items that do not have a clear and clean history of discovery and purchase — the black market would dry up. As long as there are buyers, there will be sellers. It is because collectors like Hobby Lobby are willing to pay a premium and look the other way that looting continues. They dramatically expanded the market for biblical antiquities in the late 2000s [Candida Moss and Joel Baden, “Hobby Lobby’s Black-Market Buys Did Real Damage,” New York Times, 2017.07.06].

 

Funny how Christians, thinking they are doing their Lord’s work, end up lying and helping terrorists.


48 Responses to DOJ Busts Hobby Lobby for Smuggling Black-Market Artifacts

  1. Porter Lansing

    Lying to achieve goals? Like stating that Obamacare made insurance rates skyrocket when Obamacare has stabilized or lowered rates? Rep. Noem must have been “alternative facted”.

  2. CINO, Christians In Name Only. These bozoheads continue to hornswaggle their flocks and everyone else who will listen to their sale of snake oil. The tongue they speak is forked and has been for sometime, this is all about their Got Mine, attitude of thievery. They denounce women so they can save a couple of shekels for their ill gotten gains. 3 million is what his fine was, a wet noodle slap on the wrist. He will make that up in a few minutes selling cheap Chinese crap in his markets.

  3. I knew long ago there was a reason not to shop there. Here’s just one more.
    Shop local where your money will do some good.

  4. It wasn’t Hobby Lobby that imported the tablets. It was the Museum of the Bible. The Green family, who own Hobby Lobby, does donate to the Museum of the Bible but they do not make the acquisitions for the museum. Blaming Hobby Lobby for the act of the Museum is liken to blaming Saudi Arabia for the Clinton server going missing being that they donated to the Clinton Foundation.

    If you would like to join the Green family you can donate to the Museum here.

    At least the Museum isn’t hiding servers.

  5. Porter Lansing

    Sar. Nelson … I see what you did there. You said it wasn’t the Green family. You’re right it wasn’t the Green family. It was David Green – CEO of Hobby Lobby that ok’d the theft.
    Saying it wasn’t the family when it was the leader of the family is like claiming, “I didn’t say that.” when you actually wrote it down and didn’t utter a word.
    Try again, Senator.

  6. Yeah, I guess Old Sarg (not really) If I know that Cory is a bankrobber and an art stealer…….and I want some of those products that Cory has stolen and buy them from him. Don’t blame me!! It’s all Cory’s fault!

    If I drive Cory to the filling station to rob it and then I’m behind the get-away car as we screach away from the robbery? Don’t blame me, it’s all Cory’s fault!

    Come on OldSarg….they spent millions and claim that “we were just naive”. Pah-leeze. They sure know, or think they know , about what the bible says about birth control…but in their book, the bible doesn’t say anything about stealing and pilfering, right? Hobby Lobby is just another corporation that gets rich on the backs of others, and tries to cover their poo with alot of Jesus talk. That’s all.

  7. Right, it was not Hitler who gassed the Jews either, it was the Germans. The Hitler dude, who directed them, did donate his time and efforts, but did not turn on the gas. Blaming Hitler would be like blaming the Greens for thievery in the name of the Book, oy.
    At least the Green’s are not hiding anything further as they have been found out for the corrupt frauds they are. Green proves he is no different than any of our prisoners serving time in South Dakota that got caught.

  8. Porter Lansing

    Museum of the Bible Leadership Team – https://www.museumofthebible.org/leadership

  9. Geesh, what a rogue’s gallery you have posted pictures of Porter. The only thing missing are the obligatory numbers under each mug shot.

  10. OldSarg, neither DOJ nor Hobby Lobby itself accept your excuses:

    In executing the stipulation of settlement, Hobby Lobby has accepted responsibility for its past conduct and agreed to take steps to remedy the deficiencies that resulted in its unlawful importation of the Artifacts. Hobby Lobby has agreed to the forfeiture of all of the Artifacts shipped to the United States [DOJ, 2017.07.05].

    The good Christians at Hobby Lobby did wrong. They were more interested in getting what they wanted than in following the law and Christian teachings about acting honestly.

  11. If only there were some published work about not stealing or coveting neighbors goods that Hobby Lobby could look to to help guide their behavior in times of tough moral dilemmas.

    Hobby Lobby has been used as a shell – an extension – of its owners religious beliefs to discriminate against their workers; now apparently it can be used as the corporate shell to carry out its owners theft as well. Both are funded by sales; it cannot be more clear that Americans HAVE to make choices about where to buy that extend beyond lowest price. Every dollar spent at Hobby Lobby enables and endorses the Green family actions.

  12. Porter Lansing

    Exactly right, O. Here’s a twist. I have an acquaintance who’s husband left and took all the assets. She’d worked for Hobby Lobby for a couple years when the rule came down from David Green that only born again Christians could work for him. She’s been faking it for years now and laughing all the way home, just waiting to testify in a class action employee discrimination suit. You can’t bully people all the time and not get a black eye, eventually.

  13. Donald Pay

    Paying a fine? Really? If you or I fenced stolen property with such high value with the possibility that terrorists profitted, we would see the inside of a prison, if not Gitmo. Let some rich, fake Christians do it, and they pay a fine.

  14. mike from iowa

    . The Green family, who own Hobby Lobby, does donate to the Museum of the Bible but they do not make the acquisitions for the museum. Blaming Hobby Lobby for the act of the Museum is liken to blaming Saudi Arabia for the Clinton server going missing being that they donated to the Clinton Foundation.

    The Green family bought the building for 50 million bucks. The Green family owns the Green Collection. The Green family hired a guy to go around and pick up memorabilia for the museum the Green family owns.

  15. mike from iowa

    Grand theft is different for kristians, Donald Pay. They apparently have sincerely held guilt beliefs that excuse their minor indulgences. Maybe they’re too big to fail.

  16. I am not a fan of crafting. If this crafting store is run by overgodders, then perhaps it is time for some of you libbies to organize one of your boycott things against it. We could use another pawn shop or Walmart in some of those locations.

  17. Mike, Hobby Lobby was shipping the packages with the artifacts. Blaming the Green family for that seems like a pretty straight line to me. Even if corporations are people, they need someone to order the purchase items, packing of items, and filling out shipping labels. The artifacts’ final destination, whether the Bible Museum or private collection, seems tangential to the fraud/theft.

  18. mike from iowa

    You asked for it, Grudz and here it is- https://www.facebook.com/HobbyLobbyBoycott

    Sign up on Facebook, Grudz, or forever hold your gravy taters.

  19. Even tho I liked shopping at Hobby Lobby,the CEO’s endorsement of Trump totally turned me off towards spending any more in the establishment. Now I read this and it just confirms my resolve.

  20. Porter: “just waiting to testify in a class action employee discrimination suit.” so, if true, where is the law suit? Where is the outrage that Green’s Hobby Lobby said “only born again Christians could work for him”?

    Why make crap up Porter? There is plenty of things to post so why resort to flat out lies?

    See what you do? You cry, whine and wail when someone else doesn’t provide a link and you post blatant lies with what? nothing . . Sad

  21. You have to sign up and be on the facebook to participate in the Boycott, Mike? I’m not from Iowa, you know, I’m from South Dakota, but here it seems that I have never shopped in the Hobby Lobby ever and I am not on the facebook, so do I have to stop my lifetime boycott now and start shopping there? I refuse, as they are overgodders, but I also refuse to “sign up” for any boycotting. I am starting my own group of non-Facebooking boycotters.

  22. mike from iowa

    Hobby Lobby employees have to sign binding arbitration pledge to get hired. They can’t sue in court. I don’t know how this affects class action suits.

    O- I think we are on the same side about the museum and Hobby Lobby.

  23. Very good explanation o. When our supreme court, what a misnomer to get worse, decided that corporations were people, they made it clear that Stevey is guilty of theft and fraud. He and he alone. As such, Stevey should have to post a sign in all of his stores that he broke a couple of those Commandment dealies that he claims a complete handle on. Buyer beware!!

  24. Mr. grudznick, Hobby Lobby serves a purpose for those who cannot afford to buy things they only think they may need. It all comes from China, some of it useful, but most of it crap. I think the Chinese government monitors what Hobby buys so they know what kind of a populace they are dealing with. In short, the last thing you should ever want is your name associated with this flea market, unless it is to raise the intellectual level average of the frequent shoppers there.

    If you must have that scrap iron coat of arms or religious themed saying to hang on your wall, there may be other outlets for it that do not give you the sour bile taste in your mouth making the purchase. Probably not the God stuff so much in the other places though. Can you imagine the baby Jesus walking into Hobby to see all the crap they push on the public in his name? I’ll bet he would be pissed off indeed.

  25. mike from iowa

    Brief OT- congratulations to Jimmy and Roslyn Carter celebrating 71 years of wedded bliss. Drumpf sucks. Obama rules.

  26. As O notes, every dollar spent at Hobby Lobby supports the Green family’s unChristian deceit and smuggling… which is a darn shame, because Hobby Lobby does offer the widest, most affordable selection of art supplies in Aberdeen.

    I also appreciate Donald’s point about the seeming disjoint in punishment. If I smuggled thousands of illegal items into the country, the system would put me in jail. If I engaged in black market activities that even indirectly enhanced ISIS’s ability to fund its operations, the Americans First, Task Force would be featuring my picture along with the other jihadis on every slide of their big PowerPoint Klan meetings.

  27. Regarding Hobby and the Supreme Court’s choice on birth control for women. As Porter notes, to be employed there you must be “born again”. These women workers there are being denied birth control for one reason, so they abstain from sex. There is no other reason than that as “born again” means to me that sex was involved. There was only one Immaculate Conception, so born has to do with sex or you cannot be born. We call that the birds and the bees story, you can call it whatever you like as long as you indicate sex was the direct result. The Court is also made up of old men like Thomas who have had quite a history regarding sex so they are always the ones who make the choice for those of us who do enjoy. If you should ever walk into Hobby, know the feel of the same sexual repression that the jihadists suffer from when they are promised a bunch of virgins for blowing themselves up. When you understand that, then you know why Green lied and stole public artifacts to further his own pent up sexual aggression. Listen to the tapes of trump with Billy Bush and you get the idea even further.

  28. Porter Lansing

    Nelson … The lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet and my story is anecdotal from my friend. The requirement to be a born again comes from social pressure from within Hobby Lobby management and originates from David Green (CEO of Hobby Lobby and Museum of the Bible). If an employee doesn’t attend prayer meetings they’re singled out and eventually so chastised they quit. Same thing happens at Chick-Fil-A. Since I don’t have written evidence you can ignore what I say. Those who add this anecdote to the other misgivings of this company will see a pattern.

  29. Porter. . . You are full of crap. No law suit, no hiring restrictions, no nothing. You are full of made up crap you are spewing on this site.

    Oh, Nelson was a Marine. Hat’s off to him. I’m not a Marine. Fly Boy by trade. What branch did you serve in?

  30. Porter Lansing

    You have a history of lying and misleading the blog. Air Force? Prove it, Nelson.
    – I was drafted to Vietnam. Nixon ended the draft after I’d taken the physical and was awaiting my orders to report.
    Prove it and show your name.

  31. mike from iowa

    Hobby Lobby swears birth control-morning after, week after pills, cause abortions which they claim to be against. Then they turn around and buy all kinds of stuff from China where abortion and birth control have been mandatory for 40 years.

    HL excuses themselves from hypocrisy by claiming Chinese factories don’t necessarily support the Chinese government so it is all good.

    There is a class action lawsuit against HL having to do with falsely advertising the price discounts on items sold. People pay one price for an item that HL claims was marked down from a higher price when there is no record of that product ever being offered at the much higher price.

  32. Sarg wants to change the subject of the smuggling charges. This is not a lawsuit, because Hobby Lobby actually committed fraud and high crimes by supporting ISIS. Sarg is what we call a bird of a feather in that regard. Keep after it though, I get a kick out of the rabbit trails you want us to follow to take us away from the thieving traitors at Hobby Lobby.

  33. Does this Hobby Lobby, which I am engaging in a personal boycott against, employ old people who just have to sit by the door and nod at entering shoppers? If so, perhaps I could gain employment there and see if they make me attend prayer meetings, at which I could pontificate about Satan, and the evils of overgodding.

  34. Splendid idea Mr. grudznick. Maybe a freelance type of reaching out to shoppers, not cult republican groping by any means. Just pontificating zealously about Satan or any of the other finishes that you apply after the stain to your project. You could then solve their overgodding issues as well with your kind manner and gentle or gentile speak on different subject matter. First being, those pesky 7 out of 10 Commandments that Hobby Lobby wants everyone to follow with them being the exceptions to the other 3. You sir, can do this.

  35. The suggestion to squat in the lobby of the Hobby Lobby is striking home with me. I am not briefed on these 10 commandments, but I think with my sign and a nice stool to perch upon I can make some rukus.

  36. Mr. grudznick, at Hobby Lobby there are only 7 Commandments they follow (maybe, jury is still out on that). You only need concentrate on the 3 they have forgotten or have become inconvenienced by. BTW, a nice cooler of refreshments should be handy as well as pontificating dries the mouth. I don’t know about others, but I am damned proud of you for your stand sir.

  37. “OldSarg” writes:

    It wasn’t Hobby Lobby that imported the tablets. It was the Museum of the Bible. The Green family, who own Hobby Lobby, does donate to the Museum of the Bible but they do not make the acquisitions for the museum. Blaming Hobby Lobby for the act of the Museum is liken to blaming Saudi Arabia for the Clinton server going missing being that they donated to the Clinton Foundation.

    Those claims are essentially backward. Hobby Lobby imported the artifacts identified in the settlement. None of them belonged to the Museum of the Bible.

    “OldSarg” writes:

    Why make crap up Porter? There is plenty of things to post so why resort to flat out lies?

    This appears to be a pot-and-kettle situation.

    To be clear, Hobby Lobby was accused of inadequately vetting the supposed owner of the items. The organization cooperated with the government’s investigation and admits in retrospect that it should have exercised more oversight, but it never purchased anything from anyone in Iraq or anyone who indicated they’d acquired artifacts from Iraq.

    I’m not sure it’s especially relevant, but I’d like to point out in passing that before ISIS fully realized the profitability of selling “idolatrous” Bible artifacts, it was intentionally destroying them.

    “Mike from iowa” writes:

    Brief OT- congratulations to Jimmy and Roslyn Carter celebrating 71 years of wedded bliss.

    I just found out President Carter was married the day after President Bush (43) was born. As someone who clearly remembers the 1976 presidential election, that makes me feel old.

  38. Kurt, be sure—the hypothetical fate of artifacts in a balck-marketless world is irrelevant. Hobby Lobby’s pious owners engaged in deceitful behavior, contrary to law and Scripture, that promoted a black market that helped ISIS get money to fund its violence.

  39. Yeah, money buys “just a fine”, is a perfect example of how the world works right now. Like Donald and Cory have outlined, if just us normal folk did this, we would be doing a perp walk.

    Case in point. Several of our military stole Iraqi artifacts. What happened when they were caught? They didn’t get to pay a fine. They received a trial and are serving major time in jail.

    Why does a faux Christian organization get a pass? Oh yeah, that’s how we treat the rich and corporations in this country.

  40. I read a piece the other day explaining how Trump voters can take stands that are against their own self interests. The point made was that all voting is “moral” voting – that a perceived sense of morality wins out over self interests. I would bet all the money in my pocket that Hobby Lobby justifies breaking the law (both God’s and man’s) to some “higher morality” construct of their own creation. They see themselves as not common thieves but heroes of some greater good. That was the piety that pushed them to refuse elements of the ACA and deny services mandated under the ACA (and recognized by the US Constitution) to its employees.

    The political lesson to Democrats/Progressives/Liberals must be that policy is not and will not overcome these morality warriors. Policy must be founded on the moral argument – an argument too often Democrats/Progressives/Liberals gloss over. Tip O’Neil spoke often of wages, benefits and unions in the language of “family values.” Clearly the Republicans/Conservatives have won the moral framework debate to define HOW to discuss issues; now it is time for Democrats/Progressives/Liberals to get into that fight.

  41. Cory writes:

    Kurt, be sure—the hypothetical fate of artifacts in a balck-marketless world is irrelevant.

    For the record, I’m not sure that’s true.

    Cory continues:

    Hobby Lobby’s pious owners engaged in deceitful behavior, contrary to law and Scripture, that promoted a black market that helped ISIS get money to fund its violence.

    My understanding is that the Justice Department accused Hobby Lobby of inadequate oversight, not deceitful behavior.

    Dana P. writes:

    Several of our military stole Iraqi artifacts. What happened when they were caught? They didn’t get to pay a fine. They received a trial and are serving major time in jail.

    As I’d written above, Hobby Lobby never purchased anything from anyone in Iraq or anyone who indicated they’d acquired artifacts from Iraq.

    Dana continues:

    Why does a faux Christian organization get a pass?

    The government is levying a multimillion-dollar fine against them.

  42. Current video from crafter on projects https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLrUIn9XJGg

  43. Kurt, Hobby Lobby was warned that they were making deals that warranted serious legal scrutiny. Hobby Lobby ignored those warnings, took no precautions, and just did what it took to get what it wanted. Hobby Lobby is morally and legally culpable. Why make excuses for them?

  44. Serving a greater good—isn’t that exactly the mindset our local anti-Muslim faction ascribes to all Muslims to dismiss every Muslim’s statement as a lie?

    Is that fight winnable, O? It seems that, as with the Sharia conspiracy theories, the Hobby Lobby/Franklin Graham crowd can rationalize any action with their specious morality. I don’t think we can persuade them… but can we persuade a majority of the electorate? Does it help to point out that Hobby Lobby’s professed morality is really just a cover for its own self-serving deceitfulness?

  45. Cory writes:

    Kurt, Hobby Lobby was warned that they were making deals that warranted serious legal scrutiny. Hobby Lobby ignored those warnings, took no precautions, and just did what it took to get what it wanted.

    You seem to be suggesting Hobby Lobby never “wanted” to avoid prosecution by the Obama Justice Department. The organization admits it took inadequate precautions, but I’m wondering what the basis is for your assertion that it didn’t take any.

    Hobby Lobby says its goals were to preserve the items for future generations, provide broad access to scholars and students for research, and share the collection with the world in public institutions and museums. You seem to be suggesting that’s somehow selfish.

    Hobby Lobby is morally and legally culpable. Why make excuses for them?

    I’m not making excuses for them, and as far as I know, they’re not even making excuses for themselves. Hobby Lobby admits it’s morally and legally culpable for its failure to exercise more oversight over the acquisitions. Why make baseless accusations of “self-serving deceitfulness”?

  46. Cory, I think Democrats/Progressives/Liberals taking of the moral high ground is winnable in the political discussion. That might have been the path of Sanders’ rhetoric that had strong support. I think of “single-issue voters” and none of them vote policy – that single issue they attach to is always a moral issue. The ACA has become a moral discussion and as such has stymied President Trump and fellow destruction Republicans from ending that.

    The biggest hurdle will be making being rich viewed as immoral. The Republican/Conservatives enjoy a moral landscape where rich is seen as morally superior to poor. The view of the wealthy as morally superior is a tough position to swing social reform from.

  47. The good news is that global warming and rising seas will swamp that den of thievery before the first paint job is needed. God is kind of funny like that and sometimes shows he has a good sense of humor, take the avocado as an example. Now to make sure the Hobby Lobby returns the stolen artifacts to their rightful homeland, Iraq. Just because they lost this first round does not make them honest brokers, the more you know of the Greenman, the more there is to distrust.