The owners of Hobby Lobby have found themselves in hot water this week after a federal investigation was launched into whether they illegally imported stolen artifacts for their planned Museum of the Bible.
According to Raw Story, U.S. Custom agents seized up to 300 tiny clay tablets that were shipped from Israel to the Hobby Lobby headquarters in Oklahoma City in 2011. A senior law enforcement official confirmed that the Green family have been under investigation for the last four years for illegally importing these artifacts from Iraq.
The Green family currently owns around 40,000 biblical artifacts they plan to display at their Christian museum, which is set to open in 2017 in Washington D.C.
“I think seeing the biblical foundations of our nation — for our legislators to see that, that a lot of that was biblically based, that we have religious freedoms today, which are a biblical concept, it can’t hurt being (two blocks from the National Mall),” Green said.
Cary Summers, the president of the Museum of the Bible, confirmed that the tablets have been seized, but described this as a paperwork error.
“There was a shipment and it had improper paperwork—incomplete paperwork that was attached to it,” Summers said, making it seem like this was an issue of customs officials being held up by bureaucrats.
A source familiar with the investigation, however, made the situation seem far more serious. The source said that the tablets were described on their FedEx shipping labels as “hand-crafted clay tiles” that were each worth around $300, far less than what they are actually worth. The labels also make no mention of the tablets’ role in the cultural heritage of Iraq.
It’s unclear what will happen at the conclusion of this investigation, but at the moment, things aren’t looking great for the Green family…
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