You would think that those who talk the talk about Christianity would also walk the walk.
The arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby became a symbol of religious freedom in 2014 when their opposition to the Affordable Care Act went before the Supreme Court. The court found that family-owned corporations do not have to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act if it violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The sincerity of Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs is now in question since, while opposing contraception, they’re a little flaky with that “thou shalt not steal” thing.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors said the company agreed to pay $3 million in fines for illegally importing thousands of ancient Iraqi clay artifacts smuggled into the United States. Surprisingly, no one for Hobby Lobby is going to jail. It’s not like they were smoking marijuana.
The company said it “did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process” and relied on dealers who did not understand how to properly ship the items.
“We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” Hobby Lobby President Steve Green said in the statement.
Sure, it was an innocent mistake. How could anyone detect something suspicious when payments have to be wired to seven separate bank accounts, or the shipments are labeled as “ceramic tiles” and shipped to three different Hobby Lobby addresses in Oklahoma City. The buyers never met the owner of the artifacts but did view them in a hotel room in the United Arab Emirates, where they were laid out on the floor and in cardboard boxes.
Shipments came from the UAE and Israel, with many of them falsely declaring that the artifacts inside came from Turkey. Prosecutors said the use of multiple addresses was “consistent with methods used by cultural property smugglers to avoid scrutiny by Customs.” You know, people like ISIS.
The terrorist group has made millions from selling religious artifacts. While it’s not known if any of the $1.6 million Hobby Lobby paid went to terrorists, it is a possibility.
Hobby Lobby’s president and an in-house lawyer spoke with an expert on cultural property law who warned them that antiquities from ancient Iraq may have been looted from archaeological sites (which ISIS does). In a memo, the expert told them that any items of Iraqi origin that were not properly declared could be seized by customs officials.
Hobby Lobby portrays their company as a Christian business and is known for supporting Christian causes. They’ve been collecting religious goodies for years for their Museum of the Bible, which they plan to open this fall in Washington, D.C. and will reportedly house thousands of biblical artifacts and texts.
I hope for Hobby Lobby’s sake, they plan their Bible museum better than that ark museum in Kentucky that features dinosaurs, or at the very least, have a better excuse when it starts failing. The founder of that project is blaming atheists who he says have been “praying for it to fail.”
You don’t have to pray for hypocritical fundamentalist religious freaks to fail. They’ll take care of that on their own.
I want to thank everyone who has donated in the past. Your support helps me continue creating cartoons and columns with a little less stress in my life. Between competing syndicates with much larger resources, timid editors, and Trump supporters who attempt to intimidate the editors who do publish anything that criticizes their idol, it’s a challenge to make a career out of this. So your support (if you can) is appreciated. Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing (pissing off conservatives)? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through PayPal. Every $50 donation will receive a signed print. All donations will receive my eternal gratitude.