The following comes from an October 26 Daily Beast article by Candida Moss and Joel Baden:
In 2011, a shipment of somewhere between 200 to 300 small clay tablets on their way to Oklahoma City from Israel was seized by U.S. Customs agents in Memphis. The tablets were inscribed in cuneiform—the script of ancient Assyria and Babylonia, present-day Iraq—and were thousands of years old.
Their destination was the compound of the Hobby Lobby corporation, which became famous last year for winning a landmark Supreme Court case on religious freedom and government mandates. A senior law enforcement source with extensive knowledge of antiquities smuggling confirmed that these ancient artifacts had been purchased and were being imported by the deeply-religious owners of the crafting giant, the Green family of Oklahoma City.
For the last four years, law enforcement sources tell The Daily Beast, the Greens have been under federal investigation for the illicit importation of cultural heritage from Iraq.
These tablets, like the other 40,000 or so ancient artifacts owned by the Green family, were destined for the Museum of the Bible, the giant new museum funded by the Greens, slated to open in Washington, D.C., in 2017. Both the seizure of the cuneiform tablets and the subsequent federal investigation were confirmed to us by Cary Summers, the president of the Museum of the Bible.
If the investigation ends with a decision to prosecute, on either criminal or civil charges, the Greens may be forced to forfeit the tablets to the government. There may also be a fine involved.
When Summers spoke with us, he made it sound as if the ongoing federal investigation was simply the result of a logistical problem. “There was a shipment and it had improper paperwork—incomplete paperwork that was attached to it.” That innocuous phrase—“incomplete paperwork”—makes it sound as if some forms were simply missing a date or a signature. That is rarely the case with questionably-acquired ancient artifacts—and were the problem merely logistical, the chances are slim that it would take four years to resolve.
i am sure that the green family would not risk violating the artifacts laws, especially in the name of a museum of the bible. the term ‘questionably acquired’ seems too ready to impute guilt to the greens. we know that the anti-christian media would love to have a story to damage the integrity of the greens and show hypocrisy, a ‘stealing from poor countries on behalf of the book of the 10 commandments’ sordid ny post headline. i think that it is very possible that mr green’s words about paperwork problems are totally true, even if the the problems include falsified documentation. and one thing the daily beast failed to mention is that…
Better the artifacts be safe in a museum here, than open to destruction by the Isis animals over there.
And better in a non-governmental museum -than in the hands of the OBAMA Administration.
ISIS only destroys the large scale antiquities, primarily for propaganda value. The ones that can be transported are sold on the black market (to buyers like these, apparently) to fund their operations.
They should get a medal for keeping the artifacts from destruction by ISIS!
The Green family and their Museum of the Bible exist to propagate a fundamentalist Protestant version of where the Bible comes from and how the Bible contains only 66 books: https://www.museumofthebible.orgdefault/files/How-we-got-the-Bible.PDF
This endeavor is a proselytizing, anti-Catholic, non-academic venture. The Greens have been in trouble before for purchasing looted antiquities and destroying artifacts–using things like using dish detergent to clean ancient Egyptian mummy masks. I certainly hope their venture is exposed and prosecuted.
Stupid government! They just have to keep nit picking. Their good common sense right out the door.