Wrecking Ball Hobby Lobby

Lyle Griggs

For $10.99, you can go down to your local Hobby Lobby and buy a decorative pillow with the word “gather” machine-embroidered on the front in loopy cursive to indicate to house guests that they are to gather near the pillow. Or, if you want to appear sporty or stereotypically masculine, you can buy a fake baseball for just $4.99 that appears old and weathered, as if you once actually threw it. If you have a bit more money–sixty dollars, to be precise–you can buy a birdcage that is too small for an actual bird. Unfortunately, a portion of that precious money that you spend on home decor funds the efforts of a tomb-raider.

That tomb-raider is David Green, the Emporia native who founded Hobby Lobby in the early 1970s. Green has used part of his multibillion-dollar fortune to fund the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. To help fill the display cases of that museum, Green had Hobby Lobby purchase 1.6 million dollars worth of artifacts of dubious origin, most of them likely illegally taken from archaeological sites in Iraq. The company was later forced to return the artifacts and pay a three million dollar fine.

It may be extreme to describe Green as a tomb-raider, but his actions are plainly inexcusable. His lawyers warned him that the artifacts were likely stolen cultural items, but he made the purchase anyway. By shopping at Hobby Lobby, people enable such behavior and fund the illegal efforts of a man obsessed with creating visible proof of his religious philanthropy. Shoppers should avoid the business for that alone.

There is another reason not to shop at Hobby Lobby: the company’s staunch opposition to birth control. That, however, is a bit too controversial to discuss here. For those who know a bit about that controversy, just count that among the reasons to just shop at Michaels instead.