Simanaitis Says

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IT IS extraordinary that I am disturbed by reading something in Science, the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But these are extraordinary times.

Indeed, the July 14, 2017 of Science contained “Smuggled Artifacts Garner Huge Fine,” news of hypocritical behavior on several levels.

A cuneiform tablet, one of 5500 ancient artifacts illegally bought by Hobby Lobby for its Museum of the Bible. Image from The New York Times, July 5, 2017.

As described in Science, “Arts and crafts megachain Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement and forfeit more than 5000 ancient artifacts illegally smuggled out of Iraq.”

According to NBC News, Hobby Lobby was accumulating the artifacts for a $500 million Museum of the Bible scheduled to open later this year in Washington, D.C., a couple blocks south of the National Mall. Hobby Lobby had been warned that such artifacts could have been looted and were of questionable ownership.

NBC News reported, “Instead, prosecutors said, the 5500 artifacts were shipped without proper documentation, with labels that described them simply as ‘ceramic tiles’ or ‘samples’ from Turkey or Israel. The company didn’t pay the dealer who supposedly owned the items, instead wiring $1.6 million in payment to accounts of seven other individuals.”

This is where an Italian tugs on his cheek just below the eye.

Hobby Lobby is owned by Evangelical Christian Steve Green. His conservative views made headlines in June 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that owners of certain private companies can object on religious grounds to the Affordable Care Act provision requiring employers to provide insurance covering birth control for women.

I could find no similar objection, on religious grounds or otherwise, to providing erectile dysfunction medication.

U.S. Supreme Court. Image from Reuters/Joshua Roberts.

If you wish to read another spin on this matter, see The Decision.

On a not unrelated matter, Reuters reported on August 14, 2017, that “Prominent U.S. Religious Conservatives Defend Trump After Charlottesville.” According to Reuters, “Evangelical Christian Jerry Falwell Jr. said Trump could be more polished and politically correct but is not racist.”

Two out of three ain’t bad.

Reuters continued, “Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee [White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ father], who last week criticized the white nationalists’ ‘evil, sinful, disgusting behavior,’ said unequivocally on Sunday that the faith community stood by Trump.”

Apparently so do torch-carrying white supremacists and swastika-toting neo-Nazis. Halleluyah!

Let us ponder once more the meaning of the word “hypocrisy.” ds

Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Michael Rubin
    August 29, 2017

    Amen. But, gee, just because something may have been looted, stolen from another country and smuggled into this country — and money illegally transferred following official warnings — doesn’t mean it wasn’t for a good cause, right?

  2. carmacarcounselor
    September 6, 2017

    I understand that you like to keep your blogs to a manageable length, but I was surprised and dismayed that no mention was made of the allegation that proceeds from the illegal purchase are suspected of funding the terrorist groups that stole them from Iraqi museums and universities. Perhaps the attribution of those reports is suspect.

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