Friday, 7 July 2017

Pride Comes Before a Fall: The Tainting of the Green Collection

A lot of the hoo-haa about the Hobby-Lobby-getting-caught-antiquities-smuggling scandal seems to be from liberals who do not want Bible-basher ideology rammed down their throats and who do not really want to see a 'Bible Museum' in their capital. But even the Christian press is writing scathingly about the affair. One example is the article by Harry Farley, 'Hobby Lobby's shame over antiquities smuggling: What you need to know' (Christian Today 07 July 2017). The article sets out the main facts and then concludes:
Despite repeated pleas for transparency on where all their artefacts have come from, the Greens have not been forthcoming. While it may be an issue of minor ethical discomfort for those visiting the Museum of the Bible, the reality is that without buyers like Hobby Lobby, the Middle East's black market in stolen artefacts, which funds so much extremism, would not exist.
To be honest, I do not see how it could be an issue of 'minor ethical discomfort' to any thinking Christian visiting a display of items intended to 'spread the Word' if the objects forming it are potentially (or actually) stolen (Thou shalt not...) and the information made available about them does not reveal the uncomfortable  truth (...bear false witness'). No, in the case of a 'museum' like this, these are not minor issues, they are fundamental to Mr Green having any moral basis for preaching to the rest of us. And one would expect fellow Christians to be pointing this out to him and his staff if they can't admit it to themselves. I would also say these issues are fundamental to the decisions of individual members of his personally-hired team of 'Green Scholars' to actually touch this stuff in an already-tainted collection. Even if there are not in 'theme-park-museology', there are firm professional ethics to be upheld in academia.

In my opinion, the thinking public should boycott the museum and the scholars refuse to touch the material until there is a full release of the documentation showing a licit and verifiable collecting history for every one of the items acquired on the market since 2009. And the feds should close it pending investigation of its contents until there is.

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