Come for the scented candles and scrapbooks, stay for the smuggled artifacts.
Hobby Lobby, the store that sells picture frames and wicker baskets to your grandmother, was just punished for buying ancient artifacts smuggled out of modern-day Iraq.
Like the villain in the world’s worst Indiana Jones movie ("It belongs in a museum!"), the company snatched up thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae, which were moved through Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and illegally shipped to the United States.
The Department of Justice made Hobby Lobby forfeit the artifacts, worth about $1.6 million, and pay an additional $3 million.
If your reaction to this story was, "Wait, WTF?," you weren’t alone.
Hobby Lobby looting Iraq was not a story I was expecting but then again this is 2017.
— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) July 5, 2017
Where exactly do they keep the ancient Mesopotamian relics at Hobby Lobby? Is it by the fake roses or the model airplanes?
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) July 5, 2017
Never noticed this part of the Hobby Lobby website pic.twitter.com/0iJv32nrnB
— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) July 5, 2017
Why might Hobby Lobby be interested in ancient artifacts? Well, the company’s founder, David Green, is the man behind the soon-to-open Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and he’s been on a bit of an antiquity-buying spree for the last few years.
Image: U.S. Department of Justice
Not Hobby Lobby’s usual offerings.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, which claimed that covering emergency contraceptives and IUDs for women violated its right to exercise religious freedom
And so, Wednesday, the schadenfreude flowed freely.
At least Michaels has a new potential slogan: "The arts and crafts store that doesn’t buy smuggled artifacts from Iraq."