Hobby Lobby Family Plans $800M Bible Museum in DC

Critics fear project is attempt to influence Congress

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2014 3:17 AM CDT | Updated Jul 17, 2014 5:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Fresh from winning their battle against ObamaCare's birth control mandate, the evangelical Christian family behind Hobby Lobby has a new project: A huge museum in Washington, DC, devoted to the Bible. Steve Green, president of the chain of craft stores and son of its founder, has spent tens of millions of dollars on ancient manuscripts, including an almost complete Book of Psalms written on papyrus, the New York Times reports. The cost of the 400,000-square-foot museum building just two blocks away from the National Mall and the value of the 40,000 artifacts it will hold brings the cost of the project up to an estimated $800 million.

City officials welcome the project, but groups that promote the separation of church and state are worried, especially since Green has warned that "the nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught" and says he has no doubt that the Bible is a reliable historical document. "I think they are a great threat," says a co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. "My instincts would tell me that they are choosing Washington, DC, because they intend to influence Congress." The introduction of another Green family project, a Bible curriculum for public schools, has been delayed until January, the Washington Post reports. Green has said he wants to see the course introduced in thousands of schools, but unless it can be shown to be objective and free from religious bias, the project may end up the focus of another Supreme Court battle.

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green stands outside the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green stands outside the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Brianna Bailey, File)
Customers walk into a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City.
Customers walk into a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
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