Regarding the July 6 news article “Hobby Lobby fined $3 million for smuggled Iraqi artifacts”:
It appears that the owners and operators of the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby got caught with their fingers in the proverbial cookie jar. Despite warnings from a cultural art expert retained by the company in 2010, Hobby Lobby went ahead and bought more than 5,500 artifacts from dealers in the United Arab Emirates for $1.6 million. It was a deal the Justice Department said was “fraught with red flags.”
One of those flags was the known possibility that the artifacts were stolen from archaeological sites throughout Iraq. A statement from the company says, “In 2009, Hobby Lobby began acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts. Developing a collection of historically and religiously important books and artifacts about the Bible is consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible.” Company President Steve Green added, “We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled.”
Yet Mr. Green, who personally inspected the treasures before their acquisition and accepted the falsely labeled artifacts as ceramics and samples, certainly was aware of how those acquisitions were “handled.” Perhaps Mr. Green and the owners of Hobby Lobby ought to have asked themselves, “WWJD”?
Craig M. Miller, Leland, N.C.