Hobby Lobby Owner Plans Bible Museum in Washington

A proposed Bible museum to be built near the National Mall in Washington by the family that owns Hobby Lobby. Still unnamed and scheduled to open in 2017, the project has raised concern in some quarters that it could blur the line between educating and evangelizing.
A proposed Bible museum to be built near the National Mall in Washington by the family that owns Hobby Lobby. Still unnamed and scheduled to open in 2017, the project has raised concern in some quarters that it could blur the line between educating and evangelizing.
Handout/ New York Times

There’s a new Bible museum being planned for Washington, D.C. And the family that owns Hobby Lobby—the national chain of craft stores that recently received legal permission to deny contraception coverage to employees based on religion– is behind it.

According to The New York Times, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green has called the Bible “a reliable historical document.” In 2012, Green purchased a 400,000-square-foot space near Washington D.C.’s National Mall where he now plans to build a museum dedicated to the book.

“This nation is in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught,” Green said in a speech last year. “There are lessons from the past that we can learn from, the dangers of ignorance of this book. We need to know it. If we don’t know it, our future is going to be very scary.”

Scheduled to open in 2017, the museum would feature copies of the Torah, “historic Bibles,” and biblical artifacts purchased by Steve Green over recent years. The institution would welcome individuals of all religions. The Green family’s non-profit organization, Museum of the Bible, will be responsible for the project if it passes final approval from the city.

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Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, told The New York Times that the project’s proximity to the U.S. Capitol makes it a threat to separation of church and state. “I think they are a great threat,” she said. “My instincts would tell me that they are choosing Washington, D.C., because they intend to influence Congress.”

The Evangelical Christian family is based out of Oaklahoma and built Hobby Lobby into a $3 billion company since it’s opening the 1970s.