Steve Green: Fiction, Foolery & Frauds

snake-oil

By now you have likely heard or read about the fake Dead Sea Scrolls or forgeries inside the recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. The museum was built and stocked by retail chain Hobby Lobby owner and multi-billionaire, evangelical Steve Green. What many might not know or have forgotten is that this foolery is not the first time Steve Green has knowingly bought and promoted fake, fraudulent artifacts from the Classical and Antiquity Eras in the Near East. Similar to the 19th-century Old West medicine and “miracle elixirs” touring-shows of magical tricks, musical acts, jokes, and fantastical storytelling, smarter discerning people today can certainly argue that Mr. Green has an addictive sweet-tooth for fantasy and hoaxes.

In 2011 a FedEx package from an Israeli antiquities dealer labelled “hand-crafted clay tiles” with a stated worth of less than $300 drew the suspicious attention of U.S. Customs officials. They opened it and instead of home or bathroom decor it was 300 cuneiform clay tablets in Assyrian and Babylonian languages stolen in great numbers during the U.S.-Iraqi War and its aftermath over the last few decades then sold on the black market.

In 2014 while visiting the Vatican’s Verbum Domini II exhibit of antique Bibles and Bible-related artifacts, an Italian papyrus expert immediately noticed a tattered fragment containing verses from Galatians 2 written in Coptic. It was being sold on eBay many months earlier by a Turkish dealer known to be unreliable and dishonest. Several of his colleagues believed he was a smuggler of anything that would sell to evangelical buyers, fake or otherwise.

Both the clay tablets and the papyrus were dubiously purchased and owned by Steve Green.

This month Steve Green’s Museum of the Bible was forced to publicly acknowledge that five (and probably seven) of their “Dead Sea Scrolls” are forgeries. Continued scientific examinations on the museum’s remaining scrolls, perhaps other artifacts if the Greens allow, will probably reveal more similar results. Why? Because from 2009 to 2014 word spread rapidly throughout Antiquities dealers (of any sort) in the Near East that authorized dealers of the multi-billionaire Green family were purchasing around 40,000 ancient biblical-religious artifacts for their future museum in Washington D.C. This whirlwind of money and hyper fast-track purchases ignited a buzz in the market never before seen. The New York Times in 2010 reported “[t]he buying [had] also spawned some skepticism about the overall quality of purchases made in such rapid-fire style.

Museum-of-the-Bible

The Hobby Lobby of Biblical Fakes n Frauds” in Washington D.C.

Joel S. Baden of the Yale University School of Divinity described Green’s incompetent acquisitions this way:

Every antiquities seller knew the Greens were buying everything and not asking questions about anything.

Aside from the hap-hazard amateur acquisition methods the Greens employed, there is another serious problem:  the unprincipled, unethical intent to show in their museum fraudulent items as factual originals rather than labeling them modern replicas.

These practices by the Greens soon put them in the cross-hairs of the U.S. Justice Department. Hobby Lobby had to pay a $3-million fine as well as surrender and return the thousands of illegally acquired ancient artifacts from Iraq that were knowingly smuggled into the U.S. by Mr. Green. The Hobby Lobby tycoon, however, has his evangelical agenda working in several other areas of public life.

The Greens have spent massive amounts of money to confuse, redefine, and rewrite our clear Constitutional lines between church and state and their separation. In the 2014 Supreme Court decision of Burwell vs Hobby Lobby, “closely held for-profit” corporations like Hobby Lobby can refuse their employed women contraceptive medicines and/or care which was once mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The Greens have also funded a controversial nation-wide Biblical curriculum for American public schools as well as dumped millions into private Fundamentalist Christian institutions and colleges domestically and abroad. But this is not all.

The executive director of the Society for Biblical Literature, John Kutsko, speaks to this evangelical corporate movement with heightened concern:

There is no such thing as ‘the’ Bible… We [Americans] are a melting pot, and there are many religions here […] The [Green’s] museum could be a showcase for how we and our texts are different and can coexist peacefully. That would be a wonderful message to bring to bear, particularly in the environment we live in, an environment of absolutists and polarization.

But that is not Green’s intentions as evidenced by his artifact purchases and practices.

There is another disturbing concern:  the simple truth. There are a large number of historical, biblical, archaeological, paleographical, and other scholars and experts, all of which have many decades of study and acclaimed lifetime careers that know too well how “pseudo-biblical archaeology” is replete with amateur scams, frauds, and wild claims meant to prove to buyers and audiences, at least through misleading visuals, that stories in the Bible are historically accurate when in fact they are not. These same scholars and academics are just as bothered by the man hired as the Bible museum’s director who was former director of the outlandish Creation Museum in Kentucky. This further undermines the museum’s credibility. And still there is more disturbing news.

The museum blatantly misleads, even lies about recent American history. In a dramatic promotional video for the museum it alleges that the Founding Fathers designed our government and civil culture to be Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. The video states that George Washington himself said:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in Mount Vernon, VA (click here) is a resource for scholarly research about George Washington and the Founding Era, while collecting original Washington books and manuscripts. The library has already determined beyond doubt that this is a misquote or complete fabrication. When Mr. Green and his leadership team were presented with this correction, he was unphased, indifferent and insisted that our U.S. government was purposefully created as Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. In my May 2015 blog-post The Mistaken Identity of the U.S. I go into great detail — from months and years of research utilizing resources like the Smith National Library – George Washington — about how this belief or fable Mr. Green persists in propagandizing is unfounded and simply not true.

Bible Nation-Moss-BadenAt a 2014 interview at the Vatican, Steve Green imparted a rallying call to Christians, especially evangelicals that The fact of the matter is, the [Bible] is under assault today. It seems to Mr. Green and many Fundy-Evangelical Christians that there are other ways of starting and fighting a Holy War, or Jihad as the militant Islamists would call it, and it is covertly changing this democracy into a theocracy by whatever means necessary, similar again to Islamic nations of today. Based on Steve Green’s practices and museum, theocracizing includes smuggling, deception, diversion, well-funded propaganda that rivals even Joseph Goebbels’ tactics, and most of all the M.O. that the end always justifies the means. Principles of accuracy, due process, fact-verifying, truth or pro-truthiness, doesn’t matter. Force the “right end” to happen whatever the cost, literally.

Mr. Green seems ignorant of his unethical track-record. Being forthright from the very beginning will always be more valuable, more historic to the greater good and demonstrate higher levels of dignity and honor. So I say to all concerned, be astute and warned when you happen upon any involvement with Hobby Lobby or the Museum of the Bible:  their owner, Steve Green, continuously exhibits that he possesses none of the great noble virtues.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Now, if you are one for euphoric feel-good truths, fly-by-night veracity, and fantastical stories hyping life-changing memories in this life and the next, this is for you: 😎

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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39 thoughts on “Steve Green: Fiction, Foolery & Frauds

  1. People like this abound in all spheres, but it is particularly odious when they are supposedly ”righteous religiots”.
    Your comparison to Goebbels is right on the button, and people who accept this crap do so in full knowledge that there is enough doubt and proven fraud to dismiss this crap – but they don’t!
    mMl, Wally, Branyan etc?

    You are probably aware of the so-called Priestly Course discovered during a dig in Caesarea? – tiny fragments that supposedly identified ”Nazareth” as one of the places settled by Rabbis. What many people do not know is the fragment was conveniently ”found” on the very last day of the dig on a pile of spoil and was subsequently ”lost”. Only a photograph remains. Also, the person who ”discovered” it was the late Jerry Vardaman who was responsible for the micro-letters scam found on Roman coins that claimed to list the date of birth of Jesus! Vardaman was an evangelical – a Baptist. You can do the Googly Thing, if you don’t already know of this tale.

    So we have a known fraudster, and a (probable) biblical literalist no less, announcing to the world that he ”found” evidence that Nazareth really existed, ”…honestly, you can trust me … have faith.” and this crap is still touted as evidence. Steve Green could not give a shit either.

    Makes you want to gag.

    Liked by 5 people

    • No, I had not heard about the Caesarea “find” nor Vardaman’s bogus coins. I am subscribed to some academic scholarly journals and those organization’s or university’s newsletters on the subject of the Roman Empire and the Classical – Antiquities Eras of the Near East, but I cannot remember them ever mentioning your/that Caesarea or Vardaman debacles. That’s probably why there was no publication; it takes years sometimes for reputable, scholarly, and the historical scientific methods of proper archaeology, paleography, etc, to arrive at publication. It is a very rigorous process of study FIRST before jumping to crazy, radical (profitable?) conclusions, isn’t it?

      Thanks Ark for this. I will do a little search on these just to get up to speed on the Evangelical fly-by-night “academia.” 🤭🙄

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Most of the christians who would have (and would be) fooled by the exhibits in the museum haven’t studied the necessary scholarship for the many claims made, and they are just looking for anything to authenticate their beliefs

    Liked by 6 people

    • That is certainly the case with Green, Ham, and all of their related religious foundations or “historical” institutions, Jonathan. Reasoning, due process, and correct historical/scientific methods are pushed and tossed aside for fantastic (farcical), sensational leaps of faith, huh? 🙄 What I found just as disturbing as Green’s methods of “evidence” for his museum, no… Amusement Park, was how they continued to exhibit these artifacts during their testing and verifications which took months to finish! They put little obscure signs up that their DS Scrolls were “in an authentication process,” however, does that tell the FULL story or why this wasn’t done prior to exhibiting frauds/forgeries!!!??? That unscrupulous methodology right there SHOULD tell all visitors that what they are viewing and reading is no different than Hollywood cinema with a license to embellish and sensationalize. But I’m amazed how gullible, how ready (and primed) fans/people are to embrace this “show” as fact. 😲

      But then again, Americans DO LOVE those hyper-dramatic, emotionally charged, action-packed movies like the DC-Marvel blockbusters don’t they? Hell, with this sort of logic I’m sure thousands and thousands of Fundy-Evangy Christians think Forrest Gump was a real person and true story. 😆

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Since the museum is in my city…. I get an eyeful of the people who go there. Buses of southern (or people who once originated from the South), white evangelical, Conservative (mostly over 40 years old), middle class people swarm the place. Few others outside of that go in. Once in, it is assumed that the person (non-believer) will be slain in the spirit and became the Christian of the Greens’ imagination. I went and am still Roman Polytheist.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Wow ND! A tip of my hat to you for braving the inside AND coming out alive and in one piece! 😉 😛

      Seriously though, I’ve noticed over the last couple of decades — and this is MY personal assessment, btw — how middle America or mainstream America has gravitated more and more to sensationalism. This includes all forms of media… EVEN NEWS SOURCES that clearly pander to hyped drama, not true journalism. It’s remarkable and sad really. 😦

      Thank you ND for your feedback! Please feel free to share more on the museum/amusement park if you’d like. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • It was very busy visually. Everything was oriented to having an extrasensory experience. It reminded me of an arcade with bells and the like. The implied assumption about the Bible was that it is a Protestant invention or that the truest version is the Protestant one. (They were dicey about which Protestant one.)

        My father collected Bibles and had 100 different versions of them in his collection. They were basically focused on which would be the most understandable or the truest version of the original text. That was my background and interest in the museum. The Greens were more interested in the experience of the Bible – i.e. read God’s Word and poof, instant Fundamentalist Christian. (i.e. magic).

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you ND. Somewhere about a year ago I read a clinical psych journal article — I’ll have to go digging around to find it :/ — about how theater performances or HD/3D special-effects not only greatly enhance the audience’s experiences, but stimulates so many sensory-receptors in humans that regular attendance to such events creates higher levels of dopamine and euphoria that many people get addicted to “the rush,” the emotional high. In clinical psych programs or counseling this is a rising trend among Western societies (some Asian ones too), but especially in the youth and young adults of the U.S. where high-tech personal VR goggles, high-tech home theaters or vehicles, and of course our super high-tech movie theaters or 3D-Max auditoriums just bombard all senses. Many hooked viewers/experiencers go back 3-5 times indicating addictive behavior.

          It didn’t take long at ALL for 1-2 psychologists and social-psychologists to chime in and include the booming contemporary, charismatic and non-denominational churches and MEGA-churches and their expensive high-tech equipment, special-effects, light-shows, music and sound systems to also be pin-pointed and labeled as essentially identical hyped sensory “auditoriums/theaters” for addictive neurological behaviors for more or continued dopamine-euphoria highs. Hmmmmm. 🤔 Is it no wonder museums like this one or a litany of other similar Theme Parks (Christian or otherwise) are profitable year after year after year? And for what? For what ultimate benefit to humanity and global issues/crises we have?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Ahh, well then your other senses (to compensate, as researchers & doctors explain) were heightened, more acute by the “show.” Immersive I’m sure. But you probably know what I’m inferring due to your condition, which in many ways turns out to be a gift in other areas of sensory-reception. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah, well, if there must be fake artifacts on display, at least they’re right at home in a museum dedicated to fake ideas. Let the con men relieve the Greens of their money and leave real archaeologists to do their work in peace. In fact, I hope everything in the Greens’ museum is fake — it’s obviously no place for genuine antiquities of historical significance.

    The more publicity such stories get, the better. In time everything Biblical will have a faint miasma of fraud and flim-flam hanging around it.

    “closely held for-profit” corporations like Hobby Lobby can refuse their employed women contraceptive medicines and/or care

    It’s very striking how the fundies these days are so determined to preserve what amounts to a right to be a pain in the ass to women about their sex lives. You never hear about them fighting for more rights for homeless people or immigrants or whatever. It’s all about punishing sex.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Concur on all points Infidel. “It’s all about punishing sex.” That is a VERY prevalent Greco-Roman culture (i.e. Roman Catholic doctrine) still present today, astonishingly enough. It was Emperor Constantine’s thru Theodosius II’s method (with support from all bishops of course) of “purifying” the empire of its long history of sexual promiscuities (or freedom). It’s the same mentality as “cure a headache by decapitation” — it backfires in ferocious ways. LOL

      Liked by 3 people

  5. It bugs me to think about these fraudsters! I mean I get why people make forgeries, not all that surprising, but it’s far more interesting to study the REAL DEAL 😉 I like the point already mentioned that many just want to validate their beliefs with pseudo-science or pseudo-history rather than confront an uncomfortable fact that may challenge their narrative! “Infalliable” texts my eye 😉
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 2 people

  6. 12 years of Catholic education is wasted if you don’t make some positive use of stuff hard learned and tough suffered, so I look forward to participating in this excellent forum; that is, if I may judge this blog on the merit of its content. Thank you, Professor T., for your welcoming my thoughts and opines here. 🙂
    Insularity, arrogant presumption and the oft-repeated insistence on imposing empty definitions — such as defining the very word “Catholic” as “universal” — casts a very thin net over the overpopulated planet. Pope Paul VI, recently identified as saintly, authored the encyclical “Human Vitae.” Its “wisdom” gets proclaimed 24/7 on a Catholic media that reflects the eternal “insularity, arrogant presumption” of the one, holy, roman and apostolic, to quote myself.
    Thank you for the additional information on Hobby Lobby’s commitment to a museum that
    “… a VERY prevalent Greco-Roman culture (i.e. Roman Catholic doctrine) still present today…” Paul, and the absent Peter, knew a coup when he saw one.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly. And the crown on the head of this despicable way of thinking that has become so prevalent is the fact that trump – a parasite with the ability to “think” and who is devoid of compassion or empathy – is president.

        Hey, but at least we’re winning!! 🤢 🤢 🤮

        Like

      • Looking at the news stories now, it appears that the link wasn’t quite as clear as I remember some implying, but it is there.
        https://newrepublic.com/article/123262/between-hobby-lobby-and-isis-battle-iraqs-antiquities
        “The sale of looted artifacts likely benefits ISIS, which appears to be smuggling portable artifacts out of the region as a means of raising income. In 2014, UNESCO published a special edition of its World Heritage publication concerning Iraq’s threatened treasures, warning that the looting of historical objects is used by ISIS to finance acts of terrorism. Though it isn’t clear how the Greens purchased their tablets, Moss and Baden emphasized in an email to the New Republic that “every purchase of unprovenanced artifacts reinforces the market for illicit antiquities and emboldens those engaged in looting,” adding that “the risks of inadvertently financing an illegal and violent market are just too high to justify the acquisition of improperly documented material.””

        Liked by 1 person

        • You were right, the artefacts were pilfered by ISIS (or Al-Qaeda in Iraq), then sold on the black market through their sellers. Just because the Green’s didn’t buy directly from a black flag carrying monster (or Al-Qaeda in Iraq) doesn’t mean they weren’t buying directly from a black flag carrying monster (or Al-Qaeda in Iraq).

          Liked by 2 people

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