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.

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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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Tin Can Connections

A few weeks back a very dear friend to me wrote and published on WordPress a most magnificent poem about chemical, ethereal, human connections, synapses, and interactions that are not so common and in my opinion come around and manifest themselves once, twice, maybe three-four times in a lifetime. When it magically occurs it hits you in the chest deep and almost paralyzes your brain, speech, and body. Esmeralda Cloud or Esme Upon the Cloud is how everyone knows the Madame. Here is her masterpiece, Melding a Small Cache of Electric, Eclectic Synapses:

The first blast came from nowhere,
To her heart . . . and to her hands.
Hands that touched his,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as no surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The first blast came from somewhere, 
In his heart . . . and in his hands,
Hands that touched hers,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as some surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The initial pillows of the explosion
Were numb with silent, sonic, relinquishment.
It blasted them light years apart . . . apart.
Apart from one, singular golden thread:
A chain of tenacious fire which endured;
Linking, binding. Holding fast.
Continuing the continuum, palm to palm,
Stretching out across vast, immutable distances.
At first of space,
And then later, time –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Together, yet alone, they hurtled backwards,
To be caught warmly, effortlessly,
By personal terra firma of autonomous worlds:
Comfortable fields of bright corn,
Arm in arm with solid landscapes of contentment.

And so it came to pass,
That the universe and its incalculable, enchanting
Dimensions were countless aeon away.
Yet the swirls on their fingertips tingled,
Mourning their loss, and reaching for the stars;
Every morning when they awoke,
And again, every evening, before they slept,
Falling into the arms of Morpheus –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Upon each diurnal course their planets revolved;
The cogs of every hour rotated.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards.
Decades, then centuries, burgeoned with life’s roller-coasters;
The pages of each life turned, emitting
Joys and happiness, loves and fears
For those who lived.
Tears and heartache
For those who died.
Passions, curiosities, trials, guiles and smiles,
All ensconced firmly within their hearts.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

They died, and were reborn:
In multifarious myriadal, twisting times,
Beyond quantification.
Different lives; differing planets;
Alternate worlds; alternative dimensions.
Male or female, alike and unlike alike.
Aeons arose and insouciantly passed,
Yet still, regardless of time’s toll,
The chain of fire between them remained;
Its warm glow oscillating back and forth in animated, rapacious pulses –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The fire burned them painfully at times.
And so it was that measures were undertaken:
He took a blowtorch to his end of the chain,
She an angle grinder to hers.
In fervid despair, they, in turn, had tried 
Hammers, sickles, gelignite, flint and steel,
Hatchets, guillotines and pick-axes,
Chewing and stretching, gnawing of teeth,
Acid baths, anvils dropped, dynamite, grenades.
In fact, the whole cartoon’ish caboodle of ACME warehouse
Weaponry was wily waved and yet . . .
All to no avail – the chain remained just as it was:
Immutable. Perpetual.
And elements of their souls were relieved –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Sometimes, within certain lives
One would twang the line,
Causing untold vibrations to electrify with joy,
Or dampen the other soul’s heart.
Sometimes, the other would do just the same.
And this was welcomed,
For it conjured pockets of remembered smiles;
Times when the stars waved at them as they flew,
Through the night skies with pounding, childlike hearts and eyes –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

One day, when innumerable aeons had passed,
And they were both distant copies of their original selves,
A spontaneous contraction of the chain occurred;
Like a cord shuttling back into a cosmic vacuum cleaner,
And BOOM!
Suddenly there they were once again;

Heart to heart.
Hands touching hands;
Wrinkled palm against palm;
Aged finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
One set of murky cataracts
Gazing into the other’s.
Toothless smiles;
Radiant gums.

And it came as no surprise.

And the time was right now.

And it was beautiful –

It was, as it has always been . . . forever and a day.

Please stop over to her most enjoyable, provocative, witty Imaginarium upon the Cloud. I promise you will not regret it! Tell her that her favorite suave, Steampunk, pervert Professor Taboo sent you. It will make her heart go pitter-patter and her knees wobbly. 🤭

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Being Natural

A brief interruption of my current, “serious” blog-series to get a little more… human. Natural.

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It is very simple. And you’ll never understand if you don’t get out and swim in the marrow of life.

There was a boy
A very strange, enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far
Very far, over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day,
A magic day he passed my way
While we spoke of many things
Fools and Kings
This he said to me

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return. — Eden Ahbez

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Live Well — Laugh Often — Love Much — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
Blog content with this logo by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.