After winning their Supreme Court battle to limit which birth control options employee insurance plans can cover, the owners of Hobby Lobby are free too pursue their long-term project: spreading Christianity through a Bible museum and a school curriculum. Of these two plans, one is moving ahead full-speed, and the other is taking a few hits.
Steve Green had hoped to see his four-year-long elective course on the Bible’s history and impact hit schools this upcoming year, but the Hobby Lobby owner’s nonprofit organization has faced some difficulties. Calling it a promotion of religion by government, and a clear transgression of church-state separation, opponents have fought to keep the program out of schools.
In a report by Religion News Service, a spokesperson for Museum of the Bible, the nonprofit wing of the Hobby Lobby family’s holdings, did not mention threats of lawsuits, or refusals of schools to implement the curriculum for fear of legal action, though. He merely cited “unforeseen delays,” and said the group would continue to work to prepare the curriculum.
However, religion and legal scholars have noted that the Hobby Lobby owner’s Bible curriculum in its current form is unlikely to pass muster, and that it contains materials that teach the Bible from a single, biased viewpoint.
Meanwhile, the Museum of the Bible is moving forward without apparent difficulty. According to Newsweek, it will be placed two blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and will contain what is rumored to be one of the largest collections of Biblical artifacts, scrolls, manuscripts, and other documents in the world.
The Hobby Lobby family’s Bible Museum is not without its detractors, either. Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has called for boycotts of the chain for some time, due to what the church-state watchdog group refers to as a “disinformation campaign” when Hobby Lobby takes out holiday ads that indicate America has been a Christian nation from its beginning, and paint the Founding Fathers as evangelical Christians.
The FFRF has taken to combating the Hobby Lobby ads with one of their own:
Of the museum, Gaylor told Newsweek,
They have a theocratic agenda and an awful lot of money to play with—it’s going to be an institute of religious fundamentalism.
How can it not be sending a message to our congressional leaders?
The Bible’s literature is one thing, but Genesis is not history. I’m all for religious freedom, but they are forcing it upon us.
Still, even if the Hobby Lobby Bible Museum is outright evangelical, it only becomes a church-state separation issue when and if it begins using government funds or resources to support the endeavors.
Hobby Lobby owner Steve Green hopes to have his curriculum in schools by 2016, and the museum opened in 2017.