Hobby Lobby was recently fined $3 million dollars and forced to forfeit ownership of 5,500 ancient artifacts, which they purchased from someone out of Israel and the UAE. These artifacts were purposefully mislabeled in order to avoid detection by customs and border agents, but the 5 shipments via FedEx didn’t make it. They were intercepted by customs and a federal investigation was brought against the Evangelical Christian company.
Hobby Lobby paid $1.6 million for the artifacts, and according to the investigation, Hobby Lobby was aware of the suspicious nature of the transaction. The transaction was suspicious because Hobby Lobby had to wire money to seven different bank accounts, to 5 different people, and the “3rd party sellers” never showed their faces when negotiations were being made. Red flag, red flag, red flag.
Their attorneys cautioned against proceeding with the transaction given that many ancient artifacts coming from that area come directly from terrorist organizations that plunder historical sites for the purposes of funding their terrorist operations.
The only punishment facing Hobby Lobby and its private owners is a $3 million dollar fine, the return of all artifacts, and their agreement to restructure internal purchase policies regarding these types of artifacts.
ISIS makes an estimated $150-200 million a year for selling artifacts to various buyers around the globe, which means Hobby Lobby most likely purchased items whose proceeds would be used to kill American soldiers, as well as innocent civilians in the US’s fight against terrorism.
Many Americans have taken to Hobby Lobby’s Facebook page out of disgust for what Hobby Lobby has done. Supporting terrorists – especially as a self-proclaimed Christian-based company – will not sit well with most Americans, especially those who have family or friends in the military.
The question we should be asking ourselves is this: should the owners – who knowingly purchased these items that were most likely stolen and sold by terrorists – face prison time for aiding a terrorist organization? Should the federal government not probe the sale further in order to determine the associations of those who sold the items initially?
I believe they should. The US arrests American citizens who simply plan to fly to the middle-east and join one of those “terrorist organizations,” so why would it be okay for a privately-owned company to be sending millions of dollars to the very people we are defending our nation from (also allegedly)? What better deterrent for bad unsavory business practices than to send the owners to prison? I can’t think of any better deterrent. Can you?