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Family Behind Hobby Lobby Case Envisions Christian Nation

Family Behind Hobby Lobby Case Envisions Christian Nation

June 16, 2014 — The family at the center of a Supreme Court case over the federal contraceptive coverage rules is spending hundreds of millions of dollars "on a quiet but audacious bid" to engage Americans in a literal interpretation of the Bible, Politico reports.

The Green family, owners of the arts-and-crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby, has sued the federal government over the contraceptive coverage rules, which family members say violate their Christian beliefs. The Greens believe that some of the contraceptives covered under the rules are tantamount to abortion.

According to Politico, the Supreme Court will rule on the case by the end of the month.

Bible Initiatives

The Greens have spent several million dollars to create a Bible curriculum that they hope will be taught in public schools around the nation. According to Politico, a draft version of the curriculum's textbook presents Adam and Eve as historical figures, describes God as "faithful and good," and warns that "curses for disobeying the Lord" include fever, defeat and "disaster and panic in everything you do."

The curriculum, currently under revision, is set to debut as an elective at Mustang High School in Oklahoma.

In addition, the family is spending an estimated $800 million to build a new Bible museum within a few blocks of the National Mall. The Greens also are funding scholarly study of the Bible and hosting forums on the topic, which they intend to package into a national broadcast.

Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, said last spring that the goal of the various initiatives is to "reintroduce this [Bible] to the nation," adding that the country is "in danger because of its ignorance of what God has taught."

Scholars Voice Concerns

Mark Chancey -- a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University and one of the scholars who has reviewed the proposed Bible textbook -- said the curriculum is "startlingly irresponsible" and likely unconstitutional because public schools are not allowed to promote any one religion. Chancey said, "[The Greens] don't seem to realize that their claims about the Bible's reliability are statements of faith, not statements of fact."

Similarly, John Kutsko, executive director of the international Society of Biblical Literature, said that the Greens' initiatives provide "a simple, superficial, literal reading of the Bible" and fail to acknowledge other religious viewpoints or recognize how the Bible has also been used as a tool of oppression.

Kutsko said this message is inappropriate in a public high school or in a private museum that "by virtue of being adjacent to the Mall gives the impression that it's almost a national museum" (Simon, Politico, 6/16).