All politics, all the time.
In an article dripping with condescension, the Associated Press decided to include a bit of politics in a story about fake Dead Sea Scrolls fooling Christians.
The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. opened its doors in November 2017. The centerpiece of the museum was a collection of 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments. Unfortunately for the museum, at least five of those scrolls were discovered to have been forgeries.
Make no mistake, this appears to be “a massive case of archaeological fraud,” the AP reports.
“The scrolls are a collection of ancient Jewish religious texts first discovered in the mid-1940s in caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea in what is now Israel,” AP explains. “The massive cache of Hebrew documents is believed to date back to the days of Jesus. With more than 9,000 documents and 50,000 fragments, the entire collection took decades to fully excavate.”
But in 2002, new scroll fragments suddenly went up for sale, and evangelical Christians have apparently paid millions of dollars for what are likely fakes.
Some of those who appear to have purchased forged scrolls are the billionaire Green family, which founded Hobby Lobby. And here’s where the AP gets really nasty. The author couldn’t just leave it at Hobby Lobby, they had to include a dig at the family over its religious opposition to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.
“Also eagerly buying up fragments was the Green family — evangelical Oklahoma billionaires who run the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores and who famously sued the Obama administration on religious grounds, saying they didn’t want to pay to provide their employees access to the morning-after pill or intrauterine devices.“ (Emphasis added.)
The Greens readily provided their employees with access to most of the popular forms of birth control, but did not want to pay for insurance that allowed for the morning-after pill or intrauterine devices without a copay, because the employers see those as abortion-inducing drugs. They never banned their employees from seeking these options, or threatened to fire anyone who did – they just didn’t want to pay for them.
None of this even matters in a story about the Dead Sea Scrolls. The AP goes on to mention another controversy related to the Green family, who are the primary backers of the Bible Museum. The family had previously purchased Iraqi artifacts from dealers over warnings that the artifacts may have been looted. The family returned the artifacts and paid a $3 million fine after being ordered to by the Department of Justice.
That’s relevant to the story. The Greens had another misstep when it comes to artifacts. But including the part about Obamacare just makes the story petty and shows the author’s – and the outlet’s – Left-leaning bias.
In a statement to the AP, the chief curator for the Bible Museum, Jeffrey Kloha, said the discovery of the fake Dead Sea Scrolls was “an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of verifying the authenticity of rare biblical artifacts, the elaborate testing process undertaken and our commitment to transparency.”