How the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make America a “Bible nation”
Like many evangelical Christians, the Green family of Oklahoma City believes that America was founded on a “biblical worldview as a Christian nation.” But the Greens are far from typical evangelicals in other ways. The billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, a huge nationwide chain of craft stores, the Greens came to national attention in 2014 after successfully suing the federal government over their religious objections to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What is less widely known is that the Greens are now America’s biggest financial supporters of Christian causes—and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an ambitious effort to increase the Bible’s influence on American society. In Bible Nation, Candida Moss and Joel Baden provide the first in-depth investigative account of the Greens’ sweeping Bible projects and the many questions they raise.
Bible Nation tells the story of the Greens’ rapid acquisition of an unparalleled collection of biblical antiquities; their creation of a closely controlled group of scholars to study and promote their collection; their efforts to place a Bible curriculum in public schools; and their construction of a $500 million Museum of the Bible near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Bible Nation reveals how these seemingly disparate initiatives promote a very particular set of beliefs about the Bible—and raise serious ethical questions about the trade in biblical antiquities, the integrity of academic research, and more.
Bible Nation is an important and timely account of how a vast private fortune is being used to promote personal faith in the public sphere—and why it should matter to everyone.
Candida R. Moss is professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame and the author of, among other books, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Dangerous Legacy (HarperOne). Joel S. Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at the Yale Divinity School. His books include The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero (HarperOne).
"Absolutely riveting. Without exaggeration, this is one of the most interesting books I have read in years. Moss and Baden have embedded a searing indictment within a compelling detective story that ranges from academic intrigue to divinely inspired business acumen, with a driving narrative and a cast of characters worthy of Hollywood, except that this is real life. Bible Nation should be required reading for anyone even thinking of visiting the Museum of the Bible."--Eric H. Cline, author of Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology
"Moss and Baden’s account of how a family of billionaires has almost single--handedly transformed the American religious landscape—to the benefit of some and the detriment of many—will shake you to your core. This is a must read in our increasingly polarized country."--Reza Aslan, author of the New York Times bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
"Bible Nation offers a vivid tour through the catacombs of the culture wars: the unexpected political and theological battles in education policy, museum administration, and even the secretive world of international traders who buy and sell ancient manuscripts. Part cultural study, part family biography, part detective story, this book demonstrates that the Green family has accrued immense influence over the politics of religious liberty and the bounds of academic freedom in the study of the Bible."--Molly Worthen, author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Candida R. Moss:
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Joel S. Baden: