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 the Edward Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham 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).
"Biblical scholars Moss (The Myth of Persecution) and Baden (The Historical David) become dogged investigative journalists as they seek to understand how the Green family, the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby, have aspired to influence national politics. . . . While depicting the Greens as well-intentioned, Moss and Baden make an impassioned case for fighting against the family’s efforts to limit access to their questionably sourced collection and to misrepresent their work as nonsectarian when it is entrenched in a deeply American evangelical worldview. . . . This is a timely read for those interested in the relationship between money, faith, and American politics."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Two biblical scholars combine to dig into the actions and words of the billionaire Green family, founders of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores. . . . Moss and Baden portray the Green family members and their key executives as sincere evangelicals and benevolent employers. Throughout the book, however, they also show the Greens as naïve or disingenuous. To be sure, the family's proselytizing is not neutral. Rather, they are promoting a historically inaccurate saga of the U.S. as an exclusionary Christian nation meant to marry church and state. . . . Impressive . . . Well-positioned to examine the impact of religion on secular life."--Kirkus
"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
Table of Contents:
1 The Collection 22
2 The Green Scholars Initiative 62
3 Education 99
4 The Museum of the Bible 137
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Candida R. Moss:
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Joel S. Baden: