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July 17, 2014

Ruling Casts Spotlight on Hobby Lobby Clan's Museum Plan

The New York Times reports on plans by the evangelical Christian family that owns the Hobby Lobby craft-store chain to open a museum dedicated to the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Hobby Lobby owner Steve Green acquired a 400,000-square-foot former warehouse near the National Mall in 2012 to house his collection of Bibles, related artifacts, and ancient religious manuscripts and papyri. The Oklahoma-based Green family established a nonprofit, Museum of the Bible, to develop the institution, which is slated to open in 2017, pending city approval of design plans.

The Supreme Court ruled last month, in a case brought by Hobby Lobby, that owners of closely held corporations who object to contraception on faith grounds cannot be forced to provide birth-control coverage to employees.

In the wake of the firm's victory, some secular groups have raised concerns that the Bible museum could blur the line between educating and evangelizing and that its Washington location is aimed at accruing political influence. Museum officials have said Washington was chosen over other cities because of its high tourism numbers and strong museum culture.