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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Bible Nation: Hobby Lobby, Scripture, and the Making of America

the inaugural wolfe lecture on religion and american politics

Bible nation book cover


Candida Moss
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Time: 5:30 - 7pm
Location: Gasson Hall 100


Abstract: In 2014 the Green Family, the owners of Hobby Lobby, Inc, burst into public consciousness with their controversial lawsuit Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The Green family cast themselves as family business owners reluctantly drawn into litigation by the overreach of a bloated federal government. This may be true, but their involvement in American politics and culture making preceded the lawsuit. Since 2009 the Greens had been collecting Biblical artifacts. Eventually those artifacts would find their way into the recently opened, Green-sponsored Museum of the Bible in DC. The Museum, the public face of the family’s evangelical project, is part of a larger effort to return America to her perceived Christian roots. This lecture explores the Green family’s motivations, their involvement in public life, and the scope of their influence.

headshot of Candida Moss

Candida R. Moss is the Cadbury Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham. She is an award-winning author or editor of seven books and over thirty academic articles and essays including Ancient Christian Martyrdom (Yale University Press), Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness (Princeton), and Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby (Princeton). She has served as a papal news contributor for CBS News; appeared in documentaries for CNN, NBC, National Geographic, History Channel, and Smithsonian; is a columnist for The Daily Beast; and has written for The New York TimesThe Atlantic MonthlyThe Washington Post, The LA Times and Politico.

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Both Emma Green and Candida Moss published articles in The Atlantic about the Museum of the Bible, recently opened in Washington D.C. Green's article, published in November 2017, details how the museum incorporates the Bible into America's political history. Moss, in her January 2016 feature story, written alongside Joel Baden, details the efforts by the Hobby Lobby family to acquire Biblical antiquities. On Feburary 7, Moss will speak more on the Bible in American culture, as well as what it means to situate the Bible at the heart of the American project, in The Inaugural Wolfe Lecture, sponsored by the Boisi Center.