Come for the scented candles and scrapbooks, stay for the smuggled artifacts.

Image: Sue Ogrocki/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Hobby Lobby, the store that sells picture frames and wicker baskets to your grandmother, was just punished for buying ancient artifacts smuggled out of modern-day Iraq.

Like the villain in the world’s worst Indiana Jones movie (“It belongs in a museum!”), the company snatched up thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae, which were moved through Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and illegally shipped to the United States. 

The Department of Justice made Hobby Lobby forfeit the artifacts, worth about $1.6 million, and pay an additional $3 million. 

If your reaction to this story was, “Wait, WTF?,” you weren’t alone. 

Why might Hobby Lobby be interested in ancient artifacts? Well, the company’s founder, David Green, is the man behind the soon-to-open Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and he’s been on a bit of an antiquity-buying spree for the last few years. 

Not Hobby Lobby's usual offerings.

Not Hobby Lobby’s usual offerings.

Image: U.S. Department of Justice

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, which claimed that covering emergency contraceptives and IUDs for women violated its right to exercise religious freedom  

And so, Wednesday, the schadenfreude flowed freely. 

At least Michaels has a new potential slogan: “The arts and crafts store that doesn’t buy smuggled artifacts from Iraq.” 

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