The new Museum of the Bible opened up in Washington DC over the weekend, and it has already attracted the expected complaints and criticisms from American liberals who despise to see anything related to Christianity celebrated in the public square. The museum, which was developed by founder Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby, houses more than 40,000 biblical artifacts, covering more than 400,000 square feet of the downtown capital. But while some of the complaints thrown around about the museum are not surprising, some of them truly show an astounding lack of self-awareness from the liberal elite.
Take Joel Baden, a professor at Yale University. In comments to the New York Times, Baden said he was disappointed that the MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE did not talk more about, say, Islam. Or Mormonism. He was also upset that the museum does not take a more scientific approach to the Bible.
“There are a number of prominent omissions that make it clear that it’s not a museum of the Bible as one might imagine it from a secular perspective,” Baden said, clearing up confusion that no one had. “They don’t do a good job of talking about whether parts of the Bible are historically accurate.”
Last year, when Green was still in the process of building the museum, Newsweek published a story equally critical of the venture – one that made certain to highlight the trouble the Hobby Lobby president landed in when federal customs officials pinched him for shipping misidentified cuneiform tablets. And in that piece, they interviewed John Kutsko, the executive director of the Society for Biblical Literature, who voiced many of the same concerns as Baden.
“There is no such thing as ‘the’ Bible,” said Kutsko. “We are a melting pot, and there are many religions here. The museum could be a showcase for how we and our texts are different and can coexist peacefully. That would be a wonderful message to bring to bear, particularly in the environment we live in, an environment of absolutists and polarization.”
And maybe there is a place for such a museum. Call it the Museum of Various Religions. Call it the Museum of the Melting Pot.
Why does Green’s Museum of the Bible, though, have to devote one of its six stories to Islam and another to Mormonism and another to Zoroaster? Isn’t it within Green’s rights to simply devote the entirety of his museum to the Bible of Christianity and Judaism – the Bible that has given salvation and hope to so many billions of people and has played such an integral role in the founding and development of this country? Why is there such a backlash whenever anyone tries to actually celebrate Christianity instead of criticizing it?
When and if Muslims build a Museum of the Quran in Dearborn, Michigan or wherever, we eagerly look forward to hearing these so-called scholars criticize the clerics for overlooking Jesus. But we won’t hold our breath.