As part of the unnecessary trade war created by Donald Trump, he recently said he’d impose a $300 million tariff on Chinese goods… which, whether he understands it or not, would mean Americans have to pay more for Chinese products.
Back in June, commenters pointed out that a lot of Bibles are made in China due to the country’s “unique paper” and special “printing technology,” and that making Chinese products more expensive would effectively mean Trump was imposing a tax on Bibles.
It looks like that’s no longer the case.
The Office of the US Trade Representative just published two lists of goods that would be affected by the tariff — one list of goods affected on September 1, the other on December 15 — and the Bible doesn’t appear on either one.
This is a relief to Christian publishers, according to Christianity Today:
“Bibles and other religious literature are among the items removed from the tariff list and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” USTR confirmed to CT.
The news came as a relief to Christian publishers in the US, who warned this summer that the “Bible tax” would make some translations too costly to produce…
For example, the publishing arm of America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), spends 31 percent of its total printing costs in China.
There’s no reason anything should’ve been exposed to these pointless tariffs, so in that sense, this is a victory. But it’s also another sign of how this administration values Christianity above and beyond all other belief systems. I have to wonder what they would’ve done if Muslims (and only Muslims) had similar problems printing the Qur’an. Would the tariff have been acceptable then?
By the way, many of the Christian publishers quoted in that CT piece say they’re grateful that the tariff was lifted and that “the administration has heard our concern,” though none of them dared to criticize Trump for creating the unnecessary tariff in the first place. Can’t criticize Dear Leader now, can we…?
One other thing: The tariff list includes “Children’s picture, drawing or coloring books” in the December 15 list. But there actually was a 1989 Supreme Court case, Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock, that said you couldn’t give Christian publications a special exemption that didn’t apply to secular ones. In that case, it was an exemption from paying state sales tax. As one lawyer pointed out, it could be argued that the new tariff rules violate that ruling.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Sean for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)