For reasons many have yet to fully understand, the Religious Right still supports Donald Trump. Despite his record of horrific behavior with women, demonstrated ignorance of Biblical content, and foul-mouthed rally speeches, these so-called Christians turn out in droves to attend campaign events and fire up their megachurches to get people to the polls. Many even claim he’s anointed by God (that he likely only pretends to believe in).
But it seems that in this latest case of Trump’s policies hurting his own supporters, his most recent tariff hikes on Chinese imports are worrying Bible publishers. On Friday, Christianity Today reported, “Although books have escaped earlier tariff hikes by the Trump administration, the latest proposed round—a 25-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods—includes Bibles and Christian books.”
Last week, Christian publishers testified in front of the US International Trade Commission in Washington D.C. to ask for an exemption to the tariff. This is because China is the world’s largest Bible printer and exporter. It’s estimated that about 75% of Bibles in the US were printed in China.In response to the tariffs, the senior VP of marketing for the world’s largest Bible publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, said, “We believe the Administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on the publishing industry, and never intended to impose a ‘Bible tax’ on consumers and religious organizations.” And in the Trade Commission hearing last week, the company’s CEO said the proposed tariffs will force his company to increase prices, reduce sales volume, and discontinue some Bible editions.
But, but, but… I thought the tariffs are supposed to hurt China, not American companies and consumers? Oh right, that’s not true at all. But don’t tell a Trump supporter or FoxNews viewer that. They’re unwavering, regardless of the facts.
So now we can add Chinese tariffs to the list of special treatment that Christians request and usually get in this country — a nation that’s supposed to not favor any religion over another. I hope that if an exemption is awarded, it is applied across the board — Bibles as well as any religious text, including books about secularism.
SecularVoices readers: I hope you enjoyed this piece and continue to enjoy the SecularVoices column! To support our work (and keep the coffee flowing), please consider springing for a cup o’ joe through the button below. And if you do, make sure you put your Twitter ID in the comments so we can follow you and send you a “thank you.”
(I’ve discontinued the Patreon page for now. I think the coffee link is more appropriate and doesn’t force readers to commit to a recurring donation.)