Harder Asks Trump to Reconsider “Bible Tax”

June 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) has asked President Trump to reconsider additional tariffs on Chinese goods, including printed goods from China which would increase prices on Bibles. More than half of the Bibles produced in the world originate in China because of the specialized printing processes involved. Unless Bibles are excluded from the tariffs, churches, religious schools, and other organizations would be forced to pay more for scripture.

“I don’t think the president planned to add an extra tax on Bibles, but that’s the practical effect these tariffs would have, and that would make connecting with scripture more difficult for our Christian communities, said Rep. Harder. “We need all of these trade wars to end, but in the meantime, we can’t allow our congregations to become collateral damage.”

"Christian publishers and Bibles societies in the U.S. depend on the capacity and expertise of printers in China to help supply the 20 million Bibles bought each year by Americans,” said Stan Jantz, president of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. “A Bible tax would mean fewer Bibles at much higher prices would be available to people who depend on the Bible for their daily spiritual nourishment.”

The text of the letter is below, and an original version is available here.


Dear President Trump,

Thank you for your leadership overseeing the nation and the needs of our country. I appreciate the opportunity to work together to support our families in California’s Central Valley.

I write today to express my concern regarding tariffs on printed books which would amount to a “Bible tax.” The recently proposed tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, including printed materials, could have significant negative effects on our religious groups, churches, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organizations. As you may know, more than half of the bibles printed in the world originate in China due to the unique paper and technologies required.

If printed books, including Bibles, are not removed from the list of products that could be impacted by tariffs, consumers and religious groups will be forced to pay higher prices for their Bibles. While I do not believe this was an intended policy aim, the outcome would be harmful to our religious communities who rely on these sacred texts. I respectfully request that you reconsider the proposed tariffs for books and Bibles.

Thank you again, President Trump, for your attention to this matter. I hope that we can continue to collaborate to ensure Americans can access and read their Bibles.