The October issue of Church & State discusses Pennsylvania’s fight to promote religion by creating a special sales tax exemption for religious publications. The state courts have ruled against it twice, but Gov. Tom Ridge isn’t letting that stop him as he moves on to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Normally, folks who are doing stuff like this at least try to pretend they are doing it for a Constitutional reason. Not so with Ridge, who said, “It is entirely appropriate for the state to encourage religion in our communities by exempting religious publications from the sales tax.” It is? Says who?
What’s interesting, and not brought up in this blurb, is that a law like this would put the Pennsylvania into the position of evaluating what is or is not a religious publication. The Bible is; what about the Satanic Bible? Magazines published by the local church are; what about Free Inquiry, published by the Council for Secular Humanism? How about The Celestine Prophecy, which is fiction (see the mailbag item on that topic) but which has allegedly non-fiction workbooks and the like? The list could go on and on.