ATLANTA — Acting on behalf of a seller of spiritual books, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit arguing that a Georgia law exempting the Bible from sale taxes is discriminatory and should be extended to all publications dealing with the meaning of life.
"If they're not taxing someone's holy scriptures, they shouldn't be taxing anyone's," said Candace Apple, who owns the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. "I'm not willing to stand at the counter and tell someone, 'Oh, sorry, your religion is wrong."'
Apple and Thomas Budlong, former president of the Georgia Library Association, sued in federal court on Monday, contending the tax break as written is unconstitutional. Georgia Revenue Department spokesman Charles Willey had no comment Tuesday.
The law, enacted in the 1950s, exempts from sale taxes the Bible as well as "similar books commonly recognized as being Holy Scripture."
"What about 'A Witches' Bible'?" Apple asked, referring to a book she sells for Wiccans.
Apple and ACLU attorney Maggie Garrett said the lawsuit is aimed at ending discrimination against religious faiths outside the mainstream and extending the tax break to all publications that deal with issues of good and evil, right and wrong.