You don’t have to worship trees to protect them

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


In a bizarre decision sure to infuriate believers in the “separation of church and chainsaw,” a federal judge has slapped a $5,000 fine on an attorney who filed a “religious freedom” lawsuit against two environmentalist groups, the DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE reports.

Stephen Young, representing the Associated Contract Loggers, filed a $600,000 suit last year against Minnesota’s Superior Wilderness Action Network (SWAN) and New Mexico’s Forest Guardians — two groups that had been trying to stall the approval of Minnesota logging permits. Young claimed the stall tactics of the activist groups’ amounted to a violation of church and state, since they were inspired by the Deep Ecology premise that nature is sacred and therefore should be preserved.

In February, Judge James Rosenbaum dismissed the case, calling it frivolous, and threatened to impose sanctions against Young unless the lawyer could convince him otherwise. In his ruling Friday, Rosenbaum called the lawsuit “an utter waste of the court’s time.”

“Usually a warning is enough to get the attention of an attorney; this kind of full-fledged sanction is used very sparingly,” said SWAN’s attorney.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate