You don’t have to worship trees to protect them

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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