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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Sep 7, 2018

Randall Krause filed a lawsuit against the Tulsa County Library Commission, claiming their recycling program contained “fake” recycling bins and that it victimized him and other adherents of environmentalism. Learn what the court had to say at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


A federal court in Oklahoma has ruled that, despite the religious ardor of some of its adherents, environmentalism is not a religion.

Randall Krause filed a lawsuit against the Tulsa County Library Commission.  Evidently, the Commission maintains a recycling program and, according to Krause, it constitutes an undue burden on the Free Exercise of his environmentalism. Krause alleged that the Commission had placed “fake” recycling bins throughout town, victimizing him and other adherents to environmentalism.

Well, the judge didn’t buy the argument. Dismissing the case, the court explained that Krause had failed to establish that his environmentalism was anything more than personal preferences and secular beliefs without foundation in any religion.  And, even if it were, the “fake” recycling bins placed around town did not amount to a coercive law meriting protection by the First Amendment.

Determining what is a religion is difficult for any court.  But, as the Supreme Court has explained, “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.”  But, the court doesrequire beliefs to be rooted in a religion in order to trigger protection under the religion clauses of the First Amendment.

For now, at least in Tulsa, environmentalism does not constitute a valid religion.  But, it leaves me with one nagging question: is a “fake recycling bin” just a trashcan?

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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