In today's you've got to be effing kidding me category: Climate activist Tim DeChristopher is out of prison, serving the remainder of his two-year sentence at a halfway house in Salt Lake City, Utah. Good news, to a point.
Tim had planned on working at a local Unitarian church—he'd expressed sentiments of moving towards ministry work while in jail. Except that the Federal Bureau of Prisons stepped in and put its jackbooted foot down.
DeChristopher had been offered a job with the church's social justice ministry, which would include working with cases of race discrimination, sex discrimination or other injustices that fall contrary to Unitarian beliefs.
"The Bureau of Prisons official who interviewed Tim indicated he would not be allowed to work at the Unitarian church because it involved social justice and that was what part of what his crime was," Shea said.
Ken Sanders, proprietor of a downtown rare books store, instead offered DeChristopher a job as a clerk. That employment has been deemed "safe," Shea confirmed.
I wonder if the Bureau of Prisons will make surprise visits at the bookstore to make sure DeChristopher isn't reading any subversive literature, or encouraging people to head towards the social and environmental justice section?
At least Prisons recognizes that Tim was indeed trying to redress serious issues of social justice when he entered the Federal oil and gas lease auction a couple years back. I won't recount the saga, but instead refer you to the links at left for the backstory.
The big question, that very well may have already uncontrollably popped out of your month, is this actually legal?
It very well may be, but it's surely not ethical nor just.
Which brings this full circle to how Tim got into this predicament: Protesting legal but essentially unethical and unjust activities—remember, the very auction DeChristopher participated in was later declared invalid—and then being punished for it.
NOTE: An earlier headline for this article stated that DeChristopher was barred from social justice work while on parole. That was incorrect, as Tim has not yet technically been paroled, even though he is no longer in prison. He still has several more months on his sentence, being serving in the mentioned halfway house.