Opinion Pieces


Final Questions Surrounding Governor Bevin's Home Purchase August 18, 2017 by Brandon Porter
As the sun begins to set on summer, we can be glad that the clouds surrounding Governor Bevin’s purchase of a family home in Louisville are moving off in the distance.  Still, though, there are a few looming questions.   First, within a day or two of the Jefferson County PVA’s adjustment of the value of the Bevin home in early August, Attorney General Andy Beshear ... Read more
Do Confederate Symbols Stand in the Way of Racial Reconciliation? August 15, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Less than 24-hours after a domestic terrorist plowed his car into counter-protestors of Neo-Nazi and KKK members rallying in Charlottesville, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray proposed the removal of two Confederate statues from Lexington's old courthouse lawn. We will hear howls of protest, but in the wake of a tragedy with Kentucky roots, it's time for some soul searching. Gray explained t... Read more
Questioning Transgenderism July 31, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Pres. Trump's tweet barring transgendered persons from serving in the military caught everyone off guard, including policy makers who are still trying to figure out exactly what it means. As we navigate the minefields of this highly charged issue there's middle ground that nearly everyone can agree on: policy by tweet is no way to run a government. Kentucky National Guardsman Capt. ... Read more
Bevin's Home Deal & Politicized Journalism July 27, 2017 by Richard Nelson
The Executive Branch Ethics Commission (EBEC) cleared Gov. Bevin of any wrongdoing involving a deal on a home by a campaign donor but considering the way the Louisville Courier-Journal trotted out the story since it broke earlier this year, its uncertain they'll accept the unanimous ruling in Bevin's favor. A week before the EBEC issued its ruling, a headline in the Louisville Cou... Read more
Integrity Matters in Ethics Commission Appointees and News Reports July 20, 2017 by Richard Nelson
A headline in the Louisville Courier-Journal said "Who decides if Matt Bevin's house deal broke ethics rules? A panel mostly appointed by him." Similar stories appeared in other major newspaper and radio outlets including U.S. News and World Reports. The insinuation is that any ruling will be slanted in Bevin's favor.  Reasonable suspicions are raised. But do the facts an... Read more
Ark Encounters Resistance on One-year Anniversary July 14, 2017 by Richard Nelson
The Ark Encounter celebrated its first anniversary this month but instead of fanfare and praise, some news media and protestors poured rain on its parade. The Biblical theme park, which consists of a life-size replica of Noah's Ark based in Northern Kentucky, faced 75 protesters and criticism from a columnist who said the group promotes "fringe beliefs." But hey, its the Ark, righ... Read more
California Exports Intolerance July 5, 2017 by Richard Nelson
California recently added Kentucky to its list of states off-limits to state workers for nonessential travel. The move is in response to what it considers "discriminatory legislation" toward the LGBT community. At issue is Kentucky's enactment of SB 17, the Student Religious Freedom Act which allows public school students to express their religious and political views without bein... Read more
Civility is on Life Support June 19, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Civility is on life support. But the body politic was sick long before James T. Hodgkinson assaulted GOP Congressmen at a baseball practice, critically wounding Con. Steve Scalise and wounding four others after asking whether the men on the field were Republicans or Democrats. Kentucky witnessed a similar event eight weeks ago when a machete-wielding Transylvania dropout attacked students a... Read more
In Defense of Gov. Bevin's Call to Prayer June 13, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Gov. Bevin's call to pastors and spiritual leaders to pray for violence prone areas in Louisville's West End has stirred strong and unexpected reaction from some. He encouraged hundreds of pastors and spiritual leaders in attendance at Western Middle School to form small prayer groups and walk through neighborhoods in order to connect with God and their community a couple of times per w... Read more
Yes, Gov. Bevin Gives Interviews May 26, 2017 by Richard Nelson
I recently sat down with Gov. Bevin for an exclusive interview to hear about significant legislative progress, continuing challenges and current initiatives to address Kentucky's most pressing needs. We talked about a host of issues including foster care and adoption reform, education policy, the state pension crisis, and a special session to modernize the tax code. It was a good interv... Read more
Addressing the Heart of Kentucky's Drug Crisis May 13, 2017 by Richard Nelson
The nation's top lawmakers and public health experts recently convened in Atlanta for the National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit to learn the latest about our drug epidemic and how to stop it. Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers was one of the featured speakers and said “This week we’re dealing in hope. We’re here to do more than talk. We’re here to act.&rdqu... Read more
Adoption Czar First Step to Fixing Ky's Foster Care System May 5, 2017 by Brandon Porter
A broken government system should not keep the pieces of a child’s life from being put back together. Governor Matt Bevin’s choice of Dan Dumas as adoption czar is a major step in the right direction to repair the broken foster care and adoption process in Kentucky. As an adoptive father of two, I’m grateful to see a governor who will put children before bureaucracy. More ... Read more
Is There Room in the Courtroom for Conscience? May 2, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Does a judge have a right to his conscience? That's the question many are asking since a Glasgow Family Court Judge recused himself in cases regarding the placement of children into the custody of homosexual parents. Last Thursday Judge Mitchell Nance said that “as a matter of conscience” he believes that “under no circumstance” would “the best interest of ... Read more
Living in a Post-truth World April 25, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Wheaties was a staple breakfast food in my childhood and between spoonfuls of the stuff that was supposed to make me strong I remember staring at the box donned with Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner ready to spring the javelin. It was the breakfast of champions and of course what eight-year boy old didn't aspire to be a world champion athlete? Jenner now goes by Caitlyn Jenner and rev... Read more
Churches are not Second Class April 18, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an important case regarding religious freedom and whether the government can treat religious institutions as second class. The case at hand involves a Missouri church that applied for a grant to receive recycled scrap tire material for its playground. The state rejected the application on the grounds that it was a religious institutio... Read more
What's so Good about Good Friday? April 14, 2017 by Richard Nelson
What's so good about Good Friday anyway? The day was preceded by betrayal, denial, abandonment, and conspiracy.  It ended in mob rule and the execution of a righteous man—the one the ancient Israelites hoped would break the shackles of oppressive Roman rule. Their king hung on a cross meant to bring shame, not something to celebrate. The day was a disappointment on so many le... Read more
Georgetown LGBTQ Advocates Turn to Scripture March 29, 2017 by Rick Hardison
It was standing room only in City Hall, and the overflow area was packed. As citizens approached the microphone to speak, person after person implored the community to consider Jesus. They pointed to Christ’s tolerant love for others and to the priority of the Golden Rule. Paul’s statement about the church’s oneness in Christ was cited to emphasize the need for fairness an... Read more
Cognitive Dissonance in Georgetown March 28, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Have you ever had two conflicting feelings happen at the same time? Ever felt both happy and sad? Or angry yet compassionate? If so, you've experienced something that amounts to a ten-dollar word psychologists call cognitive dissonance. Such confusion filled my being the other day while attending a Georgetown City Council meeting where the public weighed in on the proposed sexual orientatio... Read more
The Fear Within the Fairness Debate March 17, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Participating in a city council meeting can be intimidating. And the intimidation factor is magnified when a controversial issue is on the agenda. Such was the case in Bowling Green last Tuesday when the city commission had a special working session to discuss the proposed sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) nondiscrimination ordinance. I was one of a dozen that spoke against it. ... Read more
News Media Continues to Lose Credibility February 24, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Kentuckians' trust in institutional media may be at an all-time low.  According to Secretary of State Alison Grimes' Kentucky Civic Health Index released in January, less than half of Kentuckians trust the media. Even more surprising is an Emerson College Poll that found more Americans believe the Trump administration is more trustworthy than the news media by 49-39 percent. So why... Read more
Proposed Bowling Green Ordinance Unfair, Unnecessary February 23, 2017 by Richard Nelson and Brandon Porter
 Bowling Green's City Commission should be commended for rejecting the so-called "Fairness Ordinance" on Tuesday.  Since 2015, the Commission respectfully listened to dozens of publicly comments advocating for the ordinance.  As soon as the motion failed to receive a second, the room was filled with taunts of "shame, shame, shame." What  happened to t... Read more
What I saw outside the abortion clinic February 7, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Have you ever gone to an event expecting one thing only to find out that it was something entirely different? That was my day on Friday and I don't think I'll ever forget it. I was invited to attend a gathering of pastors and pro-life leaders in Louisville where I thought they'd be praying outside the EMW Women's Clinic. As I drove down West Market Street and approached EMW,... Read more
Louisville Courier Journal's Credibility Problem January 30, 2017 by Richard Nelson
I was given a tip last week by a Frankfort insider that Attorney General Andy Beshear  refused to defend the recently passed ultrasound law. This person told me to watch for a statement from the Governor's office. Within hours, Gov. Bevin went on Facebook Live and charged Beshear with failure to defend the recently enacted pro-life law. "It's dishonorable to run for a position... Read more
Marches, Planned Parenthood and fair reporting January 24, 2017 by Richard Nelson
It's been a week of marches and protests and major policy shifts, but in the pursuit of a story that seemed the pinnacle of "what's important," the institutional media neglected some major news  The Women's March on Washington, while an important event attracting nearly a half-million marchers, received an inordinate amount of attention—at the expense of weighti... Read more
Struggle Fueled by King's Ideals Continues January 16, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Race relations in many of our cities may be their poorest since the late 1960's, but today we celebrate the courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who dedicated his life to restoring racial equality under the law. Dr. King, who navigated an even tougher political environment, invested much of his life to restore the basic dignity of black men and women systematically deprived of things most ... Read more
Gov. Bevin signs historic pro-life legislation into law January 9, 2017 by Richard Nelson
An interesting thing happened in Frankfort a few days ago. For the first time in the history of the legislature, bills actually passed the House and Senate during the first week of business. Traditionally, it was an "organizational" week where little was accomplished.  Most notable is that significant steps have been taken to protect two classes of people: women and children. ... Read more
Resolutions for a better Commonwealth January 3, 2017 by Richard Nelson
Political commentators and celebrities are bidding good riddance to 2016 largely because of the ideological divide and politics that separates the nation.  It's a singular way to gauge a year, as if politics is the measure of all things. Coming off a holiday season celebrating with family is a reminder that there are more important things in life. Jacques Ellul warned about making ... Read more
Media must become trustworthy December 8, 2016 by Richard Nelson
In the time of the year when elections come to an end and average citizens suddenly grow tired of the bickering and vulgarization of discourse, a new idea comes along that undermines partisan provocateurs bent on belittling and maligning their opposition. The idea is that civilization flourishes when public discourse is accompanied by respect and charity—both sorely lacking in the afterma... Read more
Finding thanks in the midst of disappointment November 24, 2016 by Richard Nelson
An unusual thing happened in Frankfort the other day. After years of being in the minority party, Republican House Speaker-elect Jeff Hoover welcomed Democrats to join his eight-member transition team as the GOP assumes leadership status in Kentucky's state House.  Who saw that coming? Rep. Hoover announced that he will apportion committees to reflect the percentage of elected Demo... Read more
Giving thanks: A timely weapon against cynicism, hate November 23, 2016 by Robert Cunningham
As our nation emerges from perhaps the most bewildering and exhausting election we have ever endured, one thing has become abundantly clear: we are an angry and divided people. The toxic ethos of this election is much more than a referendum on the culture of politics; it is an echo of culture at large. I firmly believe that politics is not the instigator of society as much as the fruit of s... Read more
Candidate Trump is a Creature of the Times October 31, 2016 by Richard Nelson
Halloween is here and scarier than any goblin at your doorstep is a bitter political season filled with high pitched rhetoric that has invaded too many homes and induced a ghoulish mood within the electorate. Political operatives stir the pot of vitriol with a concoction of two parts suspicion, one part contempt and a dash of hatred. But those outside the political main aren't drinking thei... Read more
What's Wrong With Pastors Getting Political? October 6, 2016 by Richard Nelson
The two topics to avoid in polite company are religion and politics, and pastors shouldn't speak about the latter. At least that's what we're told. So when the Associated Press (AP) got a hold of a leaked video of Gov. Bevin encouraging a group of pastors to boldly speak to the social issues they sounded the alarm. The AP reported that the governor "urged a group of preachers t... Read more
Civil Rights Comm: Religious Freedom = Discrimination September 23, 2016 by Richard Nelson
When a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? How about when the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issues a groundbreaking report and nobody hears about it? Such appears to be the case regarding a recent report by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission called “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” The report hasn't received the attent... Read more
Trigg County Ten Commandments Come Down September 9, 2016 by Richard Nelson
After a threatening letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Trigg County official removed the the Ten Commandments from the County Courthouse. All is right with Trigg County's world now, at least according to FFRF. Or is it? FFRF was concerned enough about a painting of the Ten Commandments prominently displayed in the courthouse that they demanded that County Clerk C... Read more
Pamela Anderson's Position on Pornography Surprising September 6, 2016 by Rick Hardison
Imagine seeing the following headlines at your local news stand: “Best Email Practices,” by Hillary Clinton. “The Importance of Humility,” by Donald Trump. “Five Reasons to Repeal the Affordable Care Act,” by President Obama. “Golf is Stupid,” by Tiger Woods. “Take the Pledge: No More Indulging Porn,” by Pamela Anderson. We all wou... Read more
Making America Great Again August 17, 2016 by Richard Nelson
Say the phrase "make America great again" and it will either lead to heartfelt applause or looks of disdain followed by jeers. In either case, tens if not hundreds of thousands have attended rallies across the country to listen to a man who says he will make America great again. Nary a soul will admit that they don't want America to be great. More are likely to confess restoring g... Read more
Missionaries of Secularism Target Judge July 29, 2016 by Richard Nelson
A Western Kentucky judge recently landed himself in hot water when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatened a lawsuit over his refusal to perform a secular wedding. Trigg County Judge Executive Hollis Alexander was asked to perform nuptials for a Tennessee couple with an unusual request: they insisted the ceremony have no reference to God, someone Alexander believes is part of eve... Read more
Socially Conservative Values Pushed to Backseat in GOP Convention July 23, 2016 by Rick Hardison
Watching the Republican National Convention as a social conservative was like a trip to a bad Chinese buffet. I had low expectations going in, but the egg roll was worse than I imagined. Consider how socially conservative values took a backseat this week, even compared to the president’s progressive agenda. In 2013, Richard Blanco was selected to read a poem at President Obama&rsq... Read more
Racial Reconciliation and Hope July 19, 2016 by Richard Nelson
The latest murder of three Baton Rouge police officers has rattled our already fragile sense of safety and reminds us—as if we needed reminding—that we live in an age of hatred, a hatred that fuels terror and ends in murder. And the nearly daily dish of bad news leaves many of us are asking how we arrived at such a place. There are many paths that lead here. Lawlessness res... Read more
The Fireworks Over Gun Control June 30, 2016 by Richard Nelson
In a few days, Americans will celebrate our nation's birth by shooting loud fiery projectiles that sparkle and whizz and explode in the air.  Colorful and dramatic as fireworks are, why not just celebrate with a nice dinner and exchange presents? Simply because our nation was birthed in the smoke of gunpowder and freedom was delivered by the flare of patriots' rockets and such disp... Read more
Orlando and the Politics of Vilification June 20, 2016 by Richard Nelson
Less than 24-hours after one of the worst mass shootings in our nation's history, political opportunists fired up rhetoric that grated our already raw emotions. "If only there were better gun control laws." "If only less anti-gay rhetoric."  "If only full acceptance of the LGBT community…".  First responders were still working the scene and fac... Read more
The Department of Education and Our Identity Crisis May 18, 2016 by Richard Nelson
America's education establishment left the world of objective reality on Friday, when the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) politicized public school bathrooms and sided with biological revisionists by demanding that public school students be allowed to use lockers and restrooms regardless of their biological gender at birth. Instead of coming to grips with biology, sociology and confusio... Read more
Kentucky's Race for Healthier Children May 9, 2016 by Richard Nelson
Right before Kentucky's most celebrated event, a recent report finds Kentucky No. 1 in a category that it doesn't want to be first: the highest percentage of children in the nation who have had a parent in jail.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but not even the best mint julep can take away the sting from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest finding that 13 percent of Ken... Read more
Atheist Billboards Target Ark Park April 4, 2016 by Richard Nelson
A group of atheists is so riled up by the Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky that they've started a billboard campaign to discourage people from visiting it. The proposed billboard says: “Genocide & Incest Park: Celebrating 2,000 years of myths" and for a gift of $500, donors can have their face among those drowning outside the Ark. It's an attention grabber no doubt, but... Read more
Nobody Should be Forced to Participate in a Gay Wedding March 19, 2016 by Richard Nelson
SB 180, the bill intended to shore up religious freedom protections for business owners, is receiving harsh criticism from much of the media. Last week, the Kentucky New Era (KNE), a Western Kentucky newspaper, lambasted SB 180 through its editorial "Don't give business prejudice a loophole." It sounds good at first blush. After all, who supports prejudicial business practices? Bu... Read more
News Media Loses Credibility When It Cries Wolf March 1, 2016 by Richard Nelson
A few months ago Gallup released a survey that revealed that Americans' trust in the news media is at historic lows. Only 40 percent said they "'have a great deal' or 'a fair amount' of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly." A recent Associated Press (AP) story about an important legislative issue isn't helping ... Read more
Scalia's Death: 'The Demise of Conservative Hope' February 19, 2016 by Rick Hardison
It may not seem becoming to politicize someone’s passing, but the significance of this moment could echo for generations. Scalia had a reputation as a stalwart conservative with a literalist approach to the Constitution. He voted against the Obergefell decision that legalized gay marriage last summer, and he voted against the majority in 1992 in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, which rea... Read more
Running with the Devil at U of L February 9, 2016 by Richard Nelson
The University of Louisville men's basketball self-imposed ban on post-season play has rocked their basketball season and drawn the ire of Coach Rick Pitino who argues that heavy fines should be levied on coaches, the school—anybody but his ballplayers. It's a compelling argument from U of L's motivator-in-chief. But this is the second time Pitino has skirted around a sex scan... Read more
4 Takeaways from SB 4 February 5, 2016 by Rick Hardison
Thursday night, Senate Bill 4 passed the Kentucky House 92-3. This legislation requires women to talk to a professional about her options before she has an abortion. Here are four takeaways: First, political change takes time. The last time the Democratic-controlled House passed any new pro-life legislation the iPhone had not been introduced and few people had heard of Barack Obama. It&rsqu... Read more
SB 4 is Pro-life and Pro-woman January 24, 2016 by Rick Hardison
Accepted medical ethics requires doctors and nurses to let patients know any risks associated with their treatment. Doctors should, for instance, let you know if a surgery can make you prone to blood clots, or if you won’t be able to lift anything more than 10 pounds for a while. A patient deserves to know how risky his quadruple bypass surgery is. Doctors communicate these risks face... Read more
Attitude Toward Abortion Changing January 22, 2016 by Richard Nelson
This week started out with many commemorating the work of Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.  It ends today with people marching and assembling in cities (not hit by this wintery blast) to uphold human dignity of a different kind. While King was the face of the civil rights movement, it is unlikely the pro-life movement will ever have a single representative, but if they do, it will probably... Read more
Christmas: A Time to Deliver us from Evil December 15, 2015 by Richard Nelson
In recent weeks, two communities were shattered and shaken to their core. First in Scottsville where  7-year-old Gabriella "Gabbi" Doolin was kidnapped while attending a Little League football game with her family.  Her brutalized body was found later that evening in a creek behind the football stadium, a place better known for bonding together the small south central Kentuc... Read more
Prayer is much more than a policy proposal December 7, 2015 by Bryan Baise & Richard Nelson
Wednesday December 2, became another day in American history that is not tallied in a calendar sent out to place on your desk. It was not a date that people will ask themselves, “where were you on Wednesday, December 2?” It’s not a moment in history that is something worth celebrating, but when this date is recalled for the events that took place, it will be remembered as bloo... Read more
Bevin's kids aren't political fodder November 20, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Kentucky Governor-elect Matt Bevin joined 28 other governors who are refusing Syrian refugees until their identity can be confirmed. "My primary responsibility as Governor of Kentucky will be to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth," Bevin said in a statement. "This is why I am joining with other governors across the country in opposing the resettlement of Syrian nationals un... Read more
Eight Takeaway's from the 2015 Gubernatorial Election November 4, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Nobody predicted that Matt Bevin would beat Democrat candidate for governor Jack Conway by nine points. Nobody. The Bluegrass Poll had Conway up by five points just days before the election. We learned last year that the same poll was wildly off target when it had Grimes and McConnell deadlocked within weeks of the 2014 election for U.S. Senate. Of course,  McConnell won handily by 15 p... Read more
Are some social issues off limits politically? October 26, 2015 by Rick Hardison and Richard Nelson
With the 2015 election season nearing the finish line, voter guides of all political stripes have made their rounds, including the Commonwealth Policy Center's. It focuses entirely on social issues and asks candidates’ views on the defense of the unborn, opposition to the industrialization of gambling, the protection of religious convictions in the public square, and marriage between ... Read more
Super PACs level field in Attorney General race October 14, 2015 by Richard Nelson
A recent story by the Kentucky Press News Service blamed Super PAC’s and big money in the Kentucky Attorney Generals race. The article, “Money in AG race is devil of a problem,” made it sound like Sen. Whitney Westerfield had his own personal PAC fund that he could direct at will.  “[I]nstead of going out and asking people for $1000 checks… Westerfield is all... Read more
Separating Church and State, Not God from Government September 17, 2015 by Richard Nelson
September 17 marks the 228th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. It’s the longest surviving constitution among nations today, perhaps because it protects basic human rights, secures individual liberty and provides checks and balances from an overreaching federal government that would infringe on freedom. It’s something to celebrate, but most Americans don’t kn... Read more
Kim Davis: Prisoner of Conscience September 9, 2015 by Richard Nelson
After spending several days abroad and purposely disconnected from any news, I was startled upon returning to learn of the jailing of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. I was aware of the possibility, but jail? Really? Perhaps my return flight landed me in the wrong country—one foreign to its founding ideals, namely the one promising religious liberty. On September 3, Federal District Judg... Read more
Rebelling Against Political Correctness No Excuse for Incivility September 1, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Political Correctness—the emphasis of sensitivity over truth, and the sometimes watering down of straight talk to preserve people’s feeling, is in the news again thanks  to the pugnacious and attention-grabbing GOP frontrunner who told a crowd in Cleveland earlier this month “the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” I remember sitting in ... Read more
Is There Room in the Commonwealth for Conscience? August 18, 2015 by Richard Nelson
“Conscience is the most sacred of all property,” said our fourth president James Madison. This proposition by the architect of the U.S. Constitution was cast aside by Federal District Judge David Bunning and dismissed by a Lexington Herald-Leader editorial which recently called for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis to “do her job or resign.” Such dictates leave many wondering... Read more
Boy Scouts, DJJ Cave on Homosexuality July 31, 2015 by Richard Nelson
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are navigating new terrain as openly homosexual Scoutmasters joined leadership ranks earlier this week. Former Secretary of Defense, now BSA President, Robert Gates blazed this trail in May when he urgently called for a revised policy. “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be,” Gates said. Outside coercion led to the Sc... Read more
Time to Defund Planned Parenthood July 23, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Warning: graphic content and conversation here. No, this isn’t about Donald Trump’s latest insults, but rather a more serious subject that he doesn’t consider “one of his issues.” I’m talking about the sanctity of human life. More specifically, the undercover videos that caught Planned Parenthood officials discussing abortion extraction methods best suited to... Read more
The Things That Are Not Caesar's July 11, 2015 by Richard Nelson
On Thursday, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ordered Casey County Clerk Casey Davis to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples including same-sex couples or resign from office. Davis, as we’ve learned in the last few days, believes that the state shouldn’t force him to put his name on a marriage license that violates his conscience. File Davis’ objection under the cate... Read more
Expect Fallout from Supreme Court's Revolutionary Words July 6, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Just prior to Independence Day, five U.S. Supreme Court Justices mysteriously discovered that the Fourteenth Amendment requires Kentucky and the rest of the country to recognize out-of-state same sex marriages and offer licenses to in-state same-sex couples seeking them.  Chief Justice John Roberts duly congratulated the plaintiffs but noted the ruling had nothing to do with our nation&rsq... Read more
Identity debate thrown curve by Dolezal June 19, 2015 by Richard Nelson
The debate over identity and who determines it was thrown a curve by Rachel Dolezal, former NAACP leader in Spokane, who was born white but self-identified as black.  Defenders of radical autonomy initially fumbled their response, however many soon cozied up to the idea idea that people can and should be able to determine their own race. After all, if the biggest celebrity for the revoluti... Read more
Trying Times for Free Speech May 29, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Free speech isn’t as free as you’d think. It comes at a price—in fact, a steep price as this last Memorial Day reminds us of Americans who died fighting tyrants and ideologies that have no use for human rights or the freedom to articulate them. If free speech is costly, then provocative speech is at a premium. And its on trial. Exhibit A: the “Draw Muhammed” c... Read more
Is Midway Moving Toward Intolerance? May 14, 2015 by Richard Nelson
It appears the Midway City Council will soon hear the first reading of an ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected behavior into its laws. Specifically, the proposal will elevate SOGI to the same status as race and ethnicity regarding housing, employment and public accommodations. It’s dubbed a Fairness Ordinance, but upon closer scrutiny, the law is... Read more
Don't Bet on Supreme Court Overturning Marriage Laws May 1, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard lively oral arguments over the constitutionality of state laws that keep marriage between a man and a woman. Opposing attorneys jockeyed for position on the social issue of the decade—an issue whose stakes are higher than the outcome of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. Much more is riding on this case than meets the eye. For starters, ... Read more
Is Religious Freedom Fouling Out? April 2, 2015 by Richard Nelson
To say that something more important is happening in Indiana than the Final Four, may sound like heresy to the faithful congregants of the Big Blue Nation in this sacred week of NCAA tournaments.  But the uproar over the recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) threatens to drown out even the wildest cheers from Cats fans on Saturday. We are told by LGBT advocates and ... Read more
Single-gender Bathrooms Now Controversial February 27, 2015 by Richard Nelson
Fairness Campaign director Chris Hartman called passage of SB 76 which maintains single-gender restrooms in Kentucky public schools "prioritizing discrimination.”  He’s right. Requiring girls to use the girls room and boys to use the boys room is inherently discriminatory. What is now controversial is to maintain that distinction. A clever move by sexual freedom provoc... Read more
More Light than Heat Needed on Sexual Orientation Issue January 21, 2015 by Andy French & Richard Nelson
A recent editorial and political cartoon in The News suggested that citizens who voiced their concerns about a controversial issue to the city council “speaks volumes about the negativity people still experience”.  Exactly who experienced negativity because of these comments is unclear.  Concerned citizens of Murray simply shared their concerns with their elected represent... Read more
LIFT us from overtaxation, wrong priorities January 11, 2015 by Richard Nelson
An organization called Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) is lobbying the legislature for the possibility of a new tax. Their slogan “let the people vote on investing in their communities,” has garnered the support of 42 Kentucky organizations and bipartisan support in Frankfort. Who, after all, could be against city and county residents’ self-determination on taxa... Read more
True gift of Christmas trumps evil December 21, 2014 by Richard Nelson
The Pew Research Center recently reported that nearly three-quarters of Americans are OK with religious displays on public property. Apparently, America still has room at the Inn, or at least the public square for baby Jesus and a nativity scene.  Only 20 percent according to the survey say that such displays should never be permitted. Must be Grinches, all of them. Pew also found that... Read more
Murray considers protecting sexual orientation December 2, 2014 by Richard Nelson
The Murray City Council is scheduled to hear the first reading of an ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected status into its nondiscrimination code on December 8. The proposed ordinance was postponed last month after concerned Murray residents packed city hall. Many were concerned was that it would infringe on religious freedom and rights of conscience. ... Read more
A tale of two cities and their take on tolerance October 14, 2014 by Richard Nelson
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all ... Read more
Will Owensboro elevate sexual orientation to protected status? August 8, 2014 by Richard Nelson
It was recently reported that the Owensboro City Commission will hear the first reading of an ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) as protected behavior into its nondiscrimination code on August 19. Specifically, the move will elevate SOGI to the same status as race and ethnicity regarding housing, employment and public accommodations. This is troubling on many lev... Read more
Is crossdressing a constitutional right? July 26, 2014 by Richard Nelson
The “Growing Up Transgender" panel discussion hosted in Louisville earlier this month revealed something even more troubling about our culture and how we think than it does about the tortured souls who believe they are trapped in the bodies of the wrong sex. One of the participants was college student Henry Brousseau who challenged Louisvillians at a ritzy local restaurant to ... Read more
Time to Defund Planned Parenthood July 23, 2014 by Richard Nelson
Warning: graphic content and conversation here. No, this isn’t about Donald Trump’s latest insults, but rather a more serious subject that he doesn’t consider “one of his issues.” I’m talking about the sanctity of human life. More specifically, the undercover videos that caught Planned Parenthood officials calmly discussing morbid methods of abortion extracti... Read more
Hobby Lobby and the Rage of the Liberal Machine July 9, 2014 by Samuel James
Last week the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the Obama administration and the Affordable Care Act could not force “closely held companies” to violate religious conviction by furnishing abortifacient contraception in insurance plans. The case was not just a minor legal quarrel over a detail in Obamacare but a serious defense of religious liberty applied in the public marketplace. ... Read more
Gay literature promoted to preschoolers June 28, 2014 by Richard Nelson
Dear editor Kentucky New Era, Last Saturday’s paper included two stories promoting homosexual literature to parents and children. One article entitled, “Writer David Levithan on LGBT books for the young,” states that “[t]he best thing parents can do, whether their kids end up queer or straight, is to acknowledge all of the different options that are out there, and l... Read more
IRS Scandal Symptomatic of Unaccountable Government June 25, 2014 by Samuel James
Government scandal is nothing new for America. Yet we are seeing something uniquely sinister unfold as we speak: The increasing evidence of a sustained and concentrated attack on citizens via the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS admitted this week that it participated in illegal activities against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) by supplying another political group, the Human... Read more
Louisville school protects crossdressing June 5, 2014 by Richard Nelson
What do you say when a teenaged boy dressed like a girl insists upon using bathrooms of the opposite sex? Most would rather politely decline to comment, including yours truly.  Yet the Atherton High School Site Based Decision Making Council (SBDM) codified their thoughts in the form of a nondiscrimination policy last month regarding the “use of school space that will include gender i... Read more
Letter to Henderson Gleaner defending voter guide May 23, 2014 by Richard Nelson
Dear editor, I’m writing in response to your story about Rep. David Watkins defeating James Buckmaster in the Democratic primary. Rep. Watkins was reported to be happy with the victory except with some of the mailers that went out. The Commonwealth Policy PAC takes credit for one of the mailers. Our voter guide distinguished the candidates based on voting records and responses t... Read more
Questioning tolerance at UK April 18, 2014 by Richard Nelson
College is a place where students are expected to be asked questions, lots of them in fact, on many topics. But one wonders if there are some questions too intrusive and personal to ask. University of Kentucky Health Services found the answer earlier this month when it abruptly halted a questionnaire after portions were published in Campus Reform, a national college newspaper. Under the pr... Read more
Gay marriage threatens religious freedom and GOP principles March 12, 2014 by Richard Nelson
Last Tuesday, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway refused to defend the Commonwealth’s marriage law which put him in good company with fellow Louisvillian and former GOP Chairman Brad Cummings. Cummings recently waved the white flag of surrender and called on the Kentucky GOP to abandon its defense of man/woman marriage. A teary-eyed Conway said if he appealed the ruling that he &l... Read more
Judicial ruling breaks hearts of marriage supporters February 18, 2014 by Richard Nelson
In the classic Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown lines up to kick a football when Lucy pulls the ball away at the last moment leaving poor Charlie flat on his back yelling Ughhhhh! This might have been how Kentucky voters felt last Wednesday upon learning the news of U.S. District Judge John Heyburn’s opinion striking down the portion of Kentucky’s marriage law which prohibits recognit... Read more
Evolving the debate toward humanness February 7, 2014 by Richard Nelson
The spirit of John Scopes recently descended upon our beloved Bluegrass in the form of debate between Creation Museum Founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Nothing like a good debate to rouse the troops comfortably entrenched in their intellectual foxholes (2/3rds of Americans identify more or less as evolutionists and 1/3rd as creationists according to a recent Pew survey). Verbal barb... Read more
Expanded gambling prosperity is a fairy tale for grown-ups December 7, 2013 by Richard Nelson
In the time of year when children stand in line to see Santa and share wish lists of Wii’s and Gameboys, a few adults get caught up in another perennial tale promising to bring comfort and joy. Hark, the Spirit of Casino Expansion once again has visited the Bluegrass. Businessman Billy Harper confessed in a major Kentucky newspaper that he had been naughty for the transgression of fa... Read more
Fracking the ecology: Why morality matters to humans and their environment November 12, 2013 by Richard Nelson
A group of 40 protesters rallied on the capitol steps in opposition to the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline which will carry fracked gas through Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. Participants quoted Scripture and cited their faith as their reason to oppose it. It’s laudable that some in the Christian community are actively engaging in policy discussions over the environment. Yet some ironic c... Read more
Mustering the courage to speak the truth September 13, 2013 by Richard Nelson
Twelve years ago our nation changed. We were jolted out of a routine morning of school and work when we heard news of an airliner crashing into the World Trade Center. Then a second plane struck.  We were under attack. “But why?” everyone asked.  One minute we were sending our kids off to school and on our way to work. The next minute our world changed, forever. We... Read more
Truth and clarity integral to politics and life August 19, 2013 by Richard Nelson
More than 600 pro-Morsi protesters lie dead in Cairo streets after Egypt’s military cleared two Muslim Brotherhood camps on Wednesday. Coptic churches were then attacked and burned—forty in the last three days. The violence has spread across Egypt in what amounts to a civil war, but nobody is calling it that. Strangely, the Obama administration still claims that the July 3rd ou... Read more
Bringing marriage into focus June 17, 2013 by Richard Nelson
The U.S. Supreme Court has marriage under a microscope and in just a matter of weeks will render its verdict on two cases that could blur our understanding of what constitutes society’s most foundational relationship. Gay marriage advocates have masterfully refocused debate with phrases like “freedom to marry” and  “marriage equality.”  Persuasive rhetori... Read more
Not all violence and blood treated the same by media April 22, 2013 by Richard Nelson
Blood stains, severed limbs, the taking of innocent human life. Every one of us is horrified by last Monday's terrorist attack in Boston, but what I just described is another case of cold-blooded killing that the national media has neglected to report. It is the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the notorious late-term abortionist in Philadelphia who is accused of murdering a patient by administ... Read more
Academic chief labels Louisville schools with "academic genocide" February 21, 2013 by Richard Nelson
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday recently rocked the boat when he likened persistently failing Louisville schools to "academic genocide."  This is no verbal torpedo launched by a right winger. Rather, it’s a shot across the bow from the educational establishment's admiral. Holliday said he used the term in an interview with the Louisville Courier Journal&r... Read more
Boy Scouts face mountain of ideological uniformity February 7, 2013 by Richard Nelson
The organization known for inculcating values in young boys and teaching them survival skills is facing the biggest challenge in its 103-year existence: ideological uniformity. Climbing Mount Everest and winter campouts appear tame in the context of a culture at war with those who still subscribe to moral absolutes. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) just happen to be the biggest target. The ... Read more
Fifty years after King civil rights still denied January 22, 2013 by Richard Nelson
It is rare when a triumvirate of significant political events and issues converge within a 24 hour period. It is rarer even still when a profound thread runs through all three. Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr. with eloquence and determination delivered a speech which galvanized the civil rights movement by reminding Americans that the black struggle for civil rights was synonymous with Am... Read more
Christmas offers hope in midst of tragedy December 24, 2012 by Richard Nelson
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that touched us so deeply, it’s daunting to comment since the wounds are still tender. Parents with tear-stained faces deserve our comfort and compassion. The Newtown community needs our support as they try to heal. These things we can agree on. But what do we say when words are never enough in the midst of such sorrow? Sometimes no... Read more
Politics scarier to children than Halloween November 2, 2012 by Richard Nelson
The YouTube video gone viral of four-year old Abigael Evans crying after listening to a news story on the presidential race beautifully captures our collective political temperament. Abigael, who lives in the battleground state of Colorado, apparently melted down after hearing a news story about the candidates on National Public Radio.  The whimpering girl said ”she was tired of &ldq... Read more
Politics is not a spectator sport October 1, 2012 by Richard Nelson
            The biggest news in the sports world over the past three weeks regards replacement referees in the NFL. Complaints over poor officiating reached a fever pitch after a horrendous last-second call cost my hometown Green Bay Packers a victory last Monday night. In the big scheme of things, it was only a game. The regular referees are back... Read more
Is God invited to the party? September 8, 2012 by Richard Nelson
Controversy of including God in the Democratic Party Platform raises bigger question of God’s place in politics and government         Does God have a place in the platform of a political party? It depends upon whom you ask. On day two of the Democratic National Convention, three attempts were made to include God in the Democratic Party Platform. San Antonio Mayor A... Read more
Hate and rhetoric brewing in heated political season August 30, 2012 by Richard Nelson
              Tropical Storm Isaac is likely to become a full blown hurricane this week and drench the GOP National Convention and attendees in Tampa Bay. Prediction: it will be more than cloudy with a chance of bad puns from the political class but regardless of where the storm hits, it is a useful metaphor to describe the escalating ... Read more
Moral relativism on menu at U of L July 31, 2012 by Richard Nelson
U of L president James Ramsey’s and Provost Shirley Willihnganz’ boycott of  Chick- fil-A for its “offensive and unecessary” view on marriage hit a cultural nerve as tender as the famous chicken sandwiches sold on their campus. U of L is now reportedly considering ousting the fast food chain. To give context, the university served up a domestic partner benefits polic... Read more
Diagnosis of ACA ruling: cure is worse than the disease July 12, 2012 by Richard Nelson
Now that the smoke has cleared over last week’s fireworks when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) we should see clearer. Or not—since stray spark in Chief Justice John Roberts, who mostly sided with the liberal wing of the court, left conservatives scrambling for fire extinguishers if not explanations.          &nb... Read more
Super PACs not to blame for political ills June 25, 2012 by Richard Nelson
            After Republican Congressional Candidate Thomas Massie won the seven-way primary for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district, opponents were quick to cry foul because of a super PAC that poured out-of-state money into advertising that benefitted Massie. Altogether, over $560,000 was used to influence that election, leav... Read more
Right Recipe for Marriage Includes God in the Mix May 16, 2012 by Richard Nelson
Between an inmate receiving 41 percent of the vote in the West Virginia primary over President Barack Obama and six-term Indiana Senator Richard Luger’s ousting by a Tea Party darling, gay marriage remains the topic du jour after last week’s saucy mix of politics, pundits and an electorate who got the last word on the subject in North Carolina. North Carolinians became the thirty-... Read more
Casino Legislation Sweetheart Deal for the Elite February 15, 2012 by Richard Nelson
They say love is blind, but when it’s coupled with the prospect of landing on easy street, it sometimes appears downright irresistible. On Valentine’s Day, Governor Beshear, flanked by several senators in the Capitol rotunda, channeled all the touchy feelies remaining in Frankfort and proposed legislation that would legalize seven casinos to Kentucky.  It’s the sweethe... Read more
House Goes Nuclear on Redistricting January 14, 2012 by Richard Nelson
As the circular firing squad otherwise known as the GOP presidential primary takes it toll, the Kentucky House leadership went nuclear on lesser known politicians of the minority party when they unveiled the new district map last Thursday. Eight Republicans and one Democrat were put into the same districts and will face off in their respective primaries. That means that five Republican incumbents ... Read more