Chuck Norris repeated the false claim that pedophiles could be protected under the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
In his May 12 and May 19 columns for Creators Syndicate, actor and political activist Chuck Norris falsely claimed that pedophiles could be protected under the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Norris wrote in both columns that the legislation -- which, among other things, defines as a federal crime certain acts or attempted acts of violence committed "because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person" -- "could ... provide elevated protection to pedophiles." In fact, while conservatives have pointed to the bill's inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "disability" to justify their assertion that the bill could protect pedophilia, neither term would do so.
As Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) noted during an April 23 House Judiciary Committee hearing, the term "sexual orientation" is already defined by federal statute as applying only to "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," thereby excluding pedophiles, who engage in nonconsensual sexual relationships with children.
Pedophilia is also not considered a "disability" under current federal law. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), specifically excludes pedophilia, thereby precluding protection for pedophiles from the hate crimes bill.
Both FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com have also written that the hate crimes bill would not protect pedophiles. FactCheck.org wrote: "[P]edophiles would get no breaks under this bill." PolitiFact.com wrote that "we've found nothing to support the opponents' claims that pedophiles would be protected by the hate crimes bill" and concluded that the claim is "Pants on Fire" wrong.
In addition, Norris wrote in his May 19 column that Saddam Hussein punished "people who merely spoke out against him, his rule or his politics" and later added: "Offensive speech being punishable by law? But it might not be that far off for America, especially if the course of free speech continues on its present track -- a path of progressive restrictions, both from our government and our culture." Norris then cited the hate crimes bill as an example.
From Norris' May 19 column, titled "Outlawing Opinion":
It greatly alarms me that Americans' constitutional right of freedom of speech is being squeezed out of our culture.
Several years ago, I watched then-"20/20" correspondent Diane Sawyer interview Saddam Hussein, who was dictator of Iraq at the time. She respectfully confronted him for the atrocities and executions he used as punishments for people who merely spoke out against him, his rule or his politics. Surprisingly naive of America's constitutional basis, Saddam asked, "Well, what happens to those who speak against your president?" (He clearly was expecting that such speech was also a crime in the U.S. and punishable by law.) Shocked by his sheer ignorance of the U.S. -- and somewhat at a loss for words herself -- Diane quipped back in answering his question, "They host television talk shows!" Saddam's facial expression revealed that he was totally confused by her answer.
Sounds so far-out, doesn't it? Offensive speech being punishable by law? But it might not be that far off for America, especially if the course of free speech continues on its present track -- a path of progressive restrictions, both from our government and our culture.
For example, presently bill S. 909 is on the fast track through the Senate, poised under the guise of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. While the bill purports to target crimes of brutality, not speech, once enacted, local justices could expand its interpretive enforcement to encompass a wider meaning than originally conceived. In the end, it could not only criminalize opinions (an unconstitutional act) but also provide elevated protection to pedophiles.
If our policymakers understood and followed the constitutional government our Founders laid down for us, they never would advocate any so-called hate crimes bill.
From Norris' May 12 column, titled "Of Bakeries, Burglars and Bad Congressional Bills":
Our Founding Fathers simply never could have imagined such rampant degradation and utter disarray among younger generations. Proof of that is seen in Ben Franklin's 1787 pamphlet, "Information to Those Who Would Remove to America," which was a guide for Europeans who were considering relocating to America.
In it, Ben said, "Hence bad examples (of) youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents." Can you picture a present-day politician saying, "Bad examples of youth are rare in America"? He or she would become the ridicule of pundits and politicians alike.
One way we can fight right now for our Founders' America is by going to http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000009957.cfm and joining the several hundred thousand Americans who already have voiced their opposition to the passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, because in the end, it could not only criminalize opinions (an unconstitutional act) but also provide elevated protection to pedophiles. Is that how we want our government protecting our children and the Constitution?
I've felt honored to be reconnected to the younger generations through the "Chuck Norris Facts" proliferation. I hear from thousands every year, listen to their concerns, and do my best to carry their concerns to appropriate parties to implement change.