The Republican and religious roots of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) have never been in doubt. But is NOM becoming more frankly partisan and more narrowly religious? Consider three items:
***In California, NOM is running ads opposing Tom Campbell in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. The ad mentions marriage only after attacking him for supporting higher taxes. On its website and in emails, it is dubbing Campbell a RINO (Republican In Name Only), an epithet used in intra-party squabbles.
NOM is now against higher gasoline taxes as well as gay marriage. I'm waiting for the "Drill Here, Drill Now" ads.
***In Minnesota, NOM is running ads criticizing the state DFL (Democratic) party repeatedly by name for opposing a voter referendum on marriage. It also attacks Independent candidates.
The surprise is not that NOM would oppose pro-SSM candidates, but that it would do so in a way indistinguishable from a GOP ad.
***In a recent fundraising email, NOM Executive Director Brian Brown claims that same-sex marriage evinces a "profound untruth about the human person." The term "human person," a redundancy to the uninitiate, is most distinctive to Catholic theology and especially prominent in the writings of conservative Catholic natural-law theorists.
Opposite-sex marriage, Bown continues, is "written on the human heart." It's an elegant and evocative phrase. Google it and the first thing that pops up? An important and, especially for Catholics, influential address by Pope John Paul II entitled, "God's Law is Written on the Human Heart."
Brown concludes his email in language that combines the partisan and religious strands in NOM's DNA: "Here's NOM's promise: We transform your values into action, action into victory--victory for God's truth about marriage. What God has joined, no RINO Republican has any right to put asunder!"
It's perfectly legitimate for NOM to make itself a home for religious-conservative Republicans and a particular strand of natural-law Catholicism. This reflects the group's governing philosophy. Indeed, as compared to downplaying these facts for strategic reasons, it's refreshing to see NOM come out of its partisan and sectarian closet.