Prior to joining the IRD in 1994, Mark worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and is a native of Arlington, Virginia. A lifelong United Methodist, he has been active in United Methodist renewal since 1988, when he wrote a study about denominational funding of pro-Marxist groups for his local congregation. He currently attends a United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Tooley became president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 2009. He joined IRD in 1994 to found its United Methodist committee (UMAction). He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church, published in 2008, and Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century, published in 2012. His articles about the political witness of America's churches have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, Patheos, Washington Post On Faith, World, Christianity Today, First Things, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, Washington Examiner, Human Events, The Washington Times, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, Touchstone, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, and elsewhere. He is a frequent commentator on radio and television.
The Catholic Left doesn’t like the choice of Paul Ryan as Republican veep nominee. And presumably the rest of the Religious Left will echo their condemnation of Congressman Ryan’s “immoral” and “unpatriotic” federal budget plan that tries to limit growth of social welfare and entitlement programs.
Leading the charge is NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, which organized the “Nuns on the Bus” anti Ryan budget protest that decamped at the United Methodist Building earlier this Summer.
According to Sister Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s Executive Director: “We agree with Catholic Bishops that Paul Ryan’s budget fails the test of Catholic Social Teaching since it deliberately harms people at the economic margins. It is also unpatriotic because it says that we are an individualistic, selfish nation. This is emphatically not who we are. Both our Constitution and our faith teach us that “We the People” are called to care for one another, to have responsibility for each other. This year’s election will present us with a critical choice. Do we want to favor the rich on the backs of people in need? Is that who we want to be?”
NETWORK was quickly joined by Catholics United, which is headed by a former NETWORK staffer.
“With the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, it is fair to call this the Romney-Ryan-Rand presidential ticket,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, referring to the late Ayn Rand, the atheist writer and advocate of free markets whose novels Ryan has admired. “Despite his Catholic background, this selection will certainly cost Romney votes from cross-pressured Catholic swing voters. Catholics, more than the general population, believe government has an important role in defending the dignity of those less fortunate.”
It won’t be long before the Protestant and evangelical Religious Left join the Catholic Left rhetoric in this presidential campaign.Google+