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.
Below is a prayer for Election Day by United Methodist Bishop Ken Carter of Florida.
It’s not bad and aims in the right direction. But I pray someday in the near future United Methodist bishops are able to assert Christian teachings about issues of today, as the Catholic bishops have done have marriage, sanctity of life and religious liberty.
For example, last week a report showed that almost 41 percent of births in America are now illegitimate, a phenomenon about which United Methodism is virtually silent. Sad and tragic that millions of American children must grow up not having a mother and father married to each other, with all the negative emotional and economic consequences that affect us all.
Methodist bishops in the early 20th century routinely denounced in their Episcopal Address to General Conference what they perceived as an epidemic of divorce. They stopped after 1928. The then rising Social Gospel preferred church focus on economic justice through government action in place of attention to family life. Social justice begins with family life, to which Christian teachings speak very directly.
Anyway, here’s Bishop Carter’s prayer:
A Prayer for the National Election
Posted by Bishop Ken Carter on October 23, 2012.
Almighty and gracious God:
You are the source of every blessing,
The judge of every nation
And the hope of earth and heaven:
We pray to you on the eve of this important national election.
Call to mind the best that is within us:
That we live under God
That we are indivisible,
That out of many, we are one,
That liberty and justice extend to all.
We acknowledge the sin that runs through our history as a nation:
The displacement of native peoples,
the disregard for life,
And yet we profess a deep and abiding gratitude
for the goodness of ordinary people who have made sacrifices,
who have sought opportunities,
who have journeyed to this land as immigrants
and strengthened its promise in successive generations,
who have found freedom on these shores,
and defended this freedom at tremendous cost.
Be with us in the days that are near.
Remind us that your ways are not our ways,
that your power and might transcend every nation,
that you are not mocked.
Let those who follow your Son Jesus Christ be a peaceable people
in the midst of division.
Give us a passion for peace, justice and freedom
that breaks down walls of political partisanship.
Grant us wisdom,
grant us courage
for the facing of this hour
and the living of these days.