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.
Last Friday 14 bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) came to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. This year that march commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s notorious “Roe versus Wade” decision mandating abortion on demand. As always, it was a freezing January day. But the bishops joined at least 100,000 others for the march to the Supreme Court steps. The bishops were led by Archbishop Robert Duncan, formerly the Episcopal Church bishop of Pittsburgh. They vividly contrasted with the Episcopal Church and other old-line denominations that scandalously and archaically still support unrestricted abortion rights through the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
(ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan with IRD’s Mark Tooley)
ACNA of course was formed after the 2003 Episcopal Church election of its first openly homosexual bishop, creating a global Anglican schism. Departing bishops like Duncan and many priests made deep sacrifice when leaving the old, declining Episcopal Church to create a new, theologically orthodox Anglican body. Many congregations that left the Episcopal Church lost their buildings. But their sacrifice was not in vain. Today ACNA has over 900 congregations, over 100,000 regular worshipers and 40 bishops. And ACNA, unlike the Episcopal Church, is growing.
(IRD’s Faith McDonnell with ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs)
Before joining the March for Life, the 14 ACNA bishops visited the IRD office for a late morning breakfast. We were greatly honored by their presence and a chance to tell them more about the IRD’s work. I told them IRD likely has never had so much eclessial authority in our office at one time. The bishops with great warmth of spirit prayed with us. And much of the IRD’s staff joined them on the march. With 35 percent of ACNA’s total bishops at the march, I suspect they had a higher percentage of their senior prelates present than any other major religious body in America. I thank God for leaders like the ACNA bishops who are sacrificially working to renew Anglicanism and the wider church in America. And I am grateful that they so robustly witnessed in defense of vulnerable human life at the March for Life here in Washington, D.C.Google+