Mark Tooley

Mark Tooley

Prior to joining the IRD in 1994, Mark worked eight years for the Central Intelligence Agency. 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 attends a United Methodist church in Alexandria, Virginia.  Mark 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, First Things, Patheos, World, Christianity Today, 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.




Massachusetts Protestants Recall True Selves by Opposing Casinos

October 30, 2014

Old-line Protestant officials in Massachusetts are backing a state referendum that would revoke casinos permitted since 2011. They note that casinos are “bad news” for the poor, don’t create prosperity, breed corruption, and foster…


Defrocking Methodist Clergy & Orthodoxy’s Unending Challenge

October 27, 2014

Defrocked United Methodist minister Frank Schaefer, who defied church law against same sex rites, has been reinstated by a church court on a technicality.


Decadence Sometimes Recedes

October 26, 2014

Conservatives, especially Christian ones, commonly assume civilization is in a chronic irreversible spiral. But evil doesn’t advance inexorably nor does virtue always retreat. All societies everywhere combine decadence with spiritual vitality. Here’s a provocative…


Transgender, Therian & Transchron??

October 23, 2014

Transgenderism, which claims that mindset and desires, not physical bodies and chromosomes, determines gender, is all the rage now. Some claim their gender is always in flux, or they transcend gender altogether. Cool, but…


Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori & Martyrdom

October 21, 2014

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the controversial top bishop who’s presided over her denomination’s schism and accelerated decline, almost gave a good sermon last week.


Hillsong Church, Relevance & Pariahs

October 18, 2014

There’s a good piece by Andrew Walker in First Things on a popular international church network called Hillsong’s apparent equivocation on marriage. At a recent New York press conference, the ministry’s leader, Brian Houston,…


2014 Diane Knippers Memorial Lecture by Robert George on Marriage & Religious Liberty

October 18, 2014

Professor Robert George, an IRD emeritus board member, holds Princeton University’s McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. He is vice chairman…

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, where he lectures on constitutional interpretation, civil liberties and philosophy of law.

Robert P. George to Speak on Religious Liberty at Annual IRD Lecture

October 14, 2014

Distinguished Catholic philosopher Robert P. George of Princeton University will deliver the Institute on Religion & Democracy’s annual Diane Knippers Lecture on defending marriage, life and religious liberty.


God & Christopher Columbus

October 14, 2014

The Politically Correct now celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day, as the above photo tweeted from a liberal Methodist caucus illustrates. There were two especially worthwhile blogs yesterday on commemorating Columbus. Justin…


Can Methodism Reach America’s Reviving Cities?

October 12, 2014

Will United Methodists ever get serious about reaching America’s cities with the Gospel? This question again struck me over the last two weekends when travels placed me in historic downtowns. When traveling on Sundays…

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A New Wesleyan Political Witness

October 9, 2014

Here’s my message today at Asbury Theological Seminary during chapel for the new Wesleyan Holiness Pentecostal Studies Center. It’s a pleasure and honor to speak at Asbury, with which I’ve long felt a deep…


Momentous News for United Methodism

October 7, 2014

The once controversial General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) is leaving New York for Atlanta, with some of its staff relocating to overseas regional offices. Here’s the United Methodist News Service report. One of…